Saturday, August 27, 2016
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: BILL JOHNSON - COLD OUTSIDE
B.C. blues writer Bill Johnson says on the faux-autobiographical cut Nine Dollar Bill, "Don't call it jazz, it's my West Coast jumpin' blues," but don't let him fool you. No it's not jazz, but there's darn near every kind of blues on the veteran's latest. He's a deft hand at each blue style, and not afraid to branch out by throwing in lots of roots moments as well.
Night Train has some Old West mystery in it, a touch of Rawhide guitar, definitely a sundown song. Cold Outside grabs the dirty 30s feel, where cold doesn't just mean the temperature. In My Natural Ability, he take on a slow, B.B. feel: "I got an inclination for the blues, and a natural ability to lose."
As you can tell by the above line, Johnson has a natural ability with words, and the album shines musically from top to bottom, it's the all-original lyrics that make it all new and fresh. Makes A Fella Nervous is a fun cut about being a little paranoid around the police, which sounds old-time, but could be about today. He saves the
killer lyric for last; Angeleen is about a femme fatale of the heart, someone who brings only pain for those who love her. But he feels she'll meet her match, "If there is on Earth some kind of lover's justice." These are the kind of high-quality lyrics I'm far more used to hearing in the singer-songwriter world.