Johnny A. 05/04/02
Turning Point
Piermont, NY

Hearing Johnny A.ís guitar playing for the first time on his debut disc, "Sometime Tuesday Morning" definitely grabbed my attention. SEEING this guy play is a phenomenal experience. And what better place to see Johnny A, or anyone for that matter, than at the Turning Point in Rockland County, a room where there is no bad seat in the house and offers a gorgeous glow unlike any other club Iíve attended.

Johnny and his band opened with the title track, (written by Johnny) from his debut CD, "Sometime Tuesday Morning" and you just knew it was going to be a special night, from the gorgeous tones coming from his instrument. I was mesmerized at his hand movements, as he constantly tinkered with the whammy bar, switches, tone controls, as he moved from Wes-like guitar chords, to rockabilly, to his own unique styles, with amazing ease, always in total control of his instrument. Next came the Willie Cobbís, made famous by the Allmanís, "You Donít Love Me", rearranged by Johnny with sharp jazz chords during the intro, taken into wah-wah land, and than rocked out a bit for the ending. The band grooved with Johnnyís "Two Wheel Horse" which at times had a Beatles kind of "Day Tripper" feel to it. "Wichita Lineman" the smash hit made famous by Glen Campbell in the late 60ís, was a well placed selection in the set, giving Johnny the opportunity to show off the pretty side of his playing, and you could hear a pin drop at the Turning Point, as the crowd was so focused on Johnnyís delivery of this old classic. "Tex Critter" also written by Johnny, was a neat country romp, with a Chet Atkins metamorphosing into Danny Gatton flow through it. A great jazzy version of Hendrixís, "The Wind Cried Mary" was spectacular, starting very slowly, offering a view of what was to come later in the evening.

Changing moods, as Johnny seems to enjoy, came a smokey version of the Ventures classic, "Walk Donít Run" with a modern arrangements, which worked extremely well for this fine guitarist style. Itís hard to explain Johnnyís, "Up in the Attic" other than to say that you had to be amazed by the dexterity of his playing so many quick changes throughout. Encores included the radio friendly/funky, "Oh Yeah", which had the crowd tapping their feet and moving and grooving to this highly contagious and catchy tune. The jazz/blues classic "Night Train" buzzed into an incredible "Jimi Jam" with Johnny capturing all the pyrotechnics of Jimi, without the usual annoying blaring feedback done by so many other guitarists. Johnnyís homage to Jimi was unique and very clean, yet un-offensive, done within an intelligent playing context.

Did I like this show? No, I was totally blown away by his playing, unique style and performance! The sound generated by just drums, bass, and Johnnyís guitar is nothing short of amazing, and is a testament to how strong a player Johnny A is. And if this review is not enough proof how great this show was, you had to see the line of at least 25% of the crowd lining up to buy his disc, "Sometime Tuesday Morning". And they were not content to purchase just one copy either. Many were walking away with 2-4 copies for themselves and their friends!

I highly recommend that you buy the CD, at www.JohnnyA.com! And definitely see this man and band perform whenever they come to your area. You will be amazed, and happy that you did!

The musicians in Johnny A.'s group are:

Johnny A. - Guitar
Rick O'Neal - Bass
Ron Stewart - Drums


Happy listening!

Bob Putignano