John Knutson | Shake the Blues

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Blues: Jazzy Blues Folk: String Band Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Shake the Blues

by John Knutson

Featuring David Grisman mandolins, Bill Fouty acoustic bass. Three guys, on an acoustic journey through the soundscape of blues, jazz, and Americana. Thirteen of John original lyric songs played on six of his hand crafted Knutson Luthiery instruments.
Genre: Blues: Jazzy Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Lovesick Serenade
2:15 $0.99
2. Lowdown Money Blues
4:42 $0.99
3. Shake the Blues
3:23 $0.99
4. Way Further Down That Road
3:46 $0.99
5. Sugar and Spice
4:08 $0.99
6. My Dog Jake
4:23 $0.99
7. Or so It Seems
2:50 $0.99
8. Mando Boogie Stomp
2:26 $0.99
9. Let's Compromise
3:22 $0.99
10. Talkin' Lovesick Serenade
2:30 $0.99
11. Slowpoke Shuffle
4:04 $0.99
12. Some Things You Can't Change
4:03 $0.99
13. Borrowed Appalachian Blues
3:47 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
SHAKE THE BLUES: the songs, artistry, and luthiercraft of John Allen Knutson
Artist notes:
Herein is a collection of thirteen of John’s original compositions spanning the last forty-five years, and played primarily on six of his Knutson Luthiery hand crafted guitars and mandolins. Beside playing his stringed instruments, John is also singing and playing harmonica on a rack.
In listening to this CD please keep in mind that this is essentially a live studio recording of an acoustic trio, (with some added background vocals). This music was recorded in two six hour sessions, unrehearsed, unplugged, and raw. Three guys, on a journey through the landscape of acoustic blues, jazz, and Americana.

Instruments played in these recording sessions:
John Knutson - vocals and racked harmonicas (Lee Oskar harps)
2001 Knutson Luthiery Nightlife archtop guitar
1979 Knutson Luthiery Songbird flattop guitar
2013 Knutson Luthiery wooden tricone resophonic guitar
2012 Knutson Luthiery Songbird archtop mandolin
2002 Knutson Luthiery Messenger upright electric bass
1920’s Gibson trapdoor banjo

David Grisman - 1922 Gibson Lloyd Loar F-5 mandolin aka “Crusher”
2013 Knutson Luthiery Songbird archtop mandolin
1927 Vega Style K 4-string "Tango Banjo" banjolin

Bill Fouty 1920 Pfretschner bass, German

All words and music written by John Allen Knutson

JOHN ALLEN "JACK" KNUTSON, was born in Fort Knox Kentucky in 1951, and raised in Virginia. Being just old enough to remember the birth of rock’n roll in the late fifties, and just young enough to have caught the tail end of the big band era in the late sixties, he was witness to two overlapping worlds of American music, culture, and mythos. On account of that, he spent most of his adolescence years driftin’ from genre to genre.
Had it not been for the timely 1969 Woodstock Music and Arts Festival and his love of music and guitars, he might never have realized his true passions, nor managed to fuse them into any reasonable means of support or livelihood. As it were, he founded Knutson Luthiery in 1981 and has been a full time guitar builder and part time professional musician ever since, writing songs and playing his own hand crafted instruments in live performance and recordings. In pursuit of his craft he has single-handedly built over 350 of his custom designed instruments for discerning players around the world, and continues to produce fine instruments out of his Forestville California shop.
John defines his experience of seeing the Duke Ellington and Count Basie Orchestras, Big Joe Turner, B.B. King, and innumerable other blues, folk, and jazz roots players in the late sixties as his most important musical reference point, and he has lived on a steady diet of tritones ever since. This notwithstanding, he freely admits he’s not living in the past, and can readily appreciate pretty much anyone who can carry a tune, and honestly manifest inspiration, or spirit into their music, and an audience, which is what this is really all about anyway.

DAVID GRISMAN followed roots music from New Jersey to the Southeast, playing with The Even Dozen Jug Band, Red Allen and the Kentuckians and others.  A disciple of folklorist Ralph Rinzler, David contributed to the vibrant Greenwich Village folk scene and later moved to the Bay Area, recording American Beauty with the Grateful Dead and forming Old & in the Way with Jerry Garcia. Grisman attracted brilliant musicians, and the 1976 formation of the David Grisman Quintet revolutionized acoustic string music.  He has played with many of his heroes, from Stephane Grappelli and Svend Asmussen to Jethro Burns, Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs, and his friendship with Jerry Garcia produced a cherished legacy of recordings. Today he tours regularly with his Sextet, Bluegrass Experience Band and FolkJazz Trio. David's fifty years of playing, composing, and producing attest to his indomitable creative spirit.
BILL FOUTY was born in Burbank California in 1950. In his early years, he studied the double bass with the legendary Nat Gangursky, and performed with various small chamber groups and orchestras throughout Los Angeles County. Also, while in Southern California, he graduated from the Dick Grove School of Music where he studied theory and composition as well as improvisation and ensemble playing. Since relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1978, Bill has worked with jazz duo, trio and larger group formats with many fine bay area musicians, including The Susan Comstock Swingtet, guitarist Carl Vast, Susan Sutton Trio, and pianist Terry Henry.



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Amazing record!
John is not only the singer/songwriter/guitarist for this record, he also built many of the instruments that are played on this record. His original compositions are 45 years in the making, and are sonic reflections of a man who has lived a life of social activism. While the songs are rooted in swing jazz and blues, these arrangements are a fresh take on a well worn genre. The down and dirtly, sophisticated melodic blues mandolin of David Grisman really adds to the expressive feel of each song, and provides a strong melodic counterpoint to the inventive and intelligent guitar stylings of John Knutson playing. Recorded in 2 live sessions as an acoustic trio, you can hear the spontaneity and intimacy of the recording process. There are moments through out the record when it feels like a particular instrument bursts from the speakers and into your living room. The mix makes you feel like you are right there in the studio with the band listening to them. Also of note are the social conscious lyrics. Walking the line between poetic, autobiographical, or fiercely candid, their honesty strikes a chord. 'Shake the Blues' a life statement, where the music you listen to has been literally crafted in every conceivable facet by the artist.


Sonic Delight
“Shake the Blues” is a brilliantly sonic musical delight from start to finish. John Knutson wrote all the songs and lyrics and plays guitar on his own hand-built instruments. Even Grisman plays one of John’s mandolins and Fouty plays one of John’s upright electric basses. As if that weren’t enough John also plays amazing harmonicas and sings while playing his buttery-sounding guitars.
The music on “Shake the Blues" spans several decades of Americana. A few of the songs harken to a time gone by reminiscent of juke joint music and southern soulful blues. John’s archtop guitars are seamlessly integrated into the music and find a perfect sonic home here. I especially love the songs written during the 60's as they are perfect reflections of those times in musical form.
The lyrics and songwriting on “Shake the Blues” are superb no matter what the genre and time period. The audio quality and mix is excellent with reverence and space given towards hearing every note. And why not? Because playing on the CD are an expert trio of musicians. John invited his long-time friend and mandolinist David Grisman to spend a couple of day with him in the studio to record live. Over the years Dave’s mandolins have been repaired by John. Rounding out this amazing musical trio is Bill Fouty one of the tastiest bass players around.
I highly and heartily recommend John Knutson‘s CD “Shake the Blues”. It is a completely enjoyable listen.