New Blues/Roots: Johnny Nicholas – ‘Fresh Air’

Johnny Nicholas – Fresh Air

What an aptly named album. From it’s opening harmonica pushes and pulls, Johnny Nicholas’ latest, Fresh Air, is a breath of soul-sustaining sound.

Fresh Air is a collection of 13 tracks; eleven originals and two covers. With the variety of styles offered, it easily seems like two dozen sublime songs. Whether rockin’, stompin’, wheezin’, confessin’, convincin’ or lullabyin’, these songs use as many emotional approaches as there are reasons to share the blues. Austin-based Nicholas, a consummate musician (on this album he is featured on vocals, piano, harmonica and guitar) and a master storyteller, excels in every style. What’s more—the many parts fit nicely together, creating an inviting map of the blues, with Nicholas as guide.

Even though he has been making music for awhile (with some of the best blues players around, including Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Bonnie Raitt, Clapton, Delbert McClinton, Willie Nelson, and Merle Haggard), he is still finding new ways to reach audiences who want to boogie. He is a legend in the making and this album is many breaths of fresh air put to damn good use.

Essential Downloads: “Moonlight Train,” “Sweet Katrina,” “Roll On Mississippi,” “Wake Up, Bobby.”

To purchase this album, visit Johnny Nicholas’ website (click here).

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