John Campbelljohn, Artist of the Week
Runs Feb. 29-Mar. 4th.
Many artists have their specialties – some cut great records but need support to realize their studio sounds in a live setting while others are born performers who never quite translate to records as well as they do live. Rarely do you find an artist who excels at both. John Campbelljohn does. In each of his many forms.
Born 1955 in Sydney, Canadian singer/slide guitarist/songwriter John Campbelljohn is a multiple award winner.
In his solo, acoustic blues performances he makes the most of the song. Campbelljohn soulfully commands the stage with rich vocals, while his powerfully prolific technique on guitar or trusty dobro lap steel further embellishes each composition.
His blues touch on rock, reggae and roots with a few overtones of pure country – these are John Campbelljohn’s stock and trade. He’s also added the wondrous sounds of the pedal steel to his live band shows to haunting effect. The overall quality of the musicianship, the energy of his delivery and the guaranteed good times that spring from the band’s performances are proof of the pudding.
Acoustically, John combines the influences of such diverse players as Fred McDowell, Ry Cooder and John Hammond while his electric shows earmark everyone from Sonny Landreth to Johnny Winter, Clapton to Duane Allman. A simple listen to any of his six CD releases tell the tale that John Campbelljohn – solo or otherwise – is a born performer and a credit to his accomplishments: Blues Artist of the Year, Guitarist of the Year, Slide Guitarist of the Year.
His is a sophisticated, well-informed and progressive definition of the blues and his distinctive edge has been applauded from Sydney to Stuttgart.
During his career John has been featured on recordings and live shows that include names like Sting, Joni Mitchell, Emmy Lou Harris, Leonard Cohen, Joe Ely, Willie Nelson, Robben Ford & Alvin Lee (Ten Years After) as well as TV productions by Sony Music Entertainment. Rich vocals and distinctive prowess on the slide guitar has made him a favourite at music festivals in eastern Canada & Europe.
As many a mainlander will tell you, if you want to make a success of yourself, you have to do it away. Unless, of course, you’re a Caper and your heart and soul are inextricably tied to the land for reasons that no outlander could ever comprehend. Despite the fact that Cape Breton is a hotbed of traditional Celtic music with its high energy fiddle-playing and step-dancing, John Campbelljohn focused his energies in other directions. Learning his first guitar chords at age 14 from his steel-working Dad, Chas, it was hearing the first strains of Duane Allman’s “Statesboro Blues” at a high school dance that set him on a course from which there was no return. Learning slide guitar became Campbelljohn’s sole obsession.
John released his debut in ’93 and, as his originality begged immediate attention, with accolades pouring in across the next six releases: Blues Artist of the Year, Guitarist of the Year, Slide Guitarist of the Year.
John is both thrilled and humbled to be added to the Jim Dunlop Artist page along side such greats as ZZ Top, Buddy Guy, Eddie Van Halen, Mick Taylor of The Rolling Stones & Ricky Skaggs, just to name a few.
John’s sophisticated and progressive approach to song writing gives him a distinctive edge, mixing rock, blues, reggae, celtic & country into his signature style. The result is a sound that can pummel the audience into submission one moment, while captivating them with its subtlety the next.
John Campbelljohn: front man; sideman; consummate showman; proud Cape Bretoner; Canadian bluesman. He’s redefined success at home and away.