Scott Albert Johnson | Umbrella Man

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United States - Mississippi

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Rock: Jam-band Rock: Roots Rock Moods: Solo Male Artist
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Umbrella Man

by Scott Albert Johnson

Where great, classic songwriting meets dazzling instrumental jam-band virtuosity
Genre: Rock: Jam-band
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Spaceship
3:30 $0.99
2. Turn Out Fine
3:27 $0.99
3. In the Court of King Oliver
4:33 $0.99
4. What About Your Man
4:41 $0.99
5. Hollywood
4:08 $0.99
6. Magnolia Road
4:25 $0.99
7. The Yuppie Husband's Lament
3:00 $0.99
8. Walkabout
3:30 $0.99
9. Umbrella Man
4:55 $0.99
10. The Best of Me
3:33 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"Umbrella Man leaves no stone unturned. Scott Albert Johnson's debut mixes blues, rock, folk and jazz, unified by first-rate harmonica playing." (Maureen Palli, Relix )

"Scott Albert Johnson is a harmonica player of the highest class, and a fine and versatile singer and songwriter as well. He has been blessed with a beautiful, clear and unique voice, and his harp playing varies between steaming blues solos, Toots Thielemans-like jazzy stuff, and more subtle playing. His style intermingles pop, jazz and roots music and, of course, blues influences." (Rootstime [Belgium])

"Scott Albert Johnson's unique sound is irresistible and virtuosic in its breadth. Umbrella Man is a work of rare beauty and innovation. Rich, bluesy, and played with a heartfelt passion for the musical craft, his songs come as a refreshing challenge to a scene stifled by genre." (Tuesday Magazine)

"Scott Albert Johnson is a virtuoso harmonica player. But he's also an accomplished singer and songwriter, as his debut CD Umbrella Man undeniably proves... Johnson's musical versatility is on prominent display on Umbrella Man, a disc that mixes blues, rock, folk and jazz into a varied and eclectic stew."
(Carey Miller, [Jackson, MS] Clarion-Ledger)

"On Umbrella Man , Scott Albert Johnson displays the confidence of a seasoned musician. With never a dull moment, the album takes the listener on a ride. It has taken Johnson three years to bring Umbrella Man to fruition. It has definitely been worth the wait."
(Andi Agnew, Jackson Free Press)

"Umbrella Man is a frighteningly solid Southern rock jam. Scott Albert Johnson's harp and mojo are strong medicine."
(Herman Snell, music editor, Jackson Free Press)

"Umbrella Man is a moving, class act. Every track will grab you and take you on a rockin', moving, headbobbing, toetapping, harmonic journey."
(Victor Jones, Georgia Improper)

Songwriter, singer, and harmonica player Scott Albert Johnson has lived a nomadic life. Born in St. Louis and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, it was his thirst for knowledge and inspiration that eventually had him living in more zipcodes in just a few years than most of us do in a lifetime. In cities on both coasts (and some in between), Johnson immersed himself in the local culture before realizing that he'd ultimately find the most success -- both musically and personally -- by returning home.

Johnson left that home at age 18 to attend college at Harvard, where he kicked field goals for the football team (he still ranks highly on the school's career kick-scoring list). He worked in politics briefly after graduation, then studied journalism at Columbia University. A few more years in various new media and nonprofit jobs followed, but music kept calling him home in more ways than one.

"My decision to move back to Mississippi -- and I have always considered it to be home, even though I lived away for many years -- was affected by family, musical, and other personal considerations," he says. "It was the best decision I've ever made. I wouldn't trade my experiences living all around the USA for anything, and I still really like all of those places I lived, but it feels right being here. I'm blessed with a wonderful wife, a beautiful 20-month-old boy, another baby boy on the way, and a tremendous extended family and group of friends and collaborators. Plus, music seems just to live in the air down here."

It was while performing with artists he admired -- including Dorothy Moore, Bloodkin, Jerry Joseph and R.E.M.'s Mike Mills among many others -- that Johnson began work on his debut CD, Umbrella Man. The rootsy songwriter's newfound sense of home and stability reveals itself throughout the album, which was recorded in Jackson and New Orleans. Like many of Johnson's musical points of reference (including Mark Knopfler, Randy Newman, Bruce Hornsby and Van Morrison), his songs are lyrically tender and thought-provoking while his warm, rich voice and considerable harmonica skills are on display throughout.

"I've always felt most influenced by, or attuned to, artists who are kind of what I would call triple-threats, says Johnson. "They sing well, they play at least one instrument very well, and they write great songs. I take each of these three parts of the equation as seriously as any other part. I also feel most in tune with artists who kind of 'are their own genre,' borrowing from many different kinds of music. I hope my music reflects that."

Umbrella Man was self-produced over a period of three years with local and regional musicians providing the backdrop for Johnson's tuneful ruminations on life, love, and the true meaning of "home." In addition to nine original songs, the album also includes a faithful harmonica version of Wynton Marsalis' "In the Court of King Oliver", featuring a cast of stellar New Orleans musicians that includes legendary drummer Johnny Vidacovich.

In April of 2007, Johnson had a career highlight of sorts when he performed as one of three official "future Grammy prospects" at "Mississippi: Birthplace of America's Music", an official Grammy event hosted by the Governor of Mississippi, Haley Barbour. Johnson performed with Marty Stuart, legendary guitarist James Burton, and the Williams Brothers, among others. "It was one of those nights you just fantasize about, and just an incredible honor," Johnson says.

Scott's original songs include the track "Hollywood", about a young man's sacrifices to achieve his dreams; "What About Your Man", a look at infidelity from the sharpest and, perhaps, loneliest corner of the love triangle; "Spaceship", a blazing and exuberant paean to a light in the sky; "Turn Out Fine", a rollicking glance back at a past lover; "Magnolia Road", an ode to home and the other important things in life; and more.

It's been a long haul, but Johnson's career goals are simple.

"All I have ever wanted, from a musical standpoint, was to be able to make a living sharing my music with as many people as possible," he says. "That sounds like a reasonable enough expectation, but there are so many great musicians who struggle to get their songs heard. I'm very grateful for each person who tells me they like my music, or buys my album, or comes to a show, because it means I've made a connection with them, and it brings me one step closer to my goal."

"A mighty harmonica player." ([Jackson] Clarion-Ledger)

"A harmonica virtuoso." ([Jackson] Planet Weekly)

"Scott Albert Johnson, harmonica player extraordinaire."
(Rob Payer, WBRH/KBRH [Baton Rouge, LA])

Some of the many fine musicians with whom Scott has performed or recorded include:

Marty Stuart
James Burton
Johnny Vidacovich
The Williams Brothers (gospel)
Jerry Joseph
Mike Mills (R.E.M.)
Rocket 88
Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes
Big Al & the Heavyweights
James McBride
Coco Robichaux
Molly Thomas
Willie Heath Neal



to write a review

Brett Peruzzi

A triple play of great songwriting, vocals, and harmonica playing
Rare is the performer who achieves the triple crown of having mastery over an instrument, has a great voice, and writes strong original material. Scott has scored high on all three points. His harmonica playing is polished and inspired, staying away from cliched and tired riffs, his voice is soulful and reminiscent of Van Morrison in his prime, and his vivid lyrical imagery and song hooks stick in your head long after the song ends. He's assembled a great bunch of musicians to back him up as well. A mixture of blues, rock, and some jazz stylings, this is well-crafted and radio-friendly music that deserves greater exposure. Look for more from Scott Albert Johnson in the future, because I think he's got the potential to really go places with his music.

Matt D

Great album - worth the purchase!
It draws on many styles and I hear songs that are reminiscent of Blue’s Traveler, John Taylor and a full-spectrum of old fashion blues with great lyrics and wonderful harmonica solos. The family favorite thus far is “Turn Out Fine”, which is a fast-paced upbeat ode to a former lover.

ken graeber

great lyrics & musicianship!
Very strong album with great musicianship and lyrics. The album has a great variety from rock to blues to jazz to R&B but never loses its identity. Scott is a great southern singer/ this CD!!

Louise - Melbourne Australia

Love it, Love it, Love it!
I'm just a humble listener with no musical talents of my own to share; just a reliable set of ears and a love of good music :). This is a wonderful, wonderful album and I am so proud to have it! And so proud to hear the blending of cultures with the inclusion of the Didg on Walkabout too :)
My only question I have to wait another 3 years for the next one! :)
Thank you, Thank you. Keep on making the sounds that help get us through the day and put a smile on our faces.
Love from your antipodean-ish friend