CD Review: RED JOHNSON – My Collection


My Collection
You Made Me Over-Overnight -Let It Be You –
Reynosa:Old Mexico – Thanks Darling – Manhandled – Blue Rose – Trains Of
Memory – How Can I Sing For Jesus – Big Sky Country – There Will Always
Be Cowboys – Cry My Sale Gently – What You Threw Away – This Marriage –
Cajun Accordion – What Is To Be Will Be – When You Say Texas

One of our most prolific songwriters in the upper Midwest, is
without a doubt Red Johnson, who makes his home in Minnesota.  Some of
his success as a songwriter has come later in his life.  He teamed up
with a music placement company that finds homes (and a tidy sum) for
good songs as background in national television and radio shows.  The
last I heard, after already placing a huge number of songs, Red was
awarded a contract for seventeen more of his originals.  His most
successful placement so far was on “NCIS” one of the most popular shows
on television, with the highest ratings in the business.  The
introductory song on this CD is a real honky-tonker, and sure to capture
your attention right away, but I really like Red’s songwriting
abilities, especially when he is telling a story.  “Reynosa-Old Mexico”
is one of those story songs that has a terrific ending.  We certainly
don’t have anything like that happening in charted modern country music
today. Another great story-song is “There Will Always Be Cowboys.”  The
song “Blue Rose” is co-written with John Voit.  No not the great movie
star.  John Voit is part of Big John & The Plum Country Swing Band. 
This is not ‘just a band’ it’s a group of incredibly gifted musicians,
from fiddle to saxophone, guitar to drums, what fun it must be to not
only record with this kind of band, but to go out and do gigs with
them.  It has to be a deeply satisfying musical experience.  Red is also
like many of us Christian musicians, he includes something for the Lord
Jesus Christ in his repertoire.  “How Can I Sing For Jesus” is a deeply
meaningful song to Red.  It covers a lot of territory, especially from a
musician-songwriter point of view. “Cry My Sale Gently” is another of
those deep soul searching songs that reveals what happens when you lose
your farm, or your home, and it’s up for sale.  This happened to my dad
when the depression was on, the weather horrible, the ‘times’ gone bad. 
He had tears in his eyes as he watched the bank sell his
property….all of it.  Maybe this is why I’m such a big fan of Red
Johnson.  He tells the truth!  That isn’t happening in country music
anymore, not at all.  That’s why it is so special to me, why we must
keep trying to save some of it if we can.  It’s America’s ‘true’ rural
music. This is one of Red’s earlier CD’s that I’ve never had the
opportunity to hear.  It doesn’t make any difference. Red’s songs are
not locked in time or how long it should be on the charts.  It’s just as
believable and understanding today as it was yesterday, and even more
so….tomorrow.  Off it goes to the Rural Roots Music Commission to see
what they think. 
RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART: President, National Traditional Country Music Association
for Country Music News International

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