2015 – Grooveyard Records
By Phillip Smith; Dec 19, 2015
Set the Blues on Fire, Jay Jesse Johnson’s latest album does indeed set the Blues on fire. This album is fully-loaded with a dozen outstanding original blues songs delivered by one of the most bodacious guitar players around. Johnson surrounds himself with great talent as well. Joining him is bassist Reed Bogart, drummer Jeff “Smokey” Donaldson, and keyboardist Lee Evans, making one tight as hell band.
Johnson jump-starts the ride with full force, delivering a magnificent no-holds-barred performance on “Hell or High Water”. I get charged when the title track “Set the Blues on Fire” kicks in. This one is red hot and flawless. “Ace in the Hole” is an intriguing boat load of fun. Donaldson’s killer beats and Bogart’s deliciously funky bassline set a perfect environment for Johnson to let loose and jam. Another head-turning favorite, “Don’t Mess with My Baby” is a badass song doused in Texas blues and infused with funk. I love the rollicking and gritty “Wheelhouse Boogie”. It’s “roadhouse blues” at its best.
Jay Jesse Johnson has surely got it going on. Set the Blues on Fire is the real deal and I highly recommend.