Richard Lee Johnson

(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
Fingertip Ship (1999), 6.5/10
Language (2001), 6/10
Poetry of Appliance (2004), 6/10

Arkansas virtuoso acoustic guitarist Richard Lee Johnson debuted solo with Fingertip Ship (Metro Blue, 1999), that included the first version of Glide Path, followed by the ensemble pieces of Language (Blue Note, 2001), for example the guitar-accordion duo Music Roe. With these works, Johnson invented a new language for the guitar, halfway between Leo Kottke and new-age guitarists such as William Ackerman and Michael Hedges, but further deviated by the use of unorthodox techniques that often summon violent harmonics.

The Trio for Poetry of Appliance (Cuneiform, 2004) includes two former members of the Savannah Symphony Orchestra: Andrew Ripley on wind instruments (mainly oboe) and Ricardo Ochoa on string instruments (mainly violin). The album is split between lively numbers driven by the guitar-violin duo (Highway 420 Revisited, Glide Path), lengthy convoluted compositions (Charmin' Carmen, The Moon is a Sky Thing), and pieces that could be nostalgic Leo Kottke-ian vignettes (Her to Hymn, Eulogy) if it weren't for the additional voice of the violin.

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(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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