Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Review -- SCOTT ALBERT JOHNSON -- Umbrella Man

Scott Albert Johnson
Monkaroo Music
Ah, is there anything better than a musician who really knows his way around a harmonica, and how to incorporate it into his material?For me the answer is no. I love the sound of the blues harp, and Scott Albert Johnson provides up just the right sound time and time again on his release Umbrella Man.Now you might expect Johnson to know the blues harp. He was born in St. Louis and grew up in Jackson, Miss., so that pretty well sums up his connection to the harmonica.Musically, this is a CD that doesn't easily pigeon-hole into a particular genre. Certainly blues is at its heart, but there are modern twists, and touches of jazz too.Interestingly, the CD cover, that of a silhouette of a man in a suit and bowler hat, a very British image, illicits thoughts of modern pop more than the bluesy material inside.Johnson is at his best when he lets the harmonica take centre stage, such as on the instrumental effort In the Court of King Oliver. The cut is likely the best on the CD.Overall Johnson gives us something of a mixed bag, not only musically, but in the associated imagery of the package. Into the future he will be better served to focus more squarely on the blues, where the harmonica can truly shine, and should then wrap it in a more familiar blues package.Still, this is an interesting journey Johnson takes the listener on, and if you want to hear some solid blues harp work check it out at

-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Nov. 5, 2008 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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