JS Blues – The Purple Album
10 songs time – 42:02
The JS Blues Band is the brainchild of Johnny Searfoss, who handles everything except drums and the occasional assist on keyboards. They are based out of the north eastern region of Pennsylvania near the cities of Wilkes-Barre and Scranton He tackles the vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, songwriting and arranging. He is backed by Chris Condel on drums and Harry Sipler on keyboards. The real gem here is his astounding grasp of guitar technique and tone. I’m sorry to say his vocals not so much. His voice is better suited for pop music. It is too smooth and is a stark contrast to the driving and imaginative guitar skills he brings to this project. I feel bad in saying this because I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket if I had help carrying it. I would have preferred this as an instrumental album. The depth and tone of his guitar playing is simply amazing.
For my money the track that the vocal fits the music perfectly is “Fox In The Hen House”. The riff and vocal fit hand-in-glove. The dramatically tone guitar on “Crying(Reprise)” in my estimation is all the song needs. Take away the vocal and you have a gut-wrenching guitar tour-de-force. The vocal does tend to grow on you, but the guitar alone is a thing of beauty. Johnny introduces countrified guitar picking to “Best Friends” to good effect, even some chicken pickin’. “I Was Born To Sing The Blues” is about the blues without being a blues song.
A pleasingly melancholy vocal leads up to a breath taking guitar soloing in “Tell Me Why”. On “TV Preacher” his stellar guitar outshines the vocal. The curiously clever instrumental “Sneaky Pete” is sure to get to your musical sensibility as much as it did to mine. Truly a nifty little ditty. “Quiet Moment” is just that. It closes out the CD on a wistful and dreamy note.
Some of the singing and song writing tends to be a bit uneven, but this guy surely knows his way around a guitar. I would love to see what he could do with an entire record of guitar instrumentals. His knack for diversity in his attack, tone and style on the strings is a gift.