You Made Me Over-Overnight -Let It Be You - Reynosa:Old Mexico - Thanks Darling - Manhandled - Blue Rose - Trains Of Memory - How Can I Sing For Jesus - Big Sky Country - There Will Always Be Cowboys - Cry My Sale Gently - What You Threw Away - This Marriage - Cajun Accordion - What Is To Be Will Be - When You Say Texas
One of our most prolific songwriters in the upper Midwest, is without a doubt Red Johnson, who makes his home in Minnesota. Some of his success as a songwriter has come later in his life. He teamed up with a music placement company that finds homes (and a tidy sum) for good songs as background in national television and radio shows. The last I heard, after already placing a huge number of songs, Red was awarded a contract for seventeen more of his originals. His most successful placement so far was on "NCIS" one of the most popular shows on television, with the highest ratings in the business. The introductory song on this CD is a real honky-tonker, and sure to capture your attention right away, but I really like Red's songwriting abilities, especially when he is telling a story. "Reynosa-Old Mexico" is one of those story songs that has a terrific ending. We certainly don't have anything like that happening in charted modern country music today. Another great story-song is "There Will Always Be Cowboys." The song "Blue Rose" is co-written with John Voit. No not the great movie star. John Voit is part of Big John & The Plum Country Swing Band. This is not 'just a band' it's a group of incredibly gifted musicians, from fiddle to saxophone, guitar to drums, what fun it must be to not only record with this kind of band, but to go out and do gigs with them. It has to be a deeply satisfying musical experience. Red is also like many of us Christian musicians, he includes something for the Lord Jesus Christ in his repertoire. "How Can I Sing For Jesus" is a deeply meaningful song to Red. It covers a lot of territory, especially from a musician-songwriter point of view. "Cry My Sale Gently" is another of those deep soul searching songs that reveals what happens when you lose your farm, or your home, and it's up for sale. This happened to my dad when the depression was on, the weather horrible, the 'times' gone bad. He had tears in his eyes as he watched the bank sell his property....all of it. Maybe this is why I'm such a big fan of Red Johnson. He tells the truth! That isn't happening in country music anymore, not at all. That's why it is so special to me, why we must keep trying to save some of it if we can. It's America's 'true' rural music. This is one of Red's earlier CD's that I've never had the opportunity to hear. It doesn't make any difference. Red's songs are not locked in time or how long it should be on the charts. It's just as believable and understanding today as it was yesterday, and even more so....tomorrow. Off it goes to the Rural Roots Music Commission to see what they think.
RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART: President, National Traditional Country Music Association
for Country Music News International