Straitjacket Jeremiah Johnson
- 2Getting Tired 03:41
- 3Blues In Her Eyes 04:24
- 4Keep On Sailing 03:14
- 5Believe In America 05:43
- 6King & Queen 06:02
- 7Dirty Mind 06:23
- 89th And Russell 04:19
- 9Old School 05:25
- 10Bonneville Shuffle 03:05
- 11Hold My Hand 04:36
- 12Rock & Roll Music To The World 02:53
Info for Straitjacket
Take a ride along the banks of the Mississippi River, pull up a stool in any St. Louis blues joint and talk will soon turn to the musician who’s giving the city its soundtrack. Jeremiah Johnson’s towering reputation has been hard-earned. During a two-decade rise, his triumphs have been accompanied by struggles and scars – not to mention the solitude of a life in motion. But those hard knocks have forged him as an artist, and now they feed into Straitjacket: the warts-and-all masterpiece that gives it to you straight. “This album is original American rock ‘n’ blues with southern-fried soul,” explains Johnson. “I just close my eyes and feel the music go through me…”
Few are better-qualified to commentate on modern America’s melting pot of people, cultures and musical genres. As Johnson reminds us in the autobiographical groove of 9th & Russell, the bandleader cut his teeth in St. Louis, then honed his craft in Houston, where he won the Regional Blues Challenge for three years running. But it was the return to home-turf in 2009 that truly planted Johnson’s flag, as he hit the stage at the iconic Hammerstone’s blues bar and spliced the two cities’ musical palettes into his own searing original material.
Since then, there’s been victory in the 2011 St Louis Blues Society Challenge, acclaimed albums including 2014’s Devon Allman-produced Grind and 2016’s genre-hopping Blues Heart Attack – not to mention the Ride The Blues documentary that painted a candid portrait of Johnson’s bitter-sweet rise. “Let’s just say I’ve had my days with drugs and alcohol,” he nods, “and it took me a long time to get a grip on it.”
In 2018, Straitjacket wears Johnson’s soul proudly on its sleeve. Produced by St. Louis’s favourite son, Mike Zito, at his Mars studios in Texas, the calibre of the lineup of Frank Bauer (sax/vocals), Benet Schaeffer (drums) and Tom Maloney (bass) demanded that these songs were captured on the floor. “We went for a live feel,” says Johnson. “There are a lot of places I could have played a more perfect solo or sang the lyrics more precisely, but in the end it was perfect left alone. Real, human, breathing, imperfected perfection.”
Served raw and searingly honest, these songs examine Johnson’s history, headspace and place in the world. He can be playful, on the title track’s hectic funk-blues complaint to a controlling girlfriend, or the grooving Dirty Mind, about a lover calling up for “a little company” at 2am. But elsewhere, personal moments like Keep On Sailing bleed into the social commentary of Believe In America and Old School. “Keep On Sailing is about realising the people around you are only there because of the drugs and booze,” he explains. “Believe In America is about seeing people struggling with money and a government that keeps leaving us small people behind – but I also see people who still have faith in this country. Old School is probably the most important song on this record. In my childhood, we got in fights, lessons were learned and we all walked away with our lives. Today, people pull out a gun…”
There might be storm clouds on Straitjacket, but the record ends in a ray of sunshine, as a cover of Alvin Lee’s classic Rock ‘N’ Roll Music To The World sees the band flex their astonishing chemistry and enjoy the ride (“We just cranked it up and let it fly”). The man himself hopes that you will do the same: “I want people to let this record play from the first to the last note, crank it up at a party, zone out while driving or riding through the night on a Harley-Davidson. I want this record to make people feel like throwing it in and going on a trip of emotion…”
Jeremiah Johnson, vocals, guitar
Frank Bauer, saxophone, guitar
Tom Maloney, bass, slide guitar (on 9th And Russell)
Benet Schaeffer, drums
Mike Zito, guitars, vocals (on Rock & Roll Music To The World(
Born and raised in St. Louis, Jeremiah Johnson is the voice of Mississippi River blues blending with the struggles of everyday life. He began learning guitar at age 6, drawing inspiration from his rich St. Louis blues heritage and legendary guitarists, like Alvin Lee, Eric Clapton and Hank Williams Sr. and Jr. With these influences, Johnson began building his musical foundation.
After relocating to Houston, TX, in 1999, Johnson finished in first place for three consecutive years at the Houston Regional Blues Challenges, sponsored by the Houston Blues Society. Johnson returned to St. Louis in 2009, and merged Texas style with STL blues to create the unique sound you hear today. The 10 years Johnson lived and performed in Texas changed his musical style in ways you can still hear in his music today.
In 2011, Johnson was the proud winner of the St. Louis Blues Society IBC Challenge and went on to the semifinals to represent St. Louis in Memphis, TN. One year later, Sirius XM's B.B. King’s Bluesville picked up the Jeremiah Johnson Band, where they can be heard nationwide, and they have been playing his music ever since. You can also hear Jeremiah Johnson on Touch Tunes Jukeboxes in bars/clubs across the US and on radio stations around the world.
In September 2014, Johnson filmed his docu-concert, Ride the Blues, directed by Australian Producer/Director Gary Glenn, at the historic Capitol Theater in downtown Burlington, IA. The film is live music video about Johnson’s rise to prominence, featuring intimate interview segments, still photography, guitar solos and stunning vocals. Donations from concert attendees were generously given to the theater and to the National Blues Museum, connecting Johnson’s roles of musician and music advocate.
2014 Johnson records Grind, produced by Devon Allman, features Grammy award winner Yonrico Scott on drums. Grind has been featured on SiriusXM's B.B. King’s Bluesville, and on the international radio show “Confessing the Blues”, broadcasting on 50 stations in 10 countries worldwide. Grind reached the #8 slot on the Billboard Blues Charts the week of November 7th, 2015.
Johnson follows the success of Grind with a self produced release, Blues Heart Attack, released worldwide on July 22, 2016. This unique record is a blend of Johnson’s entire musical career. “It’s a combination of our earlier works, and then Grind,” he explained. “There’s horns and keyboard reminiscent of Brand Spankn’ Blues, but also some heavy guitar driven tracks. It’s the evolution of everything in a Blues Heart Attack.” Special guest performers include Tom ‘Papa’ Ray on harmonica, and Nathan Hershey on keys. Blues Heart Attack reached #5 on the Billboard Blues Charts following its release in 2016.
March of 2018, Mike Zito will be producing Jeremiah Johnson's new CD release. The band is headed to Texas to MARZ Studio with more than two handfuls of killer new original rockin blues tunes and Mike Zito producing! Mike is currently nominated for Two BMA Awards! Mike has produced albums for Samantha Fish, Laurence Jones, Albert Castiglia and others. He tours extensively in the USA, Canada and Europe. He has been honored with multiple Blues Music Awards over the past 10 years.
Johnson performs with Benet Schaeffer (drums), Frank Bauer (sax & backing vocals), and Tom Maloney (bass), bringing the Jeremiah Johnson Band to its highest level to date. It's safe to say this is going to be a huge year for the band. 2018 is going to rock!