Joel Johnson’s newest album, Blues Joose Volume II is a remarkable piece of guitar mastery. It doesn’t get any better than this. And I can’t get enough of this cd.
His band has competed in the 2013 International Blues Challenge in Memphis and represents the Grand River Blues Society. He sports a lengthy list of honours and accomplishments following the 2010 release of his first cd, Blues Joose Vol 1. Joose, by the way is not a misspelling of Juice, it’s to honour his late friend and mentor Paul “Joose” Mitten. They played together in the band The Blues House Hustlers
When you hit the play button on this cd, guitar and piano hit you square in the face. This is not a laid-back album. It comes on strong with boogie, blues and some funk thrown in for good measure. Joel’s voice is a perfect match for his rocking guitar.
The first cut Out of My Mind follows the blues custom of a hard-done-by guy who’s working two jobs to keep his gal happy. Shades of B.B. King lyrics, with refreshingly unique guitar work.
Then comes the hard-driving Raise the Wind, with Joel’s screaming guitar soaring through the digital sky. Close your eyes and you can’t help but think this guy has Hendrix genes in him. His vocals are powerful – virtually a la Johnny Winter.
Joel shows he can also pen the blues with I’ll Be Just Fine.
“Well I wanna tell you about my blues – You know it hurts right down to my spine.”
And just when you think there’s nowhere else to go, Joel takes you on a trip down to the Crossroads. What poise to play a Clapton classic on a sophomore album. And that poise allows him to turn that tune into a wonderful new rendition. It’s captivating.
But that‘s just not enough for Joel. He tackles Hendrix’s Little Wing with such polish that Jimi would certainly nod in agreement.
His guitar playing is so solid that he delivers two marvelous instrumentals, Insanity and Luther Allison. These two songs take your breath away. How did he ever learn to play guitar like this? It has to be raw talent mixed with hours of practice.
Then just when you’re getting comfortable, Joel rocks you with Rhumba Song and Turn It Up. These boogie woogie blues make you want to dance the night away.
Jools Juice II does not sit back on the accolades of Volume One. It tackles the rockin blues with a gutsy performance that delivers the goods. Joel can play it all.