Jeremiah Johnson’s latest album release, Straightjacket, is 12 tracks that cover almost every style and flavor of the blues. His ability to do this is partly due to the musical instrument line up in the band, and partly due to his songwriting style. It’s a wonderful mix of all his eclectic parts and many traveled roads leading up to this release.
Jeremiah Johnson exudes a real blues club, honky-tonk swagger in his voice and the band is as tight as any I’ve heard. It’s an authentic sound that he’s completely comfortable in and shows his St Louis roots as well as some southern accents from his time in Texas. Whatever your favorite style, you’ll find it in this album.
Accompanying Jeremiah on this album and on tour are Benet Schaeffer on drums, Frank Bauer on tenor sax, Tom Maloney on bass/second guitar, and Mike Zito guest appears on “Rock & Roll Music To The World”.
With all the songs being written by Jeremiah, you feel the sincerity of his lyrics through the emotion and the way that he sings each song. The albums title track “Straightjacket” kicks off the album with an upbeat, almost whimsical cadence and then moves into the second track, “Getting Tired”, which has a real cool guitar riff through and is highlighted with a great saxophone solo.
And speaking of the saxophone, it plays the second guitar part on most songs, and opens up a lot of cool musical opportunities for the band to dive into different flavors of the blues/rock genre. “Blues In Her Eyes”, “Keep On Sailing”, and “Believe In America” cover the range of slow/smooth blues, ’50s rockabilly, and American anthem rock respectively, without missing a beat. “King And Queen” touches on some of that Texas swing that you’re familiar with in Stevie Ray Vaughan’s catalog, while being entirely Jeremiah Johnson at it’s heart.
Jeremiah’s says that the song “Old School” may be the most important songs on the album and is his statement on dealing with your problems head on, learning from it, and living through the next day. “Bonneville Shuffle”, one of my favorite tracks on the album, is a cool saxophone lead tune that’s a throw back to a ’50s or ’60s movie where the cool kids have leather jackets and greased back hair and yet another great example of the variety they can pull of with this instrument line up.
It closes out with a cover of Alvin Lee’s “Rock ‘N’ Roll Music To The World” where Mike Zito, also the albums producer, sits in on vocals and adds in fantastic guitar work to accompany Jeremiah and the band.
These guys are out on the road now and will be hitting a number of dates through out the Midwest. Get out to support good blues music and keep Jeremiah Johnson and the band preforming the music that they love to make.