Living Blues Magazine has a great review of Rhythmland. Click here to read it.
Slide guitar master Johnson leads us on a breathless tour of the many nooks and crannies in the land of rhythm. His Mississippi Ramblers—Tim Metz on drums, Jonathan Stoyanoff on bass, Craig Long (who also produced the album with Johnson) on keyboards and background vocals—explore all forms of music on Rhythmland from Latin rhythms, folk and blues to roots music and jazz.
Johnson and the Mississippi Ramblers choogle along raucously on Revolution, an anthemic rocker that urgently exclaims the need to stand together as one as we march together in revolution to change the world. The rhythm of the tune matches the titleso well that you pick up your feet in order not to get left behind. Johnson’s take on Son House’s Walkin’ Blues opens with a chicken-picked riff before Johnson launches off on a propulsive dobro riff that moves the song at a frenetic pace, so that it’s almost a “runnin’ blues.” Timbale combines a rhumba beat with harmonic slides, creating a sound that sways and swoons at the same time; the closing measures of the song recall Santana’s early songs. Faith is a soulful ballad in the vein of Ry Cooder and Aaron Neville; a haunting organ underlies Johnson’s vocals and his shimmering slide as the singer defi- antly but quietly proclaims, “You can’t take my faith away from me.” Barrelhouse piano and New Orleans’ jazz rhythms drive us down Fillmore Street; Long’s jumping piano solo on the song’s extended bridge carries us into Johnson’s playful slide work. This jaunty stroll down Fillmore Street echoes the work of Jim Croce and Dr. John. That Way No More carries a country feel, while High Heel Shoes playfully blends jump blues and rock ’n’ roll. High Heel Shoes brightly transports us from the blues of daily life to the joys we can find in the little things in our lives.
Rhythmland is never a dull journey, continually shedding light on the musical strains echoing from hidden rhythmic cor- ners. It’s no mistake that almost every song focuses on movement and the ways we’re transported from one place to another on this walk of musical faith toward a revolution fueled by rhythm.
—Henry L. Carrigan Jr.