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John Campbelljohn - Good to Go

Nood Records

12 tracks

The more I listen to music and get exposed to new artists (both new on the scene and, alas, older ones that are new to me) the more I am amazed how many really good ones are out there. John Campbelljohn is a wonderful guitar player, singer, and songwriter. These twelve original tracks on his eighth release since 1993 blend blues, rock, reggae, and even has a little influence from the Irish. There are strong Celtic lines lilting from this native Cape Bretoner.

Campbelljohn and his trio are a tight and powerful group. Campbelljohns’ slide work is impeccable and his vocals are quite fluid and well-done. The crisp, clean vocals almost remind me a bit of a young Jack Bruce at times. His bio states that Duane Allman’s version of “Statesboro Blues” was his first big influence at age 14, but what I hear most is a lot of the young Johnny Winter in his ax work. I was very impressed with this CD from all angles!

The music here is mostly power blues delivered in a fairly controlled and professional manner. Tracks like “Manslaughter” and “Snake Oil” are rocking blues anthems but are not done to excess, which is a good thing. His guitar work is restrained yet powerful. In “Lockdown”, “Epiphony”, “No Dear John”, and the title track we get some up tempo and bouncy blues with strong vocals and guitar. In fact, the cool and lilting, Celtic influence infiltrates a bunch of songs. “Pocket Full of Stones” opens the CD; here and on “Land of the Living” we get two different speed boogies going. The songs are all strong and the lyrics are usually interesting if not completely down and out and telling a story.

I really like this guy’s style. I find his work intriguing and his slide, acoustic and lap guitar play are all great. I’ll be checking this Atlantic Provinces Canadian guy out a lot more and recommend you do the same!.

Reviewer Steve Jones is secretary of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL.

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