Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Roland Johnson Says New CD Is What He Has Been Striving For

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Roland Johnson Says New CD Is What He Has Been Striving For

Article excerpt

St. Louis music veteran Roland Johnson may be "68 years old and holding," as he puts it, performing for close to 50 years, but he shows no signs of slowing down.

It's hard for Johnson who has opened for Roger Troutman, Little Milton, Fontella Bass, Albert King and Oliver Sain and who is a regular at Beale on Broadway to slow his roll.

"As long as I exist, I want to be a part of the music world," says Johnson, who is part of a scene he feels supports that wish. "We've come a long way. There's more consideration being given to musicians. We're given more chances. That was hard to come by. Everyone is getting their due now. As long as you take care of your performance, things will come together. Don't envy, and don't hate. I express that to the young cats. I express that to the old cats, too."

Blues and R&B man Johnson is one of the anticipated performers at this weekend's Big Muddy Blues Festival on Laclede's Landing, and he's out pushing his new album "Imagine This," his first since "Baby I'm Ready" (2011).

Johnson says the album came about because he was "frustrated with things going on today this and that. I said before I leave here, I wanted to leave a little bit of my spirit, my interpretation of what I felt I wanted to input toward the next generation. It's hard to see them just dwell into nothing, for them to lose their concept of how to be and what to do.

"I always figure to be the best you can be."

Johnson says he put more of himself into his new album of original material than any other release so far.

While he says "Baby I'm Ready" had more of an inner-city feel, "Imagine This" is even more raw. "I'm just laying it down and saying some things. It's natural. All the songs have their own concept about how I feel. And every song was laid down in one take."

One of the songs on his new album is "Mother," written about his late mother. …

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