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Music Review: Johnny A – One November Night

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Johnny A has made his mark among the intimate clubs of the world. He’s not a stadium type of artist; he’s too up close and personal for such an anonymous skeleton. But his middle initial should be ‘V’ for virtuoso. He’s that good.

There are no vocals in a typical Johnny A performance, yet he makes his guitar voice enough words to fill the shelves of the Library of Congress. Watching him coax those words out of his guitar will have you smiling within the first minute of his performance, and will keep you smiling throughout the entire show, along with some sublime head-nodding and toe- and finger-tapping. A listener can’t sit still. You’re too lost in the moment.

One November Night is a CD/DVD package which was recorded live at Scullers Jazz Club in Johnny’s hometown of Boston. The trio were tired from touring, and Johnny wasn’t in the best frame of mind due to his daughter’s car wreck. Yet, he says, “Everyone and everything in the room came together to make it an extremely special experience.”

If you’re a Johnny A fan, you will have heard many of these selections previously, since they’ve been on previous CD releases. However, you will also hear and see, since this a CD/DVD package, several previously unreleased selections, such as The Beatles’ “The Night Before,” Chuck Berry’s “Memphis." There are also a couple of oldies: The Left Banke’s “Walk Away Renée,” and Glenn Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman.” These four are the only covers on either disc, with the remaining selections Johnny A originals.

The CD tops out at 13 selections and a whopping 70:21, with four of these selections not on the accompanying DVD: “The Wind Cries Mary,” “The Night Before,” “Wichita Lineman” and “Memphis, Tennessee.” Likewise, the final selection on the DVD, “Walk Away Renée” is not on the CD, but Mother Nature is showing off a gorgeous sunset as a backdrop for it.

Not only has Gibson produced a Johnny A Signature Model, but for a man who’s never had a guitar lesson. That’s saying something.

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About Lou Novacheck