Johnson, Richard Leo and Gregg Bendian - Who Knew Charlie Shoe?
Richard Leo Johnson's style on the acoustic guitar is marked by emotional depth, complexity and hauntingly unfamiliar harmonies. Percussionist Gregg Bendian is the leader of The Mahavishnu Project and Interzone. Richard and Gregg have toured together in the past, opening for King Crimson, among others, but this is their first recording together.
This record is an extension of the music and story of Vernon McAlister and his music's influence on the people he encountered, which started on Richard's last record, The Legend of Vernon McAlister. As on that album, Richard has taken on a character's role in order to 'get inside' of the music. Charlie is a self-taught guitarist from Marked Tree, Arkansas who has developed his own way of playing the guitar, after a chance encounter with Vernon. "Junk Fish" was a successful drummer in the 1970s, but was eventually a casuality of the rock and roll lifestyle. He sold his drums, moved to Marked Tree and works in the salvage yard where he and Charlie met.
Richard and Gregg work with "junk" percussion, cheap guitars purchased off eBay, field recordings and simple tape effects to make a kaleidoscopic, down-home, psychedelic experience.
In a few spots, Gregg's non-standared percussion instruments are reminscent of the Harry Partch instruments, and the music resembles what a meeting of Harry Partch and John Fahey might have been!
"...an arsenal of unusual playing and production techniques...filled with strong melodies..."-All About Jazz
"You can hear jazz, blues, folk and classical at times, but the lasting impression is how meaningful and heartfelt every note sounds; this is endless invention in the service of a private yet compelling beauty."-JazzTimes