STEVIE J. BLUES
BACK 2 BLUES
MISSISSIPPI DELTA RECORDS/PK MUSIC
LI’L MO LOVE–I AIN’T GETTIN’ THAT–CRADLE ROBBER–COME SEE ME–THAT PARTY SONG–LIGHTS OUT–GOOD GOOD–ANOTHER JODY SONG–SON OF A SANCTIFIED PREACHER (FEAT. KASHIAH HUNTER)–STRANGER IN THE CITY (FEAT. DWAYNE WATKINS AND DR. M. J. JOHNSON)–BLUES BY THE BAY
Guitarist/vocalist/composer Stevie J. Blues (Stephen Johnson) is the son of a pastor, based out of Jackson, MS. The cool thing about Stevie is that he can feel equally at home in either a blues or gospel setting, and he uses his music to show that the two have always been closely related. His latest set, “Back 2 Blues,” shows that the blues is the “baby brother” of gospel, and he wrote or co-wrote nine of the eleven cuts herein.
Stevie has some fine background on his resume’, too. He was a part of Bobby Rush’s band on the 2004 “Folk Funk” album and tour, and has represented the Central Mississippi Blues Society in the IBC’s.
There are plenty of good times to go around, too. Check out the Southern-fried soul on a tale that makes a lot of us guys envious, trying to keep up with a girlfriend half his age. Yep, he might be a “Cradle Robber, but the cradle is robbin’ me!” “Come See Me” employs some Hill-Country stompin’ percussion, and harp from Scott Albert Johnson, as Stevie reminds a lover that “the lies that you’re tryin’ to tell, first-class trip one way to Hell!” “Another Jody Song” is just that–Stevie’s lover takes off “with my friend Tyrone” in this minor-key classic ode to “the other guy!” The set closes with a killer instrumental, “Blue By The Bay,” that embraces all of Stevie’s influences.
We had three favorites. The set kicks off with a powerful message, almost a 21st Century update of Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues.” Thru the use of actual sound bytes, we are reminded of the trigger-happy policemen in Baltimore, the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, and Kanye’s rant against George W. Bush following the Katrina disaster. Stevie’s telling us all to “lend a hand, give a hug, and show a Li’l Mo’ Love!” Stevie rides the “endless boogie” groove of John Lee Hooker in his autobiographical story of learning blues licks from his dad–as long as Mom doesn’t find out! It’s entitled “Son Of A Sanctified Preacher,” and is followed by a testifyin’ tune about the miracles and healing powers of Jesus. It is entitled “Stranger In The City,” and features a verse by Dwayne Watkins, and a sanctified piece of old-school ministry from Dr. M. J. Johnson.
Stevie J. Blues does something on “Back 2 Blues” that a lot of artists might be afraid to try–he blends the secular with the sacred, and does so seamlessly and without pretension. This one sho’ nuff gets an “AMEN!” Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.