Johnny Cox review…April 3, 2014…

JOHNNY COX

THIN BLUE LINE

SELF-RELEASED

YOUR LOVE–HIGH PRICE TO PAY–RUNAWAY TRAIN–NEW WAY–SOMETHING FOR ME–THIN BLUE LINE–MY DESTINATION–I’M FINE–ALL THESE TEARS–LONG DAY–DIDN’T COMMIT THE CRIME

Guitar man Johnny Cox comes to us from Canada by way of Scotland.  As a youth, he absorbed all he could of the likes of Clapton, Hendrix, SRV, and all the other legends of our generation.  He left the British Isles in 1985, and continued to hone his chops, eventually writing and performing his own material.

His thirty-odd year odyssey along the blues highway comes full-circle with the release of his electrifying debut, “Thin Blue Line.’  On this set, he takes the listener down many of the same roads he’s traveled to get where he is today.  There are fine examples of different genres’ that Johnny has learned to appreciate during his career.  And, yes, all eleven cuts are originals, taking a look at life and love thru the eyes of a true, world-traveling troubadour.

Johnny leads off in a wistful way with the dreamy ode to his true love, exhorting proudly that “Your Love drives me crazy!”  Perhaps her antithesis was the inspiration for “Runaway Train,” with its snarling wah-wah lines reminiscent of mid-Seventies Curtis Mayfield and lyrics such as “I love you, but you terrify me!”  “New Way” follows a Latin beat, with Ansgar Schroer on the big ol’ chromatic for effect.  “All These Tears” is another profession of love, this time set over a reggae pattern.  And, “My Destination” is a mighty funky slab of dance floor blues, driven by Johnny’s gritty lead work and  punchy horn section.

We had two favorites, too.  The title cut begs for peace and understanding in a difficult world, done predominantly as an acoustic affair.  And, the set closes with the bluesiest cut on the set.  “Didn’t Commit The Crime” has Johnny on all guitars, including the scorching lead as well as the tremolo backup.  There are echo-chamber vocals and Ian De Souza’s slap-back bass over Johnny’s proclamation of innocence, as “I was home all night, playin’ my guitar!”

For Johnny Cox, it may seem like a long, strange trip, indeed.  But, blues fans are much the better off with him and his excellent debut, “Thin Blue Line!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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