The blues means many things to many people. To some, the purists/old guard, it is the scratchy honesty of Robert Johnson with his devil-fuelled fretwork. To others, it is the giants that followed him, from Howlin’Wolf and MuddyWaters to the Kings – Albert and BB. To others still, it is the rock ’n’ roll that those old guys influenced, be it Cream, the Stones or early Fleetwood Mac. The truth, of course, is that the blues is whatever you want it to be. If a group of musicians wants to drink a few beers or a quart of bourbon, smoke some unfiltered cigarettes, plug in a guitar, see what happens and call it the blues, who are we to argue?
FIVE HORSE JOHNSON is now 17 years and six albums into its career, with a seventh about to drop. The band has dug out a niche of its own, combining their love and respect for traditional blues and classic rock to become one of the most loved and respected bands in the USA’s underground rock community.
Always a freight train live, the band has toured hard with the likes of Clutch and Halfway To Gone, in the process gathering fans, friends, and drinking partners all over the world. FIVE HORSE JOHNSON’s new album, The Taking of Black Heart is the band’s first full-length record since 2006’s The Mystery Spot, which saw FIVE HORSE JOHNSON, with the help of Clutch’s Jean Paul Gaster helming the drums, create its strongest album up to that point. That record saw Gaster and Steve Smith provide more power than a Super Hemi. Brad Coffin’s guitar never sounded lither and his voice never stronger. Eric Oblander’s harp, meanwhile, is as sharp as a tailfin, his gravelly vocal delivery a growling, howling counterpoint to Coffin’s gruff style. Other collaborators on The Mystery Spot included Roadsaw/Antler’s Craig Riggs and Big Chief’s Phil Durr and Mark Dancey. Durr is now an official member of the band.
Now though, FIVE HORSE JOHNSON is back, preparing to rip the world a new orifice all over again with The Taking of Black Heart, which again features Gaster on drums and is produced by J Robbins of Jawbox (who also contributes some organ and percussion). The FIVE HORSE JOHNSON lineup for the album is Eric Oblander (vox/harp), Brad Coffin (vox/ guitar), Steve Smith (bass) and Phil Dürr (guitar). The album also includes a special guest appearance from Robin Zander of Cheap Trick, who contributes vocals on the song ‘You’re My Girl (I Don’t Want To Talk About It)’.
FIVE HORSE JOHNSON is not a band that makes apologies. A decade into its life, compromise is not an option. The truth is, this is hard, heavy, dirty blues rock ’n’ roll for people that like that sort of thing.
The Taking of Black Heart will be released via Small Stone Recordings during January 2013 and you can stream the track Shoot My Way Out below.
Source: No Other