Chuck Johnson - A Struggle Not A Thought
The latest in a growing line of solo guitarists putting out great work, "A Struggle Not a Thought" is the latest from Chuck Johnson, whose songs hang on his ringing, clear tone. This finger-picking gem is Johnson's official debut after having been on some pretty hefty and already legendary compilations (got "Beyond Berkeley Guitar" yet?). There will be more to be sure.
From the light and semi-classical "Dissevered" to the somber, elegiac "The Flying Spire Don't Have no Mercy," Johnson's style is restrained but lyrical. Even when more or less minimal, as on the insistent "Swallow The Sun," his ability to create various colors from his fingerpicking is impressive.
The highlights, though, are "Caldera Wires," which is ringing and epic, pausing to let itself echo, a short rest before the next huge poetic expression, and "Ochre Rubric," a memorable song that is poetic and reflective, at once wistful and daring, a rolling mini-epic with-great feel of memory and summation. These two tracks cover the range of Johnson's vision, and it is broad and stunning.
"A Struggle Not a Thought" effortlessly delivers a warm confident tone and songs that speak deeper than words could express. Chuck Johnson may get lost in the glut of great guitar music out there now, but I think he'll more than hold his own. He'll surely be found.
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