Tuesday January 4, 2011
Posted by Glenn Meisner
Many artists have their specialties - some cut great records but need support to realize their studio sounds in a live setting while others are born performers who never quite translate to records as well as they do live. Rarely do you find an artist who excels at both. John Campbelljohn does. In each of his many forms.
In his solo, acoustic blues performances he makes the most of the song. Campbelljohn soulfully commands the stage with rich vocals, while his powerfully prolific technique on guitar or trusty dobro lap steel further embellishes each composition. His power trio ups the ante with an electric sound that can pummel an audience into submission or captivate them with the subtleties of ace musicians driven solely by the love of their craft.
A tight rhythm section fronted by Campbelljohn's distinctive prowess on slide guitar quickly demonstrates that, although John's a Cape Bretoner, he's been cut from a plaid of a very different colour. Power blues that touch on rock, reggae and roots with a few overtones of pure country - these are John Campbelljohn's stock and trade. He's also added the wondrous sounds of the pedal steel to his live band shows to haunting effect. The overall quality of the musicianship, the energy of his delivery and the guaranteed good times that spring from the band's performances are proof of the pudding.
Acoustically, John combines the influences of such diverse players as Fred McDowell, Ry Cooder and John Hammond while his electric shows earmark everyone from Sonny Landreth to Johnny Winter, Clapton to Duane Allman. A simple listen to any of his six CD releases tell the tale that John Campbelljohn - solo or otherwise - is a born performer and a credit to his accomplishments: Blues Artist of the Year, Guitarist of the Year, Slide Guitarist of the Year.
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