When Five Horse Johnson formed back in 1995, referring to themselves as a “blues band,” a few brows might well have been furrowed. But this is a band that has always understood that the blues isn’t a formula – it’s a way of looking at the world. Their take on the blooze is as a dirty, sensual thing, enhanced with a healthy dose of humor.
Now some two decades and seven albums into their career – with eighth Jake Leg Boogie, set to drop in Summer 2017 on Small Stone – Five Horse Johnson have dug out a niche of their own, a genuine love and respect for traditional blues and classic rock leading them to likewise become one of the most loved and respected bands in the heavy rock underground. Always a freight train live, they’ve toured the US (with Clutch and Halfway to Gone) and Europe extensively (including the festival circuit), gathering fans, friends, and drinking partners all over the Western World.
Jake Leg Boogie sees FHJ going back to its recording roots. Original drummer Tim Gahagan has rejoined, and the results are powerful. Brad Coffin’s guitar has never sounded heavier, his voice never stronger. Eric Oblander’s harp, meanwhile, is as sharp as a tailfin, and his gravelly vocal delivery a growling, howlin’ counterpoint to Coffin’s gruff style. Steve Smith’s bass is a strong backbone, while Phil Dürr’s guitar complements that of Coffin, adding extra edge for good measure.
From the slow, bluesy stomp of the title-track, to the dirge vibe of “Daddy Was a Gun” – a story of some weird goings-on in a strange parish – Jake Leg Boogie is pure old school FHJ, recorded live, everyone in the same room, with as little overdubbing as possible. Accordingly, it feels lively and loud in the MC5-come-Hendrix vibe of “Hard Times,” the hard-rocking “Magic Man” (a tale of depravity set in the town of Springfield, MO), and the near-Texan boogie of “Smoke Show.”
Jake Leg Boogie was recorded at Rustbelt Studios, with longtime producer Al Sutton (Big Chief, Novadriver, Halfway to Gone, Detroit Cobras) at the production helm, with a definitive nod to Dave Cobb (All Them Witches, Rival Sons). Artwork provided by noted graphic artist and FHJ-collaborator Mark Dancey, keeping with a tradition established on 1999’s Fat Black Pussycat.
Five Horse Johnson is not a band that makes apologies, and compromise is not an option. The truth is, this is hard, heavy, dirty blues rock ’n’ roll for people who like the sound of an engine roaring or the feeling obtained by following a cold beer with a shot of good whiskey. FHJ will gladly kick your ass, and then wait for you to say thank you and ask for another. Which you will.
Scott Hamilton. March 2017.
released June 30, 2017
Five Horse Johnson is:
Eric Oblander: vox & harp
Brad Coffin: vox & guitar
Steve Smith: bass
Phil Dürr: guitar
Tim Gahagan: drums & percussion
Recorded by Al Sutton & Steve Lehane @ Rustbelt Studios / Royal Oak, MI.
Mixed by Al Sutton.
Produced by Al Sutton, Scott Hamilton.
Mastered by Chris Goosman @ Baseline Audio Labs / Ann Arbor, MI.
Fine Arts by Mark Dancey.
Textiles by Vince Williams @ Creative Print / Warren, MI.
Executive Producer: Scott Hamilton.
All songs by FIve Horse Johnson.
Thanks to all who have helped the cause.
Peddling the finest in rock n' roll, psychedelic, stoner, doom, blues, hard rock, fuzz, metal, sludge, vintage 70's style rawk, etc, since 1995!!! True, honest music, made by real, honest people. Available on CD, vinyl, and digital.