News Release 1/6/03
A SINGER'S COLLECTION OF SNAPSHOTS
Cappuccino and novel reading fuel the latest sounds of Johnny J. Blair. Also known as the "Singer at Large," he just released "Snapshots," a collection of acoustic-oriented songs recorded live and in the studio.
The high-spirited singer-songwriter has also been called "The Tasmanian Devil of the coffee house set." Goldmine magazine said, "(Blair) delivers pop music with a conscience, framed by jazz, punk and techno."
"I've always been a fan of 'big production,' but a part of my audience kept asking me to go organic," says Blair. On "Snapshots," he "goes acoustic," drawing from blues ("I'm a Jerk"), old school pop/rock and gospel standards ("Workin' on a Building").
"Snapshots" culls from concerts and sessions tracked in California, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Live cuts include an energetic cover of "Dancing Barefoot" (Patti Smith) and a neo-prophetic, Staples Singers-styled remake of Stephen Stills' "For What it's Worth," performed on slide 12-string guitar.
Novelists are outsourced for Blair's ideas, heard in the Beatle-esque "Unresolved (Graham Greene's Script for Laurel and Hardy)" and "Steinbeck Found the Valley," an instrumental featuring accordion, cellos, piano and trombones. "Desert Ruby" is a semi-autobiographical "Los Angeles allegory," with images from The Bible, Raymond Chandler and T.S. Eliot.
"I'm Too Ugly for CCM, Too Stupid for TBN" is already getting attention as a satire of contemporary Christian media. Blair asks, "If Jesus were around today, would He tolerate this much image over substance?"
Blair is based in Williamsport PA but has lived all over the United States. His movements includes a five year stretch as a bike messenger in San Francisco. These "street experiences" provided material for songs about baptism, bus stops, coffee drinking, hope, love, smiling, racial harmony and religious hypocrisy.
"Snapshots" and Blair's previous recordings, "Fire" and "Exotic Animals & Beaches of Pennsylvania," are offerings from Fire Inside Productions, a musical partnership with Davy Jones (of The Monkees), who appears on Blair's projects. His music has charted around the world.
Blair says, "Here's my job--do music that picks people up and do it with conviction." He has shared the stage with Blessid Union of Souls, Jerry Garcia Band, Buddy & Julie Miller and others. His admirers include surf-guitar hero Dick Dale, Brit-pop legend Cliff Richard and Brian Wilson (Beach Boys), who called Blair "a virtuoso."
VISIT JOHNNY'S HOME PAGE FOR CONCERT LISTINGS AND NEWS (updated monthly).