Wednesday, March 3, 1999

Review - Fingertip Ship

Artist: Richard Leo Johnson

Posted on Wed, Mar 3, 1999 at 4:00 AM

The major-label debut from Arkansas 12-string guitarist Richard Leo Johnson takes listeners on an enthralling voyage through folk, blues, rock, funk and jazz. "Glidepath" allies a quick-picked riff with a bright melody, sudden fast strums and chordal sweeps, and "Get Funked" and "Synthetic Blues" take similar tacks.

On "Tony Bennett," Johnson offers guitar textures as rich as the crooner's vocals, while "Jaco Morocco" is informed by the romping playfulness associated with the late jazz-bassist Jaco Pastorius. Johnson employs other appealing elements, including sampled street sounds and dissonance on "Mother's Day," eerie synthlike tones on "Bluefield" and off-the-fretboard plinks on "Empitsu No Uta."

Fingertip Ship is so intriguing that it compels a listener to sign on for wherever Johnson's going.


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