(by Sam McDonald for the Daily Press, Friday, August 17, 2007)
"Another notable local release comes from rocker Annie Johnson, a Newport News native who has been making original music independently for years.
"Black and Blue" is her best work yet, an artful, accomplished recording that delivers snarling hard rock (the title tune), right along with delicate, moody acoustic songs such as "Beer and Cigarettes" and "Summer."
A bit of world music crops up, too, on tunes including the instrumental "Anoushka."
"I've spent a lot of time listening to music from India, Spain, Russia, and Egypt," Johnson wrote. "I've also gotten to see Anoushka Shankar perform live twice and was so moved by her music that I titled a song for her."
The CD features some of Johnson's best lyrics. She's found a way to convey deep emotion with a few graceful strokes. "Let It Go" and "Damned If I Do" are effective because they say so much with so little.
It's great to hear Johnson continue her artistic growth."
Black and Blue was recorded by Costy L, who is also a recording artist and has CDs of his own available here at CD Baby. Mixing, mastering, and additional recording was done by Skip DeRupa, who recorded Annie's previous CD Here We Are.
The CD has earned Annie two Portfolio Weekly music awards: Best Pop/Rock and Album of the Year.
Annie has released three other CDs. The first CD, Letters From L.A., was co-produced & engineered by Stacy Heydon, who has toured as the lead guitarist for David Bowie and Iggy Pop. The 2nd CD, Sybil, features two of the Annie's most requested songs: Into the Pain and Skinny Girl. The third CD is Here We Here, co-produced and engineered by Skip DeRupa and features another of Annie's most requested songs: Anything Goes.
Letters From L.A., Sybil, and Here We Are all feature Terry Burrell on electric and acoustic upright bass. Burrell has toured with Chuck Mangione, Steve Coleman and the Five Elements, and Hilton Ruiz and has been a member of the Jae Sinnett Trio since 1995.
Here We Are and Annie's latest CD Black and Blue feature southeast Virginia's most in-demand drummer Powell Randolph. Randolph has performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic, The Virginia Symphony, the Virginia Opera, the Jacksonville Symphony, the San Diego Symphony, and the Long Isand Phiharmonic. His current projects include touring with Randy Jackson And THE MUSIC OF LED ZEPPELIN, PINK FLOYD, THE DOORS, THE EAGLES, and QUEEN with Orchestras all around the country and Canada.
Here We Are and Black and Blue also feature guitarist Steve Stephens, who has done session work for Dreamworks Records, Atlantic Records, Dave Hollister, and many others. He's shared billings with, Kansas, Confederate Railroad, Rick Derringer just to name a few.