Richard Leo Johnson and Gregg Bendian — Who Knew Charlie Shoe?
(Cuneiform Rune 258, 2007, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2008-10-01
Guitarist Richard Leo Johnson has again created a mythical context for the material on this latest disc, a story about a young boy who was transfixed by an old guitar-playing hobo at a church social picnic, and followed by pestering his folks until they bought him his own guitar, which he promptly teaches himself to play. RLJ plays the 20 pieces here on half a dozen vintage guitars in a fingerpicking and slide style that fully embraces down-home Americana, and a classic concertina. He is joined by percussionist “Junk Fish” aka Greg Bendian. Percussion in this case means washboard, spoons, blocks of wood and metal, pots and pans, plastic jugs, sheet metal, hub caps, and… well, just about anything within striking distance. The songs are brilliantly supported by sound effects, phone calls, bits of radio, barking dogs, and other field recordings that bring the story to life, but not in a way that forces the story – it just helps set the mood for what they are trying to accomplish, and doing it amazingly well. All taken, this is an outstanding release that hits the mark on many levels – as an explorative guitar album that offers a unique perspective (occasionally reminiscent of folks like Carl Weingarten, or early John Fahey), and also as a storybook development for Johnson’s concept. Superb on every level.
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more