Home > Articles > CD Reviews > Johnny A

Johnny A


Johnny A ­ Get Inside
(Favored Nations)
Review by Matt Robinson

This is the sound of a man who knows its instrument letting it play. From the clean chimes of the well-named opener “Hip Bone” (accent on the first syllable) to the equally appropriate jangler “I Had to Laugh,” the songs in this strong set are not as much performances as expressions that come as much from the soul of the instrument as from that of the man at the controls. Johnny A. is indeed a master- a performer who can strafe the sky with blistering runs or drift back to earth on a cloud of vibrato. While “Sing Singin’” recalls A’s breakout hit “Oh Yeah” (from the album Sometime Tuesday Morning), the title track to this collection slinks around in new directions. Speaking of directions, this album goes off in a lot of them ­ from the after hours blues of “Krea Gata” to the Rockabilly rave-up “Ignorance is Bliss” and from the Country twang of “Bundle of Joy” to the effective “Stimulation,” which straddles the border between ZZ Top’s Texas and Santana’s Mexico. But even when he crosses the line to actual tributes, as he does with a rainy smooth rendition of Johnny Rivers’ “Poor Side of Town” and a revolutionary reworking of Jimi Hendrix’s “The Wind Cries Mary,” A. lets his own soul and style ring through the wordless lyrics of others. Throughout it all, A. offers a sound that is all his own; a sound that invites investigation and rewards with great enjoyment.

- Matthew S. Robinson
c. 2004, M. S. Robinson, ARR


©2003-2005 Boston Beats





Boston Music, Boston Artist Interviews, Boston Bands