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A Conversation With John Campbelljohn



Wayne Nicholson and John Campbelljohn have curated and recorded a masterful tribute to legendary bluesman, Elmore James.


Wayne Nicholson

Wayne Nicholson grew up in Pictou county and sang in the local band "Nite Cult" . Sang and played flute with Truro-based "Horse" in the early '70s and was a member of "Oakley" from 1977-1982.  Reunited with "Nite Cult" band mates John Duncan MacKenzie and Henry Lewis in the New Glasgow band "Granfalloon" before leaving the area for a while.


He has been recording and working as a solo act since 1992, worked as a

producer for Loggerhead Records and has participated in several Horse and Oakley reunions.


John Campbelljohn

Combining his outstanding guitar work & powerful songwriting, John Campbelljohn is a multiple award winner. Born in 1955 in Cape Breton NS, Canada, John grew up surrounded by the rich Cape Breton Island culture of Scottish jigs, reels and strathspeys. But at an early age he discovered the power of the blues shuffle. He studied the blues masters as a teenager and eventually put together a blues rock combo. John toured relentlessly throughout the country winning numerous awards for his record releases, guitar playing and songwriting ability.


John’s accomplishments include wins and nominations for Maple Blues Awards, East Coast Music Awards, Real Blues Awards, Music Nova Scotia Entertainer Of The Year, Blues Recording Of The Year & Musician Of The Year.


John’s sophisticated and progressive approach to song writing gives him a distinctive edge, mixing rock, blues, reggae, celtic & country into his signature style. The result is a roots driven sound that can pummel the audience into submission one moment, while captivating them with its subtlety the next.


During his career John has been featured on recordings, live shows and TV productions that include names like Sting, Joni Mitchell, Emmy Lou Harris, Leonard Cohen, Joe Ely, Willie Nelson, Robben Ford & Alvin Lee (Ten Years After) Sony Television & Showtime TV.



Ken Wallis chats to John Campbelljohn about the release.



Ken Wallis

There's a new album out. It's entitled Elmore's Blues with Wayne Nicholson and John Campbelljohn. And joining us is John Campbelljohn. Thanks for taking time to have a chat.


John Campbelljohn

Hey, Ken nice talking with you.


Ken Wallis

First of all, why a tribute to Elmore James?


John Campbelljohn

Well, I've been a fan of Elmore James pretty much all my life. You know he's the slide guy, and a powerful singer, very unique. And so yeah, I've been aware of him for a long time as have most blues fans, I would venture to guess. And more than a year ago, my buddy Wayne Nicholson came to me. Wayne, as you may know, is a powerful blues rock singer from the Maritimes here and he came to me with the idea that we should do a tribute album to Elmore James. You know, I thought about that for a second, and thought about what a powerful singer Wayne is and Elmore being the powerful singer and I love to play slide guitar and it was just a no brainer. Off we went.


Ken Wallis

Elmore was well known as the King of the slide guitar. Do you play a similar style as Elmore?


John Campbelljohn

Yeah, I guess Elmore, played in, and not to get too technical, but he played in the open D or open E position, tuning, I should say, with that big chord, that big Dust My Broom chord that many, many people are familiar with. And I've touched on that and certainly been influenced by that for many years. So yeah, I'm a big fan.

Ken Wallis

And you certainly got a lot of his tunes on this release. But you've also got two originals on the release.


John Campbelljohn

Well, I have to give credit to Wayne, this was his concept. He came to me with the idea and he said, Why don't we write a couple of songs together and put that in the package and just have some fun with it. So that's basically pretty much what we did with this. The idea of making it Elmore's songs the main thrust, and both of us have had careers as songwriters and performers. So it just seemed like the natural thing to do.


Ken Wallis

Well, it's been a tough time because of this pandemic. Have you been doing a lot of writing or what have you been doing while this is going on?

John Campbelljohn

Well, it's ah, it's definitely approaching shack wacky, territory. Yeah, I've been trying to stay busy. I've got a home studio in my basement. And of course, it's bad enough that we have the pandemic problems, but I've got humidity issues, and I'm struggling with it. Although my wife and family are fine, I should say. I've got my dehumidifier going and there's the noise and the heat and the humidity and it's about getting the job done. And actually Wayne and I are doing a little bit of work together and things are working out Okay. And hopefully we'll all pull through this and there'll be better days ahead.


Ken Wallis

Well, here in Ontario, there are some limited shows and live music starting to open up. Is there anything happening down east.


John Campbelljohn

Yeah, there is. Slowly there's a few bars opening up. There's a few shows. A couple of concert drive in theatre shows. Friends of mine have been doing online shows, you know, live streaming shows that's going on all over the place. But of course, we all want to get back to normal and get out there and get in front of an audience like it used to be. I'm optimistic that'll happen, but it's not gonna happen tomorrow. It's gonna be a while yet, but we're all looking forward to it again.


Ken Wallis

John, where can our listeners get a hold of your CD?


John Campbelljohn

We have a Facebook page called Elmore's Blues, Wayne Nicholson and john Campbelljohn. But probably the simplest way is to go to my website, which is www Campbelljohn.ca and when you get there, it's pretty simple. You'll just read the simple instructions on how to acquire a CD.


Ken Wallis

Well, it's a very enjoyable CD. And I thank you for your time and hopefully we'll get a chance to meet in a live gig soon.


John Campbelljohn

That'll be great Ken, great to talk to you.


Website: www.campbelljohn.ca




 

 

 

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