Brent Johnson review…April 10, 2014…

BRENT JOHNSON

SET THE WORLD ON FIRE

JUSTIN TIME RECORDS  JUST -253-2

DON’T MAKE A SOUND–MEET ME IN THE MORNING–THE TICKET–DON’T TAKE IT WITH YOU–SO GLAD YOU’RE MINE–LONG WAY BACK TO NEW ORLEANS–GLASS CEILING–MEET ME IN THE BOTTOM–AS THE YEARS GO PASSING BY–THE HUCKLEBUCK–SET THE WORLD ON FIRE

For New Orleans-based guitarist Brent Johnson, the emphasis has always been on his feeling for the music, regardless of any particular genre’, altho he does have an affinity for the blues.  New Orleans’  “Blues Daddy” himself, Bryan Lee, found that out not long after hearing Brent, and hired him for his band on the spot.

Playing with Lee gave Brent even a better perspective on music, and alloed his scope to broaden.  He began writing his own material, and, when not touring with Lee, Brent took drummer John Perkins and bassist Bill Blok on a tour of his own, to see how his originals would play to an audience.  With the addition of Wayne Lohr on keys, these four men have recorded and released Brent’s debut, “Set The World On Fire,” for Canadian label Justin Time Records.  There are seven originals and four covers, which utilize special guests Alvin Youngblood Hart and Sonny Landreth on guitars.

The set starts with a funky blast of riff-heavy blues-rock, “Don’t Make A Sound,” the tale of too many nights on the road that culminates with a one-night stand with “the Devil drinkin’ at the end of the bar.”  “Don’t Take It With You” is a plea for everyone to realize that “all your anger just weighs you down,” while Brent closes with the title cut, as he ponders a crumbling love affair, asking her not to leave, and not to “Set The World On Fire.’

The album has several light-hearted moments, too.  Perhaps the antithesis of the title cut is “So Glad You’re Mine,” which focuses on a relationship that has seen hard times, but, thru love, has persevered.  The keys and guitar here are breezy and light, in keeping with the song’s tone of hope.  And, Brent takes the venerable classic, “The Hucklebuck,” and turns it inside-out and upside-down as a brilliant instrumental.

Brent is joined by Alvin Youngblood Hart on slide guitar on Dylan’s “Meet Me In The Morning,” on the roadhouse rock of “The Ticket,” and on the Delta chug of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Meet Me In The Bottom.”  Sonny Landreth also drops in with his signature slide on Brent’s yearning-for-home tale of missing those “Louisiana pines and second lines,” “Long Way Back To New Orleans!”

With “Set The World On Fire,” Brent Johnson had full creative control over the material and production.  The results are a resounding success, and we look forward to hearing more from him in the future!!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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