Sam Johnson's first release is titled Rhythm'n'Roll, emphasizing the CD's musical romp across various styles of R&B and rock. Imagine Outkast's Andre 3000, R. Kelly, Charlie Pride and Lenny Kravitz all on one CD, and you might approach Rhythm'n'Roll. Unafraid to take risks, Sam creates innovative combinations of urban, rock and even country styles.
Sam decribes himself as an urban, rock and a little country artist. In the age of mp3s, where people mix all kinds of music, this CD has songs for almost any mood you're in. It's the first CD made for the mp3 enthusiast. The CD opens with "Just Before I Fell In Love", a smooth R&B song that addresses the dilemma of choosing between love or musical fame.
Continuing in the R&B vein, the "Rhythm" in the Rhythm'n'Roll title we hear is "Have To Love You", a pop hip-hop song, perhaps indicating that the singer's choice is love. The tempo slows down for the adult comtemporary "So Far From Heaven", which has the lovers parting before ultimately reconciling. Picking up the pace again is the extended dance mix, a horn-laced, world music flavored "Vitamin U," which contains the CD's most effective hook, "I need some Vitamin U...Ah yeah!"
To the party is added "Get The Funk Out of D.C.", more dance music with funk and techno elements and a vocal that's halfway between singing and rap. Next is "The Suburbs," a full-fledged rap where Sam represents his rural roots by rapping "I'm not from the hood, I'm from the woods," and incorporates slide guitar and fiddle over a hip-hop beat ala Bubba Sparxxx' recent Timbaland collaboration. It's a short step into full-blown new country with "Happy Being Bored," emulating Trace Adkins or Kenny Chesney.
Just when you think a rousing hoe-down is coming, the rock'n'roll portion of Rhythm'n'Roll begins. "Moving Sidewalk" is Police meets U2 in a song with the message "if you stand still, you're moving anyway" because life is like a moving sidewalk, so intone the heavily effected lead and harmony vocals.
"Little Pink Book" is a cynical look at love, with the male revelling about being in his woman's little pink book while invoking a modern rockabilly sound reminiscent of Brian Setzer's Stray Cats. A trip to island revery reveals "The Only Way," a reggae-inflected, rollicking tune reiterating the uncertainty of love. Next, a stab at modern, alternative rock with a earth song - like message yields "As Far As the Eye Can See."
The CD ends with "Crunk Funk (Aw, Girl)" an ambitious attempt at combining L'il Jon's dirty South crunk sound with D.C's homegrown go-go flavorings, and street slang that even pays musical homage to Duke Ellington. Whew!
Vocally, Sam reminds one of David Byrne (Talking Heads) in his melodic sense and playful quirkiness. There is satire ("I'm in her little pink book..."), heartfelt love ("Just Before I Fell In Love", "Have to Love You", "Vitamin U") and lots of humor ("get the funk out of D.C., and into your part of the country") in the lyrics.
What's amazing is two people produced most of the music on the CD. All songs except one are written by Sam Johnson, who sings them all. John Krauss is an accomplished guitartist, taking us through all of the genres with aplomb. All songs are arranged and performed with John Krauss, co-producer, co-mixer, and engineer. Because of this duo there is consistency in the inconsistency from genre to genre. Add the horns by Sergey Yershov on "Vitamin U," and acoustic guitar by writer Peter Doyle on "The Only Way" and co-writer of "As Far As The Eye Can See," and you've met all of the players.
Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright © Tag It 2005 - Republished with Permission