Fast Train to Nowhere
Like many people of his generation, Robert 'Bob' Johnson's career as a songwriter began with the Folk Boom of the 1960's. As Bob state's ' I believe it was the honesty of the music that made it so appealing'. Bob's vast catalog of traditional songs dates back to his days as a child when his Irish born grandfather would teach him the songs of his homeland. Accompanied by his uncle, Bob would sing these imported gems from the Emerald Isle for hours on end. As a banjo player during his college days Bob's musical tastes weren't just limited to Irish Folk songs and it's American brethren Bluegrass Music, but to Dixieland, Blues, Rock n' Roll, Country and Jazz as well. 'There was really a melting pot of sorts going on with American Music at that time, people were really breaking ground and paving the way for other artists, and what we've tried to do here is keep the album as strictly Americana as possible, a kind of a tip-of-the-hat if you will, to all of the people I've tried to pay tribute to with this album' To say that Bob's musical tastes are as vast, would be an understatement of infinite proportions. But by looking at a few of his favorite songwriters, one can get a glimpse of Bob's wide range of tastes. 'I really still love all of those singer-songwriters of the 60's and 70's, you know, Bob Dylan, John Denver, Gordon Lightfoot, Ian and Sylvia, Dave Van Ronk, Steve Goodman, Dave Mallett, and of course it goes without saying, The Beatles.' 'As for blues musicians that have influenced me, I've definitely got to say Eric Clapton and BB King, as well as my blessed namesake Robert Johnson, but also without a doubt, Tony Deziel who I worked with on this album. If I ever needed a turnaround for a tune, I wouldn't even have to ask and he'd already be working on it. A real blues aficionado to say the least.' Johnson's country influences can be heard on the many of the CD's thirteen tracks, but most noticeably on 'Why am I not Surprised' and the delightfully tongue-in- cheek 'Everything hurts but my Hair!' 'I was always a fan of real country, by that I mean Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, they always seemed to say so much with so few words'. The infectious 'Case of the Blues' and folk influenced 'Think of You' are two songs on the album which actually stem from Johnson's songwriting days of the 70's. 'When I played them for Tony, he just grabbed his guitar and started arranging, I guess he liked them' stated Johnson with a laugh. Bob also pays tribute to a few of his folk heroes by performing cover songs of Bob Dylan's 'You Ain't Going Nowhere', Steve Goodman's folk blues, 'Chicken Cordon Bluez' (performed here as a full-tilt-stomp) as well as the classic 'Stealin'', which has been performed by countless singer-songwriters, most notably the actor- comedian-banjo-player extraordinaire Billy Connolly, in the film 'Still Crazy.' Besides Tony Deziel, appearing alongside Bob on his debut CD 'Fast Train To Nowhere' is producer-engineer-musician Paul Opalach. When asked how Bob had recruited Paul for the album Bob simply laughed and revealed, 'That was easy, a real no-brainer! Tony wouldn't make the album with anyone else!' 'Tony's loyalty is something to marvel at to say the least, but Paul is quite a musician, a marvel. It was an absolute pleasure to work with him.' Completing the line-up for the Flatliners is drummer Scott Donofrio, who along with Deziel is also a member of the rock band Sundance, and guest musicians, drummer Steve Peck, and vocalist Rose Coppola. While listening to 'Fast Train to Nowhere', it's apparent early on that Bob and the boys are really having themselves a genuine good time. Bob's advice to the listener, 'Sit back, relax, enjoy, tap your feet, and climb on board!' It appears to be a very good thing that Bob Johnson finally decided to put out his debut album. As for a second album, Johnson is quick to add with a smile, 'It's already underway.'