Alien Guitars

Richard Leo Johnson Returns with a Trip Even Further Out on the Limb

W203Richard Leo Johnson first came to our intention in 1999 when he released a pair of albums on Blue Note Records. He was a ferocious finger-style guitarist, taking the techniques developed by Michael Hedges and pushing them further. Then he went off into a much more rustic direction, playing old acoustic guitars and adopting character like Charlie Shoe and Vernon McAlister. He created stories around these men and inhabited them on albums like  Who Knew Charlie Shoe and The Legend of Vernon McAlister. In the process, Johnson created a wholly original music that was as dusty as a hobo camp and as avant-garde as a Frank Gehry building.

ALien-GuitarNow Johnson has returned with a new CD called Celeste that tells the tale of Vernon McAlister’s alien abduction. He plays the music on a Martin custom “alien” guitar that includes a theremin. If you know the properties and playing techniques of a theremin, I don’t see how this can work, but you can hear it tonight on Echoes.  Here he is whipping it out four years ago on 12-string.

BleedsWe’ll also hear new music from Erik Scott, the erstwhile bassist with artists like Alice Cooper and Flo & Eddie and co-founder of the alt-rock group Sonia Dada. He’s released his second solo album, ….And the Earth Bleeds featuring his beautiful, melodic bass playing. You can hear it on Echoes tonight.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

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