Phenomenal review for Rhythmland from Jerome Clark of RAMBLES MAGAZINE.
Without particularly sounding like him, Dennis Johnson inevitably calls Ry Cooder to mind, especially the Cooder of the classic 1970s Reprise recordings. Which is to say Johnson, who is based in the Bay Area, is an unusually skilled, innovative electric and acoustic guitarist eloquent in the language of American roots forms: blues, folk, jazz and gospel.
... Johnson's approach is to focus on one style but to let the influences of others shade his arrangements. He does this with an impressive three-piece band that supports and elevates his musical vision which, for all its various sources, is very much of a piece. In fact, when I first heard Rhythmland, I thought, "What a fine blues album." That is likely to be your thought on initial, passing exposure. With each subsequent listening, though, I was taken aback to hear other sounds, too, different from cut to cut. You can definitely say that Johnson's songs don't all feel the same.
Besides their variety, they're well crafted and melodic, with capably crafted lyrics on a range of subjects. If you can make a love song interesting -- not many can -- "Valley of Love," undergirded by Johnson's masterly slide, is certainly that. ...
As I've remarked on occasion, among the many pleasures of being a music writer is the opportunity one gets to hear exceptional performers of whom otherwise would not have heard. Johnson, who is one of those, ought to be better known, and I hope that Rhythmland delivers his name throughout the land.