· JAY JESSE JOHNSON BAND - DOWN THE HARD ROAD (GRR01) ·

::T R A C K S::

01. DOWN THE HARD ROAD
02. ANYWAY THE WIND BLOWS
03. THE BLUES IS A DAMN SAD THING
04. BORN UNDER A BAD SIGN
05. DRIVE ME HOME
06. TEARS OF THE ANGELS
07. GUILTY OF THE BLUES
08. BULL IN THE BARN
09. BEER BOTTLE BLUES
10. THE MESSIAH WILL COME AGAIN


FORMAT: Audio CD / 4 PANEL WALLET
GRR01 - $13.99

Excellent 6th studio disc by this outstanding blues/rock guitarist from Ohio featuring 10 tracks of top-shelf, soul-powered, dynamic, retro, six string mojo that rocks the blues with style, class and authority. Jay Jesse Johnson is a true, legit modern day axeslinger supreme and on "Down The Hard Road", Triple J digs deep into his blues roots which showcase his first rate, killer, guitar talents. Highly Recommended to fans and music collectors of the previous awesome Jay Jesse Johnson discs along with disciples of Johnny Winter, Eric Clapton, SRV, Walter Trout, Gary Moore, Roy Buchanan and all other world-class blues/rock guitarists. It's time to rock the blues with JJJ and take a solid guitar fueled musical ride on the authentic "Down The Hard Road" disc.


MP3 Sample Clips

01. DOWN THE HARD ROAD
02. ANYWAY THE WIND BLOWS
03. THE BLUES IS A DAMN SAD THING
04. BORN UNDER A BAD SIGN
05. DRIVE ME HOME
06. TEARS OF THE ANGELS
07. GUILTY OF THE BLUES
08. BULL IN THE BARN
09. BEER BOTTLE BLUES
10. THE MESSIAH WILL COME AGAIN

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· reviews ·

Strat slinger Johnson hits all the right notes on this collection of modern throwback blues. Whether sliding or fretting, his deep tone calls forth the masters, from SRV to Gibbons, but his songs are all his own.

Michael Dregni / Vintage Guitar Magazine (November 2017)
 


The great Jay Jesse Johnson is back with his 6th release, "Down The Hard Road", and he takes us on a deep dive into the fertile blues roots which represent the foundational first water from which all things Triple J flow. In contrast to his past releases, this set has a distinct concert feel and flow that anyone familiar with his incendiary live shows will immediately recognize, from the opening down & dirty slide work of the title track to the closer, a blistering instrumental version of Roy Buchanan’s seminal “The Messiah Will Come Again”. Between these bookends, a broad and diverse journey through the moods, feels and stories direct from the heart of Bluesville ensues, all featuring JJJ’s signature emotive, single malt-smooth vocals and slinky “slip & slide” lead guitar stylings that, as is his forte, ramps up the energy signature several notches and infuses the entire proceeding with an invigorating, hyper-stylized mojo that elevates the traditional blues fare from the stereotypical to the extraordinary.

All the elements that we’ve come to expect from Mr. Johnson are here in spades: top shelf musicianship from him and his killer band (his bandmates are all top-shelf players and serious artists in their own right, adding depth and breadth to these slices of musical art), full-bodied tones, rock-solid rhythm work and harmonically sophisticated lead guitar excursions…put it all together and what you have is the ultimate JJJ Sonic Cocktail: a triple shot of creative, inspired and rip-roaring riffage that soars and rocks hard while never surrendering the “back to the blues” foundation on which this particular “roadhouse set” is built on.

“Tears Of The Angels” is a particular gem, with a refined heartbeat pulsegroove that serves as a springboard to a searing and psychedelically majestic guitar solo that features the most soulful & heartfelt vocals on the disc. Permanent Playlist material here, a real standout, with tones reminiscent of “Six String Angel” from his masterpiece release “Play That Damn Guitar”. “Bull In The Barn” showcases Jay’s chop-busting “yikes” take on an uptempo, country-fried, chicken-pickin’ jazzed-up shuffle blues that’ll force you to catch your breath after it roars to a close. “Beer Bottle Blues”, a live show staple, is a red-hot, foot-stompin’ Chicago Blues-style funtime romp that features JJJ playing his slide solo with a beer bottle…really…just when you thought you’d seen it all.

So…if you like hard-hitting, bluesy tunes with swagger, energy and attitude, you need look no further than “Down The Hard Road”. JJJ OWNS it. No serious heavy guitar fan should be without this “days of future past” collection of legitimate retrotrad blues feels elevated beyond the ordinary by Jay Jesse Johnson’s personal brand of powerful post-modern guitar work.

Jimmy Ryan / Truth Squad / Flyin' Ryan Brothers / Ryanetics Music (October 2017)
 


Jesse Jay Johnson is a blues rock guitarist from Ohio. At his eighteenth he moved to the East Coast where he performed with local bands and with Arc Angel (a rock band based in Connecticut). Later, JJJ is part of the Deadrock hardrock band, where Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith (both Alice Cooper Band), Joe Bouchard (Blue Oyster Cult) and singer Charlie Huhn (Foghat, Gary Moore) also became part of.

On his first solo album "Strange Imagination" recorded in 2004, Jay JJJ chooses for the blues / rock, resolutely for the roots. On the sequel "I've Got An Ax To Grind" [2007] is singer Charlie Huhn to be heard. In 2009, JJJ's third album, "Play That Damn Guitar", will appear at Grooveyard Records, and in 2012 he signs at Mike Varney's Shrapnel Records, where he releases "Run With The Wolf" [2012].

JJJ's sixth studio album was called "Down the Hard Road". The album is: "An exuberant blues rock testament full of blistering guitars and soulful songwriting ...".

Johnson entered the studio with Reed Bogart (bass), Jeff "Smokey" Donaldson (drums) and Lee Evans (keys). His "special guests" were Jimmy D. Rogers (to be heard on the "Drive Me Home" and "Beer Bottle Blues" piano) and Jim Norcross (heard on "Anyway the Wind Blows").

With a cool slide solo, JJJ opens the title song "Down The Hard Road" of his album. In the boogie following the intro, JJJ explains that "he is also someone of flesh and blood, who has to work every day and who, like every musician, has to swore and can only party when he is paid ...". Then there is a pure blues "Anyway The Wind Blows", which further carries this message in JJJ's solos. The pace remains low in "The Blues Is A Damn Sad Thing". In the song, written by Booker T. Jones and William Bell (known in the version of Albert King!), He describes the position of a man who sits through the window on a rainy day and who has to learn to live without his lover who has left him. "Born Under A Bad Sign" precedes "Drive Me Home", which is initiated by a short, clear piano intro. The song starts like a ballad, but goes on in an uptempo rocker when JJJ asks the question: "When I get tired or drinkin '/ Will somebody drive me home? ...".

With thunders and some guitar chords, the slow blues "Tears Of The Angels" opens. It's a song in which JJJ is talking about a rainy night filled with feelings of loneliness. Following is a Delta blues "Guilty Of The Blues", in which it is about to be "alone" and the instrumental country rocker "Bull In the Barn" precedes. In "Beer Bottle Blues", JJJ sounds more o ptimistic and for the closing, JJJ chose Roy Buchanan's gospel "The Messiah Will Come Again".

For the lovers of blues with a rocky edge, Jay Jesse Johnson, who appears to be loyal to his roots, is a treat to listen to his "Down the Hard Road". Enjoy Jay Jesse and the musical flames, which he produces on his musical path.

Eric Schuurmans / Rootstime - Belgium (September 2017)
 


Jay Jesse Johnson, nicknamed Triple J, is a best-known guitar hatch. Each artist has its specialties. There are phenomenal songs that can write beautiful songs, there are worldly singers and there are men who can play the guitar as the best and make their CD subordinate to it. Like Jay Jesse Johnson. His songs are the classic blues rhythms, his vocals are good, but what he turns out of his guitar, that's where it's on this CD. A short-lived career at Mike Varney's Shrapnel Records says enough about the man's guitar skills, Varney always had a good ear for guitar talents.

The guitar-driven bluesrock lovers can get their heart full of this CD 'Down The Hard Road'. A dozen songs are on the CD. All filled with guitar solos in all possible positions, from slide, to Walter Trout and Gary Moore "like". Personally, it's this kind of guitar work which made me from a metalhead the switch to the blues, I can not get enough of it here. This is therefore high on my annual list, that is for sure.

The cd opens with "Down The Hard Road", an autobiographical song probably because it's not easy to be noticed s o you can comfortably ride it. Nice slide work in this song. In the next "Anyway The Wind Blows", Jay Jesse pulls out an opening solo where Walter Trout would be jealous, deliciously a song in which after each sung line there is a nice guitar riot and a solo where the entire guitar pops open. This is how Jay Jesse Johnson storms to "The Blues Is A Damn Sad Thing". A blues at a slightly slower pace, a song where his voice and the solo change, so you're already dreaming of it.

In the Albert King classic "Born Under A Bad Sign", Jay Jesse Johnson brings an inspiration to his inspiration sources. With his musical companions Reed Bogart bass, Jeff "Smokey" Donaldson drums and Lee Evans on Hammond B3, he throws another Drive on "Drive Me Home". Personally a favorite on this CD with a good text, good guitar and a refreshing piano. "Tears Of The Angels" is a very different cake, with a guitar opening that makes sense to grab your air guitar and get into this instant classic.

"Guilty Of The Blues" opens acoustically, then by steaming into uptempo blues boogie, unnecessarily to mention that the guitar work is again excellent. To put in a bullet in "Bull in The Barn" that rarely belongs to a bluesrock album. Steered into a slider "The Beer Bottle Blues", where the guitar sounds like it's really a beer bottle. In the closing "The Messiah Will Come Again", Jay Jesse Johnson throws out an oath to Gary Moore, where every straight-loving fan of Gary Moore will get tears in his eyes, at least. Great that there are also guitarists who try to keep the unique of Gary Moore alive.

True guitar heroes are enough, Randy Hansen, Walter Trout, Paul Gilbert, Gary Moore. And then you have Jay Jesse Johnson, he combines them all into one. And certainly approaching Gary Moore's guitar game makes me feel good. A really good CD for anyone who loves guitar violence in a bluesrock album.

Jos Verhagen / Blues Magazine-Netherlands (September 2017)
 


Road warrior Jay Jesse Johnson delivers a potent album of blues-rock on this album, the sixth solo release in his catalog. But that should come as no surprise to fans of the vocalist/guitarist. He possesses a pedigree that includes work with several of the biggest names in mainstream music.

Born in rural Indiana and with a deep interest in country, rock and the blues, he’s been playing professionally since his teen years. At 18, he relocated to New York where he because guitarist for the Arc Angel, a Connecticut-based rock band that was signed to CBS Records and produced the tune “Tragedy,” which was in regular rotation on MTV in 1983.

Later in the decade, he joined the hard-rock ensemble Deadringer, which produced one album on the Grunge/BMG imprint and included four Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductees in the lineup: Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith from the Alice Cooper Band, Joe Bouchard from Blue Oyster Cult and vocalist Charlie Huhn, who’s worked with both Foghat and Gary Moore.

A powerful guitarist who remains steadily in the blues idiom with rapid-fire slide and single-note runs, J ohnson made his solo debut in 2004 with the release of Strange Imagination. His 2009 album, Play That Damn Guitar, was included by Classic Rock Magazine when it featured an article entitled The Hottest In New Blues Rock. This CD is a follow up to Jay Jesse’s well received 2015 release, Set The Blues On Fire.

Like that one, Down The Hard Road blazes, too, through a set of eight Johnson originals and two covers. Recorded at Cotton Run Studios in Hamilton, Ohio, it features keyboard player Lee Evans, bassist Reed Bogart and drummer Jeff “Smokey” Donaldson with guest appearances by Jimmy D. Rogers for two cuts on piano and Jim Norcross for one on alto and baritone sax in a set guaranteed to blow the windows out of any roadhouse.

A bare-bones slide solo kicks off the opening title cut, “Down The Hard Road,” before erupting into a boogie as Jay Jesse describes being only flesh-and-blood and working his life away a day at a time, toiling along what any musician recognizes as a difficult path, partying only when he gets paid. It’s a tale enhanced with insights gathered from his father and a preacher, too. The pure blues, “Anyway The Wind Blows,” carries the message forward and features Johnson laying down searing single-note runs.

The tempo slows for another burner, “The Blues Is A Damn Sad Thing,” delivered from the position of a man staring out the window on a rainy day and dealing with being dead broke and with a lady who’s gone for good. Co-written by Booker T. Jones and William Bell and a major hit for Albert King, “Born Under A Bad Sign” follows before a brief, bright keyboard solo introduces the rollicking “Drive Me Home.” It begins as a ballad, but quickly picks up steam as the singer requests: “When I get tired of drinkin’/Will somebody drive me home?” It’s augmented with more flashy work on the fretboard.

Thunder and a slow-paced guitar solo initiate “Tears Of The Angels,” which deals with feelings of loneliness on a rainy night before Johnson adapts a Delta feel to open the original, “Guilty Of The Blues,” before achieving a medium-fast shuffle about living life without emotion after losing his woman. Jay Jesse’s country roots come to the fore in “Bull In The Barn,” which features light-speed single-note picking throughout, before “Beer Bottle Blues” sings the praise of a pretty lady who whispers in his year. The set closes with a rendition of Roy Buchanan’s gospel-rich burner “The Messiah Will Come Again.”

Available through iTunes and CDBaby, Down The Hard Road is right up your alley if your tastes run to rock-flavored blues. In a world rife with shredders, it’s a treat to listen to someone like Jay Jesse who remains faithful to the root amid the musical flames he produces throughout.

Marty Gunther (Blues Blast Magazine) (August - 2017)
 


Born in rural Indiana, Jay Jesse Johnson started playing guitar at the age of 10 and grew up listening to the sounds of blues, country and rock & roll. Moving to the east coast at 18, Johnson started giging in the New York City/New England bar scene. Recognized for his powerful guitar work, he began playing on many studio recordings and became guitarist for Arcangle, before been guitarist and songwriter for Deadringer. Appearing on many recordings Jay Jesse Johnson released his 1st solo album in 2004 “Strange Imagination” which set the stage for his back to the roots, blues/rock ascent. “Down The Hard Raid”, the sixth solo release consists of eight originals and two covers of guitar laden killer blues/rock featuring keyboard player Lee Evans, bassist Reed Bogart and drummer Jeff 'Smokey' Donaldson. With guests Jim Norcross on alto & baritone sax on track 2 and Jimmy D. Rogers on the piano on tracks 5 & 7. Opening with a slide solo “Down The Hard Road” ends up a full on foot stomping slide boogie. Soaring guitar features on “Anyway The Wind Blows”, been broke and woman less, provides a heartfelt soulful voice and guitar on the slower "The Blues Is A Damn Sad Thing“ following with a cover of the Albert Collins hit ”Born Under A Bad Sign", some fine piano introduces “Drive Me Home”, a foot stomping boogie. An emotional guitar meanders its way through the wonderful slower strutting blues of “Tears Of The Angels”, a delta blues intro brings us to “Guilty Of The Blues”, a mid tempo shuffle. Following on with an energetic full on country blues instrumental “Bull In The Barn”, with more fine piano and slide on the up-tempo “Beer Bottle Blues”, closing the album with a cover of Roy Buchanan's “The Messiah Will Come Again” which is more a homage to Gary Moore than Roy but no arguments from me. A good solid album that will appeal to blues fans and those who love their blues rock with more than a sprinkling of guitar axe.

Andy Shirl / Blues Matters (UK) (October 2017)
 



 


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