When FIVE HORSE JOHNSON formed back in 1995, referring to themselves as a "blues band," a few brows might well have been furrowed. But this is a band that has always understood that the blues isn't a formula - it's a way of looking at the world. Their take on the "blooze" is as a dirty, sensual thing, enhanced with a healthy dose of humor.
Now some two decades and seven albums into their career - with eighth Jake Leg Boogie, set to drop late this June on Small Stone - FIVE HORSE JOHNSON has dug out a niche of their own, a genuine love and respect for traditional blues and classic rock leading them to likewise become one of the most loved and respected bands in the heavy rock underground. Always a freight train live, they've toured the US (with Clutch and Halfway To Gone) and Europe extensively (including the festival circuit), gathering fans, friends, and drinking partners all over the Western World.
Jake Leg Boogie sees FIVE HORSE JOHNSON going back to its recording roots. Original drummer Tim Gahagan has rejoined, and the results are powerful. Brad Coffin's guitar has never sounded heavier, his voice never stronger. Eric Oblander's harp, meanwhile, is as sharp as a tailfin, and his gravelly vocal delivery a growling, howlin' counterpoint to Coffin's gruff style. Steve Smith's bass is a strong backbone, while Phil Dürr's guitar complements that of Coffin, adding extra edge for good measure. From the slow, bluesy stomp of the title-track, to the dirge vibe of "Daddy Was A Gun" - a story of some weird goings-on in a strange parish - Jake Leg Boogie is pure old-school FIVE HORSE JOHNSON, recorded live, everyone in the same room, with as little overdubbing as possible. Accordingly, it feels lively and loud in the MC5-come-Hendrix vibe of "Hard Times," the hard-rocking "Magic Man" (a tale of depravity set in the town of Springfield, Missouri), and the near-Texan boogie of "Smoke Show."
Elaborates Oblander of the release, "Having original drummer Tim back in the band made writing Jake Leg Boogie so much damn fun. If feels like we're back to Fat Black Pussycat form. This time around we channeled a little more Hendrix and Funkadelic as much as the usual bluesy Aerosmith insanity. All the songs are a bit more stripped down, and have a deep-pocket groove thanks in part to Tim locking it down. Brad had a lot to do with the overall creation of this record. He came up with the concept for the title, and sings more than half the songs this time around. We can't wait to hit the road with thing and flex these new songs live!"
Jake Leg Boogie was recorded at Rustbelt Studios, with longtime producer Al Sutton (Big Chief, Novadriver, Halfway To Gone, Detroit Cobras) at the production helm, with a definitive nod to Dave Cobb (All Them Witches, Rival Sons). Artwork was provided by noted graphic artist and FIVE HORSE JOHNSON -collaborator Mark Dancey, keeping with a tradition established on 1999's Fat Black Pussycat.
Jake Leg Boogie will see release via Small Stone Recordings June 30th on CD, limited LP, and digital formats. For preorders, visit the Small Stone Bandcamp page at THIS LOCATION where you can also sample the opening title track.
Jake Leg Boogie Track Listing:
1. Jake Leg Boogie
2. Magic Man
3. Cryin' Shame
4. Ropes And Chains
5. Hard Times
6. Smoke Show
7. Little Lonely
9. Daddy Was A Gun
10. Last Song
FIVE HORSE JOHNSON is not a band that makes apologies, and compromise is not an option. The truth is, this is hard, heavy, dirty blues rock 'n' roll for people who like the sound of an engine roaring or the feeling obtained by following a cold beer with a shot of good whiskey. FIVE HORSE JOHNSON will gladly kick your ass, and then wait for you to say thank you and ask for another. Which you will.