Monday, November 16, 2015

CD: RED JOHNSON - The Local Entertainer

The Local Entertainer
The Local Entertainer - Cloud Over Paradise - I'd Rain All Over You - A Day With No Sunshine - What Kind Of World - There's  A Grand Ole Opry Show Playing Somewhere - Big Brave Me - A Woman's Lips - Hidden Feelings - Anything But Me - Moving To Nevada - It Burns All The Way Down - Mrs. Johnson - Grey Eyes - Railroaded - Too Much Of You Went With Him - Everyday People - Touching Me Again - Give Her Some Happiness - What Man Wouldn't Try - Christmas In Heaven
Red Johnson's local entertainer sounds an awful lot like me.  I've been a sort of entertainer that believes the old country songs shouldn't be just buried or hidden away.  So it goes.  This must be my day to listen to good songwriters.  I just reviewed the great Ginny Peters from New Zealand, and here comes one of our best traditional and classic country music songwriters from Minnesota, the great Red Johnson.  He had a huge hit with "There's A Grand Ole Opry Show Playing Somewhere" which is on this CD, and it's a good one....BUT, in 2015 Red had another of his songs played on the USA's most popular television show, NCIS.  True, "Mrs. Johnson" was used in the background of one of the shows early in the year  Here it is on this remarkable CD of Red Johnson originals.  I must add quickly this song is not about 'his' Mrs. Johnson, it's about a stripper in a club looking for company, so please don't confuse that.  It spread its wings on the NCIS show as a background radio station playing in a gas station as the NCIS crew questions a couple of the attendants.  What a thrill.  It's also a thrill to listen to some of these earlier songs that Red wrote and recorded.  Every darn one of them is a 'true' country song.  I'd have a hard time trying to write from all these experiences that Red writes about.  But somehow he wakes up in the middle of the night, grabs a pencil and jots down the thoughts on his mind, and next day they are a song.  "I wish I were a raindrop, I'd fall and kiss your cheek."  How can you get anymore romantic than that.  Listen to it on "Anything But Me," and try to tell me this isn't 'real' country.  Red leans heavily on the steel guitar on some of his best work.  He's also strong on having a strong lead guitar, and both of these lead instruments are well mixed into the final sessions. There's a few exceptions, like "Grey Eyes" which is almost folk-like in it's presentation, but super it is, with some beautiful harmony added.  Terrific 'love' song, very touching, since it's about a dad's little girl who is going blind.  What a tear jerker.   I always have a good time listening to Red Johnson's music, mostly because he doesn't hold anything back.  He says and sings what he means, and we sure don't find that in contemporary country music these days.  Keep at it Red, we'll be looking forward to hearing you in person, in concert, April 15-16-17, 2016 at the Oak Tree Performance Center, Anita, Iowa.
for Country Music News International
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