Long Live Them Blues
Connor Ray Music
Bassist Terry Dry and drummer Matt Johnson are currently the rhythm section in the Mike Zito Band. Zito states “I met Matthew Robert Johnson and Terry Dry in St. Louis around 2002 when I opened a show for Hadden Sayers, I still remember thinking they sounded really good and had a big sound. Matt and Terry share a love for the American art form. The blues brought them together and has given them a musical purpose to work toward. Matthew’s drumming is strong and immense; while Terry’s bass playing is solid and straight forward. Together they make a sound that is large and tight, round and moving. Always musical and consistent, they work together to form a foundation that any guitarist, vocalist or band can make great music with.” The powerhouse rhythm section has been with Zito for two years now.
Dry and Johnson first met in 1998 and have been playing together, off and on, for twenty years. Over the years they have backed many musicians. Johnson says “Terry and I originally thought up the idea after a gig with Mike Zito…we discussed the idea of doing a project as a rhythm section, with all the artists that we have either worked with…or would like to work with…” They started playing together in Houston so it’s only proper that this be recorded there. Seven of the tracks were recorded at Rock Romano’s Red Shack Studio in Houston, while two tracks were recorded 93 miles away at Zito’s Marz Studios in Nederland, Texas. The album is co-produced by Dry Johnson and Romano.
The album opens with a recording on a phone answering machine. Nine of the ten songs were written by Dry; however the first song “Daddy’s Got A Cadillac” was co-written by him with Jamie Dry. The song was first recorded by Executive Producer Steve Krase on his highly successful 2014 album “Buckle Up”. Zito guests on guitar and vocal in a duet with Houston favorite Annika Chambers. This is a fabulous new arrangement that should be played on every blues radio station, it’s that good.
Another Houston native, labelmate Trudy Lynn, guests on the title track “Long Live Them Blues”. She is joined by Krase on harp, and the Mighty Orq on guitar. As a rhythm section Dry Johnson is rarely equaled. The Mighty Orq appears again on guitar on three more songs and takes his own vocal on “Too Many Hipsters” featuring Kevin “Snit” Fitzpatrick ranting in the background. Snit gets a chance to sing on “Drunk Girl With A Tambourine”.
The only cover is Johnny Guitar Watson’s “Hit The Highway”, a.k.a. “I’m Gonna Hit That Highway”, it was first recorded in 1985; John Del Toro Richardson guests on guitar and vocal, and it’s another fabulous performance. “I Walk Alone” features James Wilhite, on guitar with a commanding vocal.
Dry gets to sing on both “Juke Joint” and “Trashy Women and Cheap Guitars”. On the former Orq and Wilhite are the guitarists; on the later Dry is rejoined by guitarist Zito, but its Johnson’s infectious beats that really impress. Zito is superb again on the instrumental “Fried Chicken” as someone shouts out the menu entree. On the closer “Little Bird”, Dry is impressive as he sings and plays an acoustic guitar.
Not only is Dry Johnson a great rhythm section but they, along with Romano, are also great producers. This album is being called “Long Live Them Blues Vol. #1”. Hopefully there will be much more to hear from Dry Johnson.