This one is personal, folks. If not for John, Rainshadow Recording might very well not even exist. When John decided he wanted to make a record, he coaxed me back
This one is personal, folks. If not for John, Rainshadow Recording might very well not even exist. When John decided he wanted to make a record, he coaxed me back into the studio, after a 17 year absence from same. As a result, I co-produced his first two records, Dreams of the Lost Tribe and Revelation Land and it was the most fun I’d had in 17 years.
John is one of the most unique and wonderful songwriters I have ever had the pleasure with whom to work. His lyrics are borne of the wide variety of experiences life has thrown at him… from packing vegetables at the A&P, to working in a paper mill, to dealing blackjack, to teaching Shakespeare as a university English professor. His guitar playing is equally prodigious, displaying a remarkable command of chord theory combined with a hard-picking finger style and driving slide work.
I knew from the very first song, when we began working on “Dreams,” this was going to be something special. The record opens with an Invocation, transitioning into a 6 1/2 minute long epic about the Okeefenokee Swamp. A lush arrangement that includes violin, viola, cello, string bass, pedal steel guitar, clawhammer banjo, accordion, tambourine, all held together by John’s acoustic guitar picking, the images portrayed immediately transport the listener to the hot, sticky climes of South Georgia. From the mouth of the babe himself:
“I grew up on a tributary of the St. Marys River in South Georgia, a few miles east of the Okeefenokee Swamp. My aunt once told me that we were part of the lost tribe of Israel, so I grew up believing that said lost tribe had devolved into a pack of Baptists and bootleggers. In addition to playing lead guitar in a wide range of bands, including an almost all-black soul band (yours truly was the token white boy) called Two Shades of Soul, I’ve packed vegetables for the A&P, worked in my Daddy’s liquor store/gas station, worked in a paper mill, on a horse farm, as a craps and blackjack dealer, as a reader for the Folger Shakespeare Library, as a university English professor, and, finally, as an overpaid member of the IT sector before the big bubble burst. Once I made my way to the safe haven of unemployment, I decided to make a CD.
You will discover that there is a healthy dose of blues in my music. I learned guitar at around age 12 from one of God’s best experiments in improving the species, Enman Cobb, a South Georgia bluesman. The three most important lessons Enman taught me were my first chord (E9), that there isn’t a right or wrong way to play the instrument, and this bit of advice: “Careful, Johnny, you white folks has a ten’acee to work the guitar. But you s’pose to play the guitar. Don’t you be working it.” I owe him much. [My music] contains several E9 chords, some probably “wrong” ways of doing things that I happen to like, and, I sincerely hope, a lot of playfulness.”
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Rainshadow Recordingcentrumrecording@gmail.com Fort Worden