Jeremiah Johnson – Unemployed Highly Annoyed | Album Review

Jeremiah Johnson – Unemployed Highly Annoyed

Ruf Records

8 songs time – 41:16

Blues rocker Jeremiah Johnson continues his streak of finely crafted recordings with his latest that reflects the current difficulties caused by Covid-19, while not coming off as a “Debbie Downer”. All his guitar, singing and songwriting skills are still in evidence. His strong vocal presence suits this music just fine. I had the pleasure of reviewing his ‘Straitjacket’ CD. His previous CD to the current one flew under my radar, but from what have read it is another winner. This time out he is just backed by Paul Niehaus IV on bass and keyboards and Tony Antonelli on drums, achieving a full sound from only three musicians. Paul also handled the clean and crisp production found here. One cover and all others penned by Jeremiah.

The Southern rock influence ala the guitar sound of Duane Allman and Dickie Betts is obvious on “Burn Down The Garden” and “Daddy’s Going Out Tonight”. Both tunes sport catchy upbeat riffing courtesy of Jeremiah’s red hot guitar styling’s. The atmospheric “Muddy Black Water” attains its’ substance from wah-wah guitar played over electric piano, as well as a effective set of lyrics. Jeremiah unleashes a take no prisoners guitar assault on the sole cover, Luther Allison’s “Cherry Red Wine”.

The title track is a commentary on the travails of the current Covid-19 crisis. It comments on the lockdowns and lack of human closeness while trying to strike a positive outlook. The biting guitar on the slow and deliberate “Different Plan For Me” cuts like a knife while he laments more on our current situation as it relates to the lack of work and the loss of life. It’s clear to see that an arrangement was worked out for guitar parts, it not just a “Let ‘er fly” situation.

The tender and melancholy “Love And Sympathy” speaks to personal relations during the pandemic. Chuck Berry-ish guitar prevails on the boisterous “Rock N Roll For The Soul” along with high energy organ as Jeremiah longs for a return to live music. It’s a fitting send off to a well crafted blues rock extravaganza.

By gosh, Jeremiah and his power trio have done it again. While expounding on the dire situation they offer a beacon of hope through their musical diversity. Dang these guys can sure play. You can’t get out to a concert but this is a close second. Crank this puppy up!

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