Review: Johnny’s Blues: A Tribute to Johnny Cash

Various Artists
“Johnny’s Blues: A Tribute to Johnny Cash”
(Northern Blues)

Colin Linden appears here performing “Big River” as well as producing this modern blues approach to the Johnny Cash songbook. Some of these artists are rather contemporary (Harry Manx, Alvin Youngblood Hart) and some have lengthy careers (Charles “Gatemouth” Brown, Sleepy LaBeef). Still each has previously proved a willingness to reinterpret blues in exciting and contemporary styles. Here they bring that interpretive lens to the rich material from The Man in Black.

Brown and Benjy Davis turn “Get Rhythm” into a rocking duet and Paul Reddick lets the harmonica rip on a blues-rock take on “Train of Love”.

However, it is not all about tough blues, Maria Muldaur gives a sensitive and spare version of “Walking the Blues”, just herself and an acoustic guitar.