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Guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd has reviewed Robert Johnson’s “The Complete Original Masters: Centennial Edition,” noting “the clarity on this new collection is not to believed. The improvement is one of leaps and bounds. … The richness, raw emotion and pain that was in Johnson’s voice and the sound of his guitar playing – it’s all right there. Such a spooky vibe. Sonically, it’s a wonder.”
Shepherd wrote, “For a guy like me, listening to Robert Johnson is always quite humbling. When I pick up an acoustic guitar and I try to play the blues, the first guy I think of, always, is Robert Johnson. And it’s not like I’m trying to copy him; I’m just inspired by him. Truthfully, I’m not capable of copying him.”
Read the complete review at MusicRadar.com.
There are watershed moments in the history of popular music when the planets align, and the sense of change is palpable. Moments when the right guitar, in the hands of the right player, at precisely the right time causes a seismic shift and redraws the landscape. MusicRadar has ranked Robert Johnson at No. 1 on its list of these moments, noting that his impact on modern popular music “is hard to overstate.”
Read more at MusicRadar.com.
SESAC hosted its 15th Annual New York Music Awards on May 11th at Manhattan’s IAC Building. One of the evening’s many highlights was the celebration of 100th birthday of music pioneer and undisputed King of the Delta Blues, Robert Johnson. After a riveting video tribute documenting Johnson’s career and accomplishments, Ronny Drayton, a highly accomplished studio musician hit the stage performing Johnson classic “Love In Vain” to an enthralled audience. Robert Johnson’s grandson, Michael, traveled from his home in Mississippi to accept the posthumous award on behalf of the Johnson family.
SESAC’s Pat Collins, Michael Johnson, SESAC’s Stephen Swid and Trevor Gale
Robert Johnson’s son, Claud Johnson, and grandson Steven Johnson were recently interviewed by host Tavis Smiley on NPR. You can listen to the full audio of their interview, courtesy of The Tavis Smiley Show.
David “Honeyboy” Edwards’s voice all but creaks as he talks, but even at 95 the closest living musical link to blues legend Robert Johnson remains as potent a force as ever.
“I met Robert when I was 20 years old and he was 24,” Edwards recalls. “He was playing the harp [harmonica] with Son House and Willy Brown near a Mississippi lake called Lake Cormorant.”
On Sunday, fans worldwide will celebrate the centenary of Johnson’s birth. Concerts are being held in Greenwood in Mississippi’s Delta region, where Johnson died in 1938 aged just 27, as well as a memorial service in nearby Little Zion, believed to be his final resting place. His grandson, Steven, a church minister, will lead the prayers.
For Edwards, Johnson’s friend, regular gig partner and the last surviving major blues musician from the era before the second world war, it is a day to cherish.
Read more at The Observer website.