JEREMIAH JOHNSON BAND
BLUES HEART ATTACK
CONNOR RAY MUSIC
MIND READER–ROOM OF FOOLS–FLAT LINE–GET IT IN THE MIDDLE–SUMMERTIME–SKIP THAT STONE–TALK TOO MUCH–SUN SHINE THROUGH–SOUTHERN DRAWL–EVERYBODY PARTY–HERE WE GO AGAIN–IT’S BEEN HARD
Connor Ray Music has belted another one outta the park with the excellent latest release from St. Louis native and now Texas resident, guitarist Jeremiah Johnson. Yep, he’s named for the legendary movie character! He grew up in St. Louis, and moved to Houston in 1999, absorbing the sounds of Alvin Lee, Clapton, and Hank Jr. He returned to St. Louis several years back, and is now based out of that city. His latest set is the follow-up to “Grind,” from 2014, “Blues Heart Attack.” It is twelve originals that show his love for the sounds of both his “hometowns,” with the emphasis on gritty, blue-collar, roadhouse blues.
Joining Jeremiah on this sweet blues journey is Jeff Girardier on bass, Benet Schaeffer on drums, Nathen Hershey on keys, Frank Bauer on the sax, and Tom “Papa” Ray on the harp. Jeremiah leads off with a bristling guitar attack, telling a waffling lover that “I ain’t never been a Mind Reader, and I ain’t startin’ with y’all!” “Skip That Stone” has strong gospel overtures, with a solid Southern-rock feel, and “Everybody Party” is second-line good times boogie all the way, with Frank’s sax in lieu of a squeeze box. He gets downright funky with the strut of “Sun Shine Through,” featuring fine B-3 from Nathen. And, perhaps the set’s most powerful piece is an ode to his heritage and upbringing, “Southern Drawl,” name-checking Elvis, Johnny Cash, and “flying the Free Bird.”
We had several favorites, too. Down at the “Room Of Fools,” you’ll find nothin’ but “Kentucky whiskey, smoke, and pool cues,” mixed in with a bunch of “shoulda been’s and I’m gonna do’s!” A cat-and-mouse game between two would-be lovers defines the rockin’ boogie of “Get It In The Middle,” and, another roadhouse blockbuster is the sax-fueled story of a woman who “Talks Too Much,” and “the preacher had to put you in the choir!”
Jeremiah Johnson wanted to make an album that looked at the ups and downs and good times and hard times of everyday life. The passionate sounds of “Blues Heart Attack” bring it all full-circle! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.