Artist: Oklahoma Johnny Blue
Album: Brand New Eyes
Reviewer: Matheson Kamin
It was back in 2012 that John R Potts released his first CD of Audacity under the moniker of Oklahoma Johnny Blue. Since that time, Oklahoma Johnny Blue has created two more releases to add to his library of original music. Having been just released, the newest release from Oklahoma Johnny Blue is entitled Brand New Eyes.
The new release from Oklahoma Johnny Blue begins with the track “Painted in My Memory”. The song about remembering something so vividly that it sticks forever in your mind features a driving feel to the music with plenty of Blues flavor to it. The track also contains just as much Rock and Roll flavor as Blues. That combination makes for a very strong track and a very strong beginning to Oklahoma Johnny Blue’s newest release.
For the next track of the release, the pace of the music slows down just a little but still contains the same amount of energy. The title track of the release, “Brand New Eyes,” immediately brings to mind something from the band ZZ Top as the playing of the guitars on the track feel very reminiscent to that band’s style. On the track, Oklahoma Johnny Blue sings about living the dream that comes with being a rock star and then becoming awakened to what is actually going on around him… or, having “Brand New Eyes”. The title track of the release comes with the strong message and the music also seems to match that strong feeling.
“Mojo Back Blues” finds Oklahoma Johnny Blue picking up the pace of the music. While “Brand New Eyes” isn’t exactly lacking in energy, “Mojo Back Blues” easily contains more energy than the title track of the release. And with the track ending up being about finding that lost spark once again, having the stronger “Mojo Back Blues” follow “Brand New Eyes” allows the lyrics of “Mojo Back Blues” to stand out even more. One little critique about the track is that the drums contained within the song appear to be stronger than they need to be, slightly covering up the rest of the instrumentation on the track. But overly powerful drums aside, “Mojo Back Blues” has plenty of other elements within the Blues-Rock track to appeal to the listener.
Throughout the songs on the new release from Oklahoma Johnny Blue, he creates songs that contain plenty of Blues feeling…in the music. It is in the lyrics of the songs where the listener may actually want a little more pain or anguish. With the track “Ain’t That a Hell of a Note,” the listener gets his wish. On this track, Oklahoma Johnny Blue teams up with another writer named Tony Lindauer. It is through this collaboration that a true Blues feel comes out in the lyrics. The subject of the song laments how the woman he loves has turned around and left with only a note that contains a simple, yet still painful message about why she’s gone. “Ain’t That a Hell of a Note” ultimately ends up being perhaps the strongest track on the 6-song release.
Brand New Eyes from Oklahoma Johnny Blue comes to an end with the track “Oklahoma Johnny Blue,” an older track with a title that would go on to be used as a nickname by the very man who sings it. The track “Oklahoma Johnny Blue” finds John R. Potts singing an autobiographical track that describes his experiences as a guitarist. That autobiographical track feels like a perfect sign-off for the musician as he brings his newest release to a close.
Each of the tracks on Brand New Eyes lives up to the style that was such a strong part of Oklahoma Johnny Blue’s last CD of No Separation. Since releasing his first CD of Audacity, John R Potts has put his talent, and his nickname of Oklahoma Johnny Blue, to good use. Brand New Eyes proves that Potts is still making good use of both.
Reviewer: Matheson Kamin
Rating: ***** (five stars)
Oklahoma Johnny Blue is a singer-songwriter who seems to have been influenced by the likes of The Black Keys. Like that band, Oklahoma Johnny Blue (whose real name is John Potts) creates a blues/rock mix in his music that features blistering guitar and heavy drumming. That combination seems just fine to go along with Blue’s writing style. Having already co-written songs with other writers, Oklahoma Johnny Blue has since put out an album on his own entitled Audacity. Now, Oklahoma Johnny Blue returns with a new release entitled No Separation.
No Separation from Oklahoma Johnny Blue begins with the track “Hole in the Head”. Having a strong beat and a strong guitar feeling, the track is a great way to kick off the new release. And while the track contains a good amount of energy, it’s the lyrical content of the song that will draw you in. The lyrics of the song are fun to listen to while definitely having a certain amount of sting to them. You can easily consider the track to be the ultimate “Anti-Love Song” as Blue sings “I need you…like a hole in the head”.
Just as Oklahoma Johnny Blue brings the first track to a close, he begins the track of “Satisfied” with the same high energy feel. The track “Satisfied” would be a welcome addition to anyone’s travelling mixtape for those times when you cruise the highway. And as the song and its list of numerous destinations feels very much like a modern-day version of the classic track “Route 66,”you can understand why. The pace and the strength of the music of the song will get the listener to allow the song to take them over and carry them away.
The blues-rock style of Oklahoma Johnny Blue works well for the first two tracks of the No Separation release. However, that style doesn’t seem to fit as perfectly with on the next track. With the song “I Feel Lucky,” the lyrics and Blue’s southern accent more than suggest that the song should really have a Country flavor to it. You can almost imagine the track with fiddles and steel guitar. But with the given style of Oklahoma Johnny Blue’s music, the song feels slightly off. Like the previous tracks, the pace is strong and the music is also. It simply feels as if it should have a lot more “twang” to it.
For the first half of No Separation, Oklahoma Johnny Blue seemed to follow a certain formula to the music of the songs with a style that is reminiscent of the Black Keys. However, on the track “It Works If We Work It,” Blue changes things up a bit. By pumping up the second guitar on the track and adding some bass, Blue creates a track that takes on the style of Stevie Ray Vaughn. While the Black Keys and Stevie Ray Vaughn both have styles that are similar as far as the blues/rock sound is concerned, it’s the heavier blues-influenced feel from Vaughn that comes through on this track.
No Separation from Oklahoma Johnny Blue continues with the title track of the release. “No Separation” brings even more blues feeling to the album while still containing the driving feel of rock and roll. The track could be the singer-songwriter’s political statement on the album. What Blue sings about on the track is how, no matter who you are or where you’re from, we are all the same on the inside. The track is a great way to point out that we are all human.
The newest release from Oklahoma Johnny Blue comes to a close with the track “Lullaby on Main Street”. Like any good songwriter, Blue has the ability to write a song that feels like a vignette as the lyrics speak of a songwriter who made it quite high up the Country chart and now lives off the glory he once knew. While the subject matter may be slightly depressing, the strong beat of the song helps keep the song from feeling sad.
Throughout his newest release, Oklahoma Johnny Blue creates song after song that is upbeat and very energetic. As each song plays out, you get a real sense of the playing ability of the songwriter as well as his ability to write songs that are fun to listen to.
Artist: Oklahoma Johnny Blue
Album: No Separation
Reviewer: Matheson Kamin
Rating: **** (four stars)