“There are harmonica players and then there is Scott Albert Johnson… One of the best harp players in the world.” Cashbox Music Reviews
in St. Louis and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, Scott Albert Johnson
was bathed in the wide range of the American songbook, as well as the
sounds of his 1970’s and 80’s childhood. The soul and spirit of that
diversity is at the core of his new album, Going Somewhere. Johnson
incorporates elements of rock, jazz, blues, funk, country, and world
music, mixed with thoughtful lyrics, strong vocals, and virtuosic
harmonica playing, to create a unique, modern concoction of sound.
influenced by almost every kind of music that I’ve ever heard,” says
Johnson. “Growing up in the heart of the South, obviously blues has had a
big impact on me. It’s also the heart and soul of virtually every type
of modern music. But I also grew up a big fan of artists like Peter
Gabriel, the Police, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison,
Bruce Hornsby, Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong, Daniel Lanois, John
Scofield, and Rush, just to name a few. So I draw on all of that, and I
try to write lyrics and music that have an emotional as well as
intellectual impact. Then I throw in some harmonica for good measure.”
has become a true harmonica master, utilizing a unique and difficult
technique known as “overblow,” which allows the diatonic harmonica to be
played as a fully chromatic instrument. He is one of a small group of
players who can do this. He also utilizes digital effects to expand the
sonic palette of the instrument, and he counts such harmonica masters as
Toots Thielemans, John Popper, Howard Levy, Stevie Wonder, and the late
Chris Michalek as major influences. Yet Johnson sees the harmonica as
just one piece of what he does musically.
always felt most influenced by artists who are kind of what I would
call triple-threats,” says Johnson. “They sing well, they play at least
one instrument very well, and they write great songs. I take each of
these three parts of the equation as seriously scott albert johnson as
any other part. I also feel most in-tune with artists who kind of are
‘their own genre,’ borrowing from many different kinds of music.
I hope my music reflects that."
He likes most the 1847 SILVER harmonicas which he uses now exclusively for
his live performances!