"He well deserves the name of master slide guitarist. …he masterfully brings a great technicality and musical feeling. With musicians like Dennis Johnson, the future of the blues and slide guitar is absolutely guaranteed!"
- RootsTime Magazine
You would say Dennis Johnson is one of the hardest working musicians with a deep passion for preserving and innovating roots music. He is one of roots music's best kept secrets.
Dennis realized at a young age music was his calling. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dennis heard the music of Chuck Berry and it struck a chord with him. As a teenager, he taught himself the guitar and discovered his passion for slide guitar. He discovered the music of Robert Johnson, Roy Rogers and Norton Buffalo and was hooked. Dennis recalled “seeing Roy play the first time really blew me away. A huge influence on my music.”
Robert Johnson’s approach to guitar was the blueprint for Dennis’ evolution as a guitarist. Dennis explained “Robert‘s guitar playing sounded like two guitars. It’s a blend of rhythm and slide phrases that sound like two guitarists are playing when it’s really one guitarist. I approach guitar in much the same way.”
The road to becoming a professional musician was paved when Dennis met delta blues legend Honey Boy Edwards. “I was at a personal crossroads in deciding whether to be a musician. Honeyboy said 'if you like to play the blues, play the blues!' The eloquence of that statement was in its simplicity. When I shook Honeyboy's hand I felt an energy there. This was a profound moment in my life. It was fate”
Honeyboy's advice turned out to be a risk that paid off. In 2010, Dennis Johnson released his first album Slide Show to critical acclaim. Slide Show rose to the Top 50 blues CDs worldwide and No. 21 on the California Roots Radio Charts.
In his recent album Slide Avenue, Johnson pushed the boundaries of slide guitar with amazing instrumental conversations between slide guitar and saxophone, fiddle, piano, B3 organ, Wurlitzer organ and more. The album seamlessly blends swing, blues, New Orleans, rock, roots and folk music. The radio charts, reviews, and audience response proved the results were stellar. Slide Avenue rose to the top of the Roots Music Report radio charts: #1 Songs - UK Roots Radio Charts (The Wind is Howlin and Back on my Feet), #6 Song - US Roots Radio Charts (Swingin At The Savoy), #2 Album - UK Roots Radio Charts (5 consecutive weeks).
Dennis has worked with a variety of accomplished musicians including renowned multi-insturmentalist Joe Craven, acclaimed Nashville sax player Sam Levine, acclaimed drummer Tim Metz, and bassist Jonathan Stoyanoff. Collaborating with these musicians, Dennis has developed a unique rhythmic approach to songwriting, producing and performing.
Dennis' deep passion for rhythm forms the basis for his new project, scheduled for release later in 2017. "It is a departure from previous recordings that happened because of a desire to innovate a slide guitar approach with rhythms from around the world."