::T R A C K S::


GYR208 - $14.99

Excellent seventh studio disc by this awesome blues/rock guitarist from Ohio featuring 10 impressive, powerful, 70s-inspired, blues-based, heavy guitar rock tracks that shine a light on the vast six string musical talents of this killer, lead guitar rippin', blues-rockin' riff:master. Jay Jesse Johnson is a true "Man On A Mission" and on his latest disc the supreme kick-ass axeslinger digs deep & rocks the blues hard with a serious dose of amped up, electrified six string mojo blues power. JJJ is a bad-ass, legit "old-school meets modern day" guitar hero who was born to rock & give us faith & hope that real guitar rock music is still alive on this essential, classic Grooveyard Records disc.

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· reviews ·

Emerging from the shadows of the almost forgotten old school of rock, Jay Jesse Johnson shows how it was done the old way with his latest release Man on a Mission. Because rock is not going to save itself, and today there are few standing for this musical form. Musically speaking, the album has a fairly consistent sound and the tracks are arranged in a cohesive and coherent way, even skipping some of them the album does not sound in any way disjointed, it is a well-articulated and meticulously thought-out work, from the beginning to the last detail. “Got to Burn” is the track that serves as the introduction to Man on a Mission, a start with a firm foot and a determined step to make it very clear that Jay Jesse is here, he is ready to rock hard, shake the floor, and blow some minds. This intro contains an initial keyboard sound effect and a distant guitar echo that creates expectations and, boy, exceeds them once the track starts. Just imagine how that’s gonna sound live! One thing that pleases and appeals to my academic demands is the fact that although there are many riffs and use of distortions on the guitar, these sound incredibly clean and the beat measure is perfectly taken care of, this attention to detail shows that rock is music and that the veterans still possess the distinctive touch and good taste.

The use of the bass as a harmonic support for the second guitar making clear its compositional trends and its musical background. The influence of soul is also well exposed and developed within the musical form that we well know comes from there.The melodic guitar, for its part, is the great star of the simple orchestration with which the musical form of rock music is organized. The guitar not only sings, howls like a wolf and moans to the rhythm of Jay, but also tells the stories, it is perfectly used as a discursive element, the perfect icing on the cake. Highlights include “No Disguise” which clocks in just over 7 minutes and the punchy “Livin’ On Rock N’ Roll.”

And of course, how about the vocal performance? Mr. Johnson’s voice has the dark and warm but velvety color of soul music. His voice is not scratchy or cut by abrupt breaths. The low notes are quite consistent, while the high notes have a punch without being strident, truly a virtuoso of this musical form. Speaking of the album cover art, I must say that it reminded me a bit of the covers of the legendary Santana (no comparison) the image is straightforward: a man and everything he needs, his guitar. The blue color and the mosaic in the background add an extra touch of good taste and the concept that characterizes this work.

Jose Carlos / Blues Rock Review (April 2022)

Grooveyard Records specialises in guitarists who are influenced by Hendrix/Trower/Cream type of heavy blues/rock guitar, and Jay Jesse Johnson fits that bill perfectly. This is Johnson's seventh solo release, and it follows suit with his other solo pieces. The ten tunes are filled to the brim with guitar solos upon guitar solos but, thankfully, they are played within the frame of some pretty cool songs. "Got To Burn," the title track, "Livin' On Rock 'N' Roll" (which sounds uncannily like Axe), and "Good As Gone" are on the rock side of things and showcase Johnson's guitar prowess, and his voice is good, too. "No Disguise" and "Tearin' Down The Walls" venture into Trower territory, while "One Day At A Time," the best cut on the album, is a boisterous slide-driven number that rocks. If you like guitar-oriented rock/blues, not only should you check out Jay Jesse Johnson, but the whole Grooveyard catalogue.

Tony Pijar / Power Play Magazine - Issue 251 (May 2022)

When an album release is due on the Grooveyard Records label, you can usually expect a decent pound of rock or blues rock. Jay Jesse Johnson released his seventh studio album titled Man On A Mission in mid-January 2022. The ten songs add up to a fragrant total playing time of just over forty-seven minutes. Recorded at Cotton Run Studios, Hamilton, Ohio, all songs are written by Jay Jesse Johnson.

During the production, the name of the protagonist and Joe Romagnola (also Tony Spinner, Bluestone Company, Mountain Of Power, Bryce Janey) appear. However, Joe Romagnola did not take part as a musician on this record. Of course Jay Jesse Johnson is the man on the guitar. Jay Jesse Johnson plucks the bass and Reed Bogart and Ed Corvo play the deep notes in one track in six songs. Four people (Jeff Donaldson, Joe Clooney, Lonnie Buckley, BJ Zampa) swing the drumsticks. In addition to Jay Jesse Johnson, Lee Evans operates the black and white keyboard keys.

Jay Jesse Johnson lets it rip. With a well-tempered Blues Rock heaviness he knocks out one heavy song after the other. The protagonist not only convinces with rocking authenticity on the fretboard but also as a singer. Almost all of his solos can be classified as high flyers or nimble fingers. Some compositions already indicate an unshakeable gait from the song title.

His balladesque excursions are also welcomed, because they form an almost relaxing contrast to the high-octane numbers. Special attention is paid to the last track, because here Jay Jesse Johnson takes on the role of the solo entertainer. He not only uses his electric guitar, but surrounds this instrument with wonderfully spherical keyboard sounds and powerful drum sounds. The instrumental is more like Hard Rock, but fits into the musical environment of "Man On A Mission". Great!

Riffy guitars, remarkable rock'n'roll, the boogie variant in view, not neglecting the bottleneck, activating the funk, Jay Jesse Johnson shows diversity. In his six-string excursions, he gives his work machine very different facets of sounds. Good this way! We only see keyboarder Lee Evans in the role of weavering the tapestry of sound. However, he is very present in the songs with his participation. All in all, "Man On A Mission" is a very successful album. Stay healthy and take time for good music as a distraction.

Joachim 'Joe' Brookes / Rock Times (February 2022)

Memories of his youth apparently prompted US blues rock guitarist and singer Jay Jesse Johnson to record his new disc "Man On A Mission" in the vintage style of the 70s. At the age of 18, Johnson moved from Iowa to New York to offer his playing skills in clubs and studio sessions and to start off professionally. Influenced by the British Blues Invasion and Jimi Hendrix, Cream and John Mayall, among others, such stylistic features are now embedded in their own guitar sound and paired with North American blues, boogie and rock elements. After the promising intro, the entry-level track "Got To Burn" is already extensively dedicated to a Texas-bluesy, ZZ Top - oriented style of playing, which is again intensive and appealing with the title song "Man On A Mission" in fine straight boogie leaves a southern-rock exclamation mark.

After almost 50 years in the music business, JJJ has released 10 of his own pieces with his 7th solo album, which show the six-string virtuoso in the best mood and stage road-trip tracks in an impulsive and balanced way with changing elegance. The now 66-year-old can draw on his wealth of experience at any time.

The fact that the flawless self-production (Johnson recorded, mixed and produced himself) in his native Cotton Run Studio, Hamilton, Ohio has of course become a heavy guitar album and the strong presence of the protagonist in his musical work leaves no doubt, is also proven by the further Southern Blues track "Good As Gone" and the slide intro influenced number "One Day At A Time", which could well have been intoned by Gary Moore .

This kind of authentically own, but related, straight-line virtuosity is memorably instrumented as an unmistakable Deep Purple allusion on "Rock The Blues" and comes out particularly strongly on "What Ever You Want" (no Status Quo cover!). The epic slow blues "No Disguise", on the other hand, sounds atmospherically light, which, like the concluding instrumental piece "Beyond The Horizon", emphasizes the varied solo parts of the old school guitar maestro more than expressively.

For blues rock fans, Jay Jesse Johnson's new long player "Man On A Mission" is a "big beat" album that once again deserves the sound of the classic-traditional heavy rock power years.

Stephan Skolarski / Sounds Of The South (February 2022)

Jay Jesse Johnson was born in rural Indiana. He and his brothers started playing the guitar around the age of ten. Influenced by the old blues masters and early rock'n roll idols, Jay started developing his own style on the guitar. His musical career was constantly changing direction. He played in many famous and lesser known bands and shared the stage with many famous names such as Robin Trower, Johnny Winter, Pat Travers, Black Sabbath, Foghat, Jefferson Starship and Fabulous Thunderbirds, just to name a few. In 2006 his debut solo album 'Strange Imagination' was released. The best album was undoubtedly the third album 'Play That Damn Guitar' from 2009. Actually a must have for all guitar fans. Later also 'Run With The Wolf' (2012), the excellent 'Set The blues On Fire' (2015) and 'Down The Hard Road' (2017) were released. Man On A Mission, which was released in March 2022, is Jay Jesse Johnson's seventh studio album. There are ten original songs written by Jay Jesse Johnson on the album. Like the previous album 'Down The Hard Road', 'Man On A Mission' was recorded at Cotton Run Studios in Hamilton, Ohio.

The album opens with the heavy, steamy rocker 'Got To Burn'. Drummer Jeff Donaldson sets the rhythm with energetic and compelling percussion. Bassist Reed Bogart provides the solid rock groove with a pounding bass line. Jay Jesse Johnson adds some power to his words with ripping and exciting strings on his six-string. 'Got To Burn' is a strong opener. Jay Jesse Johnson continues to rock solidly on 'Livin' On Rock N' Roll', in which he sings that rock n' roll is in his heart and mind and that rock n' roll is his way of life. Here too Jay Jesse shows his great class as a guitarist with insane and razor-sharp solo work. Jay Jesse Johnson continues to impress with searing, guitar-driven rock songs. The title track 'Man On A Mission' is a great song with a solid and pounding rhythm section and razor sharp and splitting guitar work. Before you know it you'll be singing along to the chorus and headbanging. Top number. In the Southern rocker 'Good As Gone' the guitar and fingers of Jay Jesse Johnson play a leading role again. Guitar lovers will be delighted again with the ripping and blistering strings of the American guitar virtuoso.

'No Disguise' is an epic power ballad that lasts more than seven minutes, in which Jay Jesse shows that he can also come out strong in more emotional and soulful songs. Now that the batteries are recharged, we get razor sharp and exciting strings in the steamy rocker 'Whatever You Want'. Bassist Reed Bogart is also positive again with an excellent bass line. In the heavy, swampy blues rocker 'One Day At A Time', Jay Jesse Johnson shows that he also fully masters the work with the bottleneck. Jay Jesse Johnson continues to impress on his guitar in the beautiful 'Tearin' Down The Walls', in which his guitar work evokes memories of blues rock legend Jimi Hendrix. A strong, recurring riff is the basis for the steamy rocker 'Rock The Blues'. Keyboardist Lee Evans is excellent and explicit throughout the song and Jay Jesse Johnson once again delivers phenomenal performance on his six-string. In the harmonious instrumental closing track 'Beyond The Horizon', Jay Jesse Johnson plays all the instruments himself. In this more than four minutes long song Johnson gets all the time and space to once again show his class on the guitar and he does it in a fantastic way. 'Man On A Motion' by Jesse Jay Johnson is a beautiful blues rock album, in which the guitar of Jay Jesse Johnson is central. (8.5/10)

Walter Vanheuckelom / Concert Monkey (April 2022)

It’s been a few years since Jesse set the blues on fire. To show he is still on fire, he opens the new album with the smoking hot “Got To Burn”. “You got to burn if you want to shine” – and shine it does. A cool stomping blues rocker, indeed! “Livin’ On Rock ‘N Roll” kicks it into backbeat and lets out a classic blues rocker, while “Man On A Mission” starts off almost like Robin Trower’s “Day of The Eagle”, but only the intro riff. Powerful classic blues rock. In “Good As Gone” Jesse takes it down into a groove funky vibe, while “No Disguise” is a smooth blues ballad with Jesse’s outstanding guitar playing and soulful vocals. “Whatever You Want” kicks it back into gear with that perfect neck pick-up Strat grind and a funky touch. “One Day At A Time” brings out the guitar and slide and places the vibe on the porch, at least in the intro, while the verse brings us into full blues-rocking mode. “Tearin’ Down The Walls” adds a bit of organ to the mix, but the funky vibe is still the same. “Rock The Blues” is a cool, driving, shuffle rocker, while album closing track “Beyond The Horizon” kicks off with a smooth keyboard and a searing Strat solo and goes into a sound track for the open fields. A very good album, I must say!

Janne Stark / Stark Music Reviews (March 2022)

It was Blindside Blues Band main man Mike Onesko who shared a song of Jay Jesse Johnson on Facebook that got my attention. Intrigued by the performance I ordered his most recent album at the time, called ‘Down The Hard Road’ followed by some other releases and was stricken by his pure rocking and blues power husky voice and his relentless guitar work. Now his seventh solo album ‘Man On A Mission’ has just appeared on Grooveyard Records.

Jay Jesse Johnson is 66 years old and has been around for more than four decades. Surprisingly enough (after playing in a few bands) he met up with no-one less than Jeff Cannata and was involved with that iconic Cannata album ‘Arc Angel’. Johnson worked with and for Cannata for a number of years and recorded several records with him and was also part of starting the band Deadringer with Charlie Huhn (ex-Nugent and now the singer/guitarist for Foghat) recording the album ‘Electrocution Of The Heart’. In 2004 he started his solo career with the album ‘Strange Imagination’, the first of a series of hard stomping rock and blues records. He also was involved with The Blindside Blues Band and Mike Onesko’s Guitar Army. It is safe to say that the man has had a long career and it is not over yet.

With a bunch of befriended musicians Johnson has written and recorded his seventh solo album ‘Man On A Mission’, playing multiple instruments himself and producing the record as well. His style is strictly spoken very simply. He plays it loud, straight forward and with a certain cheekiness. Pure and heavy blues rock and roll with shitloads of spicy guitar solos, hard riffs and most of the time upbeat. His voice is pretty rough and husky, in a way you could say that his singing style matches that of his good friend Mike Onesko. The title track speaks for itself. It is heavy, purely guitar driven and with a big bluesy feel.

Not that you can say that Johnson is trying to re-invent the musical blues wheel, but it just kicks ass and it comes straight from the heart. And for good measure there are also some more subtle moments included on this record with ,,No Disguise’’ (over seven minutes long) as probably the best and most touching composition. A brilliant power ballad indeed. With ‘Man On A Mission’ a determined Jay Jesse Johnson hands out an impressive calling card that has heart, soul and pure and ballsy blues character. This is stuff that touches my heart and soul and hopefully yours as well. And if you happen to like this don’t forget to check out some more material of his catalogue.

Michel van de Moosdijk / HEADBANGERS LIFESTYLE (February 2022)

One likes to follow this mission.

His last solo album "Set The Blues On Fire" drew my attention to this musician in 2015. In the meantime, the string artist, who has been active since the 80s, when he was active in the short-lived supergroup DEADRINGER together with scene greats such as Charlie Huhn and Dennis Dunaway, has also recorded an album with the band named after him. Stylistically, however, this one wasn't too far removed from his usual gait, and was also based on hand-made blues rock in an earthy version.

At the latest after the first run of his new spinner, it can be said with the best of my knowledge and belief that where Jay Jesse Johnson puts his name on it, it contains nothing other than hard-hitting Blues Rock. Just like on "Man On A Mission", the meanwhile seventh album of the guy from Indiana.

The tracks, which were recorded together with Joe Romagnola at the "Cotton Run Studios" in Hamilton, Ohio, were all penned by the protagonist and once again let us unmistakably hear his school. Jay Jesse seems to have been given the blues with his mother's milk, and in the course of his development as a musician he also paid close attention to Jimi Hendrix and the "British Blues Invasion".

But he was obviously also inspired by later string heroes such as Frank Marino and Stevie Ray Vaughn. In addition, an obvious Boogie affinity is recognizable, for example the title track makes one think of early ZZ TOP, while the robust 'Rock The Blues' booms out of the speakers in the best FOGHAT style.

Speaking of booming: the sound itself is transparent and appears well balanced, that's a good thing, because listening to this man at work is just pure bliss! String fetishists will find their happiness and will be only too happy to accompany Jay Jesse Johnson on this "mission"!

Walter Scheurer / Power Metal.de (March 2022)

Ohio-based guitarist/vocalist Jay Jesse Johnson practically sets his amp on fire for our entertainment on his latest solo album Man On A Mission. Released February 1st, 2022 on Grooveyard Records, Man On A Mission is a high-test blast of vintage 70s-style blues/rock done right. JJJ is an absolutely bodacious guitarist who throws down big tones and bold licks that are equally packed with the DNA of the original masters of the guitar and a modern-day punch that will quickly pull you into his lane.

Johnson minces no words and wastes no time on these ten straight-ahead tracks ideal for heading out on the highway looking for adventure. His direct approach is cleansing and genuine, giving him the vibe of someone who is actually playing music for its own sake and value. He also recorded, mixed, and produced the record himself, which makes a lot of sense because he seems like a man who knows what he wants to hear.

Johnson is a seasoned musician who has been in the game for more than 40 years. He came up during the British Invasion, began his guitar journey at just ten years old and was soon playing gigs around the Midwest. He moved to New York City at 18, quickly finding gigs and session work there and appearing on MTV with the band ArcAngel. Johnson has also collaborated with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Neal Smith and Dennis Dunaway (Alice Cooper) as well as Joe Bouchard (Blue Oyster Cult) and Charlie Huhn (Gary Moore, Foghat) and recorded with Robert Cray, Canned Heat and Joe Bonamassa.

JJJ released his solo debut Strange Imagination in 2004 and has since established himself as an artist and bandleader of no small talent. He’s been featured on the compilation Shrapnel Records Presents The Best Of Modern Blues with guitar stars Leslie West, Pat Travers, Neal Schon (Journey), and Eric Gales and has shared stages with the likes of Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Johnny Winter, Robin Trower, John Mayall, Jefferson Starship, and Foghat.

Jay’s party starts with the steady-rocking “Got To Burn,” a mid-speed grinder with a second-generation ZZ Top feel. Johnson takes his solo way past the Texas line, however, mixing tasty blues lines with fleet-fingered rock licks that help turn the heat up high. He’s his own player, that’s for sure, and follows his instincts as a soloist. First, he makes it talk and then he makes it scream.

Johnson’s title cut “Man On A Mission” is a bare-knuckle roadhouse scrapper with a tight power trio sound. He makes the most of the huge rock pocket put down by bassist Reed Bogart and drummer Jeff Donaldson, wailing out his solos and gravel-throating his vocal with fever and frenzy. The three musicians make up a monster ensemble that knows exactly how to bring down the walls.

“No Disguise” is an epic and atmospheric soul/blues/rock track that veers between a wise mellowness and a broad mix of rock and soul ideas. Johnson shows us what lies outside of his blues box on the guitar, playing some of his most articulate and emotive parts on the entire set. He works himself way out into space without showing fear, losing focus, or falling into the pit of self-indulgence. Take it as a strong statement from someone in control of every note he plays.

Johnson plays some smoking slide to open “One Day At A Time,” then lets the band kick in with a big beat. Of course, he rips more righteous guitar lines on it that sit in the sweet spot between blues/rock and shred, as he does throughout the record. Johnson’s blend of phrasing and chops borders on perfect and gives him a strong identity. Guitar fans looking for new music that pushes the idea of blues/rock forward will find a lot to like about Jay Jesse Johnson. Be the first on your block to rattle the windows with this one.

Mike O’Cull / Rock & Blues Muse (February 2022)

The mission of singer-guitarist Jay Jesse Johnson from Indiana is to play rock hard blues rock. That much soon becomes clear to me after listening to his seventh solo album 'Man On A Mission'. In the past Jay Jesse could be found in bands such as Cryer, Arc Angel and Deadringer and he recorded a solo disc for Mike Varney's Shrapnel label. His new album definitely belongs in the record/CD closet of every blues rock lover. The album is mainly filled with flaming blues rock. The album opens with Jay Jesse's flaming guitar licks in "Got To Burn", with a majestic intro, which then continues pumping heavily on a Z.Z. Top-like manner with Jay Jesse's venomous guitar in the lead. “You got to burn if you wanna shine” is Jay Jesse's motto and he does both! "Livin' On Rock 'n' Roll" is an angular pumping rocker with a funky sound and Jay Jesse's furious flaming guitar. "Man On A Mission" is a “no bullshit” rocker, pumping mercilessly raw. In "Good As Gone", the Z.Z. Top sound again in a brooding funky groover with Jay Jesse's abrasive (slide) guitar. "No Disguise" is a blues rock ballad in which Jay Jesse's vocals are reminiscent of Huey Lewis's. "Whatever You Want" sounds funky a la the Jeff Healey Band and "One Day At A Time" is also funky with a bluesy slide guitar intro. Jay Jesse bites hard through the languidly grooving "Tearin' Down The Walls" and "Rock The Blues" is a sluggish, plowing blues rock song with an almost "School's Out" (Alice Cooper) beginning. Jay Jesse quietly closes his album with the instrumental Beyond The Horizon. Jay Jesse Johnson delivers an absolute must in the field of blues rock!

Peter Marinus / Bluestown Music (February 2022)

Jay Jesse Johnson - vocals, solo and bass guitar and keyboards, from Indiana, America started his musical career at the age of ten by playing parties at school. When he was 18 he moved to the East Coast and entered the New York / New England music scene with his band Cryer. In his more than 40 year career he has shared the stage with the likes of: Johnny Winter, Robin Trower, John Mayall, Walter Trout, Rick Derringer and Pat Travers, as well as bands such as: Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Jefferson Starship and Foghat and released 26 albums, including several solo albums.

In 2005, he released his first solo album on Git Real Records entitled "Strange Imagination", which was followed in 2007 by "I've Got An Ax To Grind", also released on the same label. This was followed by the solo albums "Play That Damn Guitar" (2009, Grooveyard Records), "Run With The Wolf" (2012, Blues Bureau International/Shrapnel Records), "Set The Blues On Fire" (2015, Grooveyard Records), " Down The Hard Road" (2017, Git Real Records) and on February 1, 2022, Grooveyard Records released his album "Man On A Mission" as a CD, previously released digitally through this label on November 27, 2021. On "Man On A Mission" he is musically assisted by: Reed Bogart - bass guitar (track 1,3,4,5,7,8,9), Ed Corvo - bass guitar (track 6), Jeff Donaldson - drums (track 1 ,3,5,7,8,9), Joe Clooney - drums (track 2), Lonnie Buckley - drums (track 4), BJ Zampa - drums (track 6) and Lee Evans - keyboards (track 4,7,8 ,9)

The 10-track album starts with "Got To Burn", in which Jay Jesse Johnson plays a fantastic blues-rock song, which starts with a lovely piece of guitar playing, which after a short while turns into a catchy danceable rhythm and is followed by " Livin' On Rock N' Roll", a swinging blues song with a medium tempo and a rhythm that makes you dance and the title track "Man On A Mission", a beautiful uptempo rock song, that swings like a train and is silent are therefore not an option. (listen to this song via the youtube link under the review) This is followed by "Good As Gone", a delightful song with a medium tempo and a recurring rhythm, "No Disguise", a great slow blues song, which has a high shuffle and influences of the music of Gary Moore and "Whatever You Want ", a great danceable rock song with an average tempo, that swings and has hit potential. In "One Day At A Time" Jay Jesse Johnson sets me up again such an excellent song in an average tempo and in "Tearin' Down The Walls" I get to hear a similar kind of song again, which has a very danceable rhythm. and played at a moderate tempo, with the music swinging. Next up are "Rock The Blues", a great blues rock song with a medium tempo and a catchy danceable rhythm and "Beyond The Horizon", a great instrumental track, which has a recurring rhythm and is played at a medium tempo.

"Man On A Mission" by Jay Jesse Johnson is a wonderful blues rock CD, which is full of easy-to-hear songs, which I enjoyed very much and I can recommend this disc to every lover of this genre.

Carry Munter / New Underground Music (February 2022)