Chuck Johnson has soared in recent years, with three landmark solo guitar LPs this decade alone. The latest, Blood Moon Boulder, continues the corvid-based theme of 2013’s Crows In the Basilica, and has been hailed in some quarters as his finest achievement yet. It’s hard to argue with that analysis watching Chuck perform on a recent Sunday night at Union Pool to a dedicated crew of serious music fans, who huddled around Chuck as he played both lap acoustic and stand-up electric pieces. As is sometimes pointed out, Johnson is a latecomer to solo guitar, having spent much of his 90s career in bands in Chapel Hill, NC (including Shark Quest, Idyll Swords, and Spatula). You wouldn’t know it from the calculated virtuosity of his three records, evident in his mastery of the slide guitar on “Corvid Tactics.” Crows are a clever, calculating bird, able to adapt and learn over time. Their ability for forethought sets them apart — something that might also be said of Johnson, whose pieces have a habit of leading to unexpected places, shifting gears in ways non-obvious but utterly rewarding. As a special treat, Johnson played an untitled new number mid-set, before playing a favorite melody of “A Slender Thread” into “Dissevered” to close things out. Do yourself a favor and check out Blood Moon Boulder as well as Chuck’s previous releases — the live recording is no more than a taste of how good he can sound.
I recorded this set with a soundboard feed from Kevin Mazzarelli, together with Schoeps MK41V microphones to provide a bit of ambiance. Some noise reduction was used to eliminate DI buzz, and there are a few short bursts of cell phone interference. Overall, however, the sound quality is excellent. Enjoy!
Stream the complete set:
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Recorded and produced by acidjack
Schoeps MK41V (PAS)>KCY>Z-PFA>>Edirol R-44>24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (fades, noise reduction on SBD)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects, imaging)>Audacity 2.0.3 (fades, tracking, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )
01 Corvid Tactics
02 On A Slow Passing In Ghost Town
03 Silver Teeth in the Sun
06 A Slender Thread>Dissevered