Blood in Black and White
I've written before about the frustration heaped upon those in my profession by bands who refuse to categorize their music for fear of alienating their prospective audiences. Being a musician myself, I understand that tendency all too well. But there is a flip-side to this phenomenon and it is this — some bands draw from many genres, and through the organic processes of writing their music they unintentionally cross over and back between them. Johnson's Crossroad is such a band — creating a sound that's part blues, part old-school country and part bluegrass. I guess that makes them Americana, but for some reason that label just doesn't seem to fit. If this album was a few decades old, I'd swear these guys came up with Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings. Can one be both Americana and Outlaw at the same time? Maybe so. With the gruff voice and storytelling prowess of Tom Waits and vocal progressions reminiscent of Jimmy Buffett (of all people), lead singer Paul Johnson really knows how to create a mood. He sets the scene with his powerful lyrics, and the rest of the band skillfully paints in the rest of the story behind him. The songs are well-written, well-produced and not at all flashy. Like Angels in Cahoots, Blood in Black and White is a fantastic debut effort by a band with mad skills. With six gigs in the region this month alone (and tons more later this year), Johnson's Crossroad must be doing something right. And while many of you know of my predilections for hard rock, I just can't find anything amiss with Blood in Black and White. It's a just plain great listen.