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Album Review : Memoirs Of An Uprising’ Damon Johnson

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When Damon Johnson and Black Star Riders announced his departure from the band on September the 17th fans were shocked and wondered if they would ever see the popular guitarist / vocalist /songwriter again. Actually add producer and co engineer to the list! Fear not, as Damon will continue playing with his Nashville based band, playing occasional shows with Thin Lizzy (He’s been a member of the band since 2011) and as part of Warwick Johnson (acoustic duo with Ricky Warwick).

Damon started playing in bands during his schooldays and went on to play in successful bands such as Brother Cane, then joining Alice Cooper’s band in 2004. In between tours with Black Star Riders, Damon plays in his Nashville where he has settled with his family. He will be hosting his album launch at The High Watt, Nashville on 8th November.

It’s been a few years since Damon has released any new material. “Release” being the last studio album. A 16 track live album “Birmingham Tonight” was released last year.

“Memoirs Of An Uprising’ is Damon’s third full length solo album and was funded through a successful Pledge Music campaign. The 10 track album is available on vinyl and CD format. First time any of his solo work has been available on vinyl – something he is very proud of. Hand written lyrics, guitar lessons, unique content from home, the studio, and the road were available for loyal fans via the pledge campaign too.

Everything for the new album has been done in house by family and friends “Everything about my solo career is do it yourself” Damon has said on video updates for the new album. Releasing the album using the Pledge Campaign has giving him the capitol to “get the ball rolling”.

The album covers stories and challenges faced in real life situations – it’s written candidly, full of feeling and emotion.

Most of the tracks have been co-written with Jim Troglen (Johnny Blade). Glorious, the final track co-written a Coop member K Kelly. Musicians playing on the album are the two Tony’s, Higbee on guitar and Nagy on bass. Jarred Pope on drums. The same guys are Damon’s band from the Nashville area. The album was produced by Nick Raskulinecz.

First track on the album is “Shivering Shivering ” which features some great guitar riffs . Took a couple of listens before I got it and its one of my favorite tracks on the album .

The funky “Dallas Coulda Been A Beatdown” is next, followed by a slightly “Welcome To The Jungle” sounding “Down On Me”. “We Got A System” could be a single release – it’s got the lot! Even clapping at the end.. “Call It A Trade” is another potential single record – catchy , even Van Halen sounding at times.

A much more personal rock ballad “The Word Keeps Spinning Round” is about , answers, doubters, finding a place in the world . Emotional and haunting.

My personal favourite track is “Making Peace With This Wicked Beast”. A song about sinners – how you just gotta keep cool and keep walking. The album closes with “Glorious” The intro reminds me of The Buzzcocks best known hit – which is not a bad thing! An enjoyable 40 minutes listening, the album is a grower more than getting it first time around. Once you get it you won’t stop playing it.

Certainly an album I will look forward to hearing live.

Catch Damon play his final seven shows in the UK with Black Star Riders later in November through to 3rd of December.

Lynn Lamond

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