- Courtney Johnson (musician)
Courtney Johnson Born December 20, 1939
Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky U.S.
Died June 6, 1996(aged 56)
Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky, U.S.
Genres Newgrass, Bluegrass music Occupations Musician Instruments Banjo, Guitar Years active 1964–1996 Labels Starday, Flying Fish Associated acts New Grass Revival, Bluegrass Alliance, Leon Russell, Poor Richard's Almanac
Courtney Johnson was an innovative banjo player, best known for his work as an original member of the band New Grass Revival. Influenced by Ralph Stanley and his Clinch Mountain Boys, Johnson is often considered to be an inventor of the newgrass style of banjo playing, polished and improved later on by such personalities as Béla Fleck, Alison Brown, Scott Vestal of Sam Bush Band and Jens Krüger of Krüger Brothers.
Johnson began to play guitar at the age of seven, but didn't pick up the banjo until he was about 25 years old. He worked as a mechanic in a service station at his hometown of Hiseville, Kentucky before he earned enough money as a musician. Johnson played in several local bands, including the Rocky Road Boys with Bill Hatfield on fiddle and Bill Logsdon on guitar.
In 1969, Sam Bush asked Courtney to join his band, Poor Richard's Almanac. They played together in local clubs until 1970, when Bush left to join the Bluegrass Alliance band. In 1971, Johnson also joined the band, consisting of Bush, fiddler Lonnie Pierce, guitarist Tony Rice and bassist Ebo Walker. The Bluegrass Alliance is often considered as one of the bands that started to play progressive bluegrass. Band frontman Lonnie Peerce suffered with health problems and the band went on hiatus several times. Other members of the group were busy with other projects and all that led, consequently, to disbanding of the group and creation of the New Grass Revival The Bluegrass Alliance eventually reformed in 1998 with all new members.
New Grass Revival
New Grass Revival was formed by Bush, Johnson, Walker and Curtis Burch in 1971, after they left Lonnie Pierce and decided to create their own band. The group name comes from the style they created, "Newgrass", a term that Sam Bush credited to Ebo Walker. This line-up recorded the band's self-titled album in 1972. After some early changes on the bass position, the group recruited rock bassist John Cowan and recorded 5 albums in this setup. Most of the band members were multi-instrumentalists and Johnson often switched from banjo and guitar, sometimes even during one song on stage. He occasionally played Dobro as well and occasionally sang harmony. During his years with New Grass Revival, he developed the banjo playing to new levels. He is considered as a very innovative banjo player, although not as polished as later group member Béla Fleck. His trademark banjo solos with the band include songs such as "When the Storm Is Over", "Steam Powered Aeroplane", "Fly through the Country", "This Heart of Mine", "Crooked Smile", "Souvenir Bottles", "Great Balls of Fire" and others.
In 1981, Johnson and Burch left the New Grass Revival, citing that they were tired of touring. They continued playing locally in several bands including the Courtney Johnson Band, Barren County and BJT (Burch, Johson, Timberlake). Johnson later put together a band including Burch on Dobro/guitar, himself on banjo/guitar, his wife Hazel on mandolin/guitar and Eric Albany on bass. Johnson died on 7 June 1996, aged 56, diagnosed with lung cancer. On September 24 of that year, a benefit concert at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee was organized by his friend Sam Bush. New Grass Revival, which disbanded in 1989, reunited for this occasion (with Béla Fleck on banjo). The concert also included John Hartford, Hot Rize, Tim O'Brien, Vassar Clements, Del McCoury Band, Ricky Skaggs, Pete Rowan, Jerry Douglas and others.
Although Johnson was influenced by traditional banjo players like Earl Scruggs and Ralph Stanley, he was always interested in playing more progressive styles. He was very fond of improvisation, which fit very well when he played in the New Grass Revival. He was described as a melodic banjo player, experimenting with merging styles like blues, rock and bluegrass.
- Courtney Johnson obituary
- Courtney Johnson on MySpace.com
- Courtney Johnson biography on bgdailynews.com
- Courtney Johnson biography on music.aol.com
- The Bluegrass Alliance
· Curtis Burch · Ebo Walker · Butch Robins Studio albums Live albumsToo Late to Turn Back Now (1977) · Live (1984) · Collaboration albumsLand of the Navajo (1977) · The Live Album (1981) · Deviation (1984) · Late as Usual (2001) · Rhythm & Bluegrass: Hank Wilson Vol. 4 (2001) Related articles Bluegrass music Typical instruments Stylistic origins Sub- and fusion genres Notable festivalsBill Monroe's Bean Blossom Festival · California Bluegrass Association Father's Day Bluegrass Festival · Delfest · Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival · High Sierra Music Festival · Kentucky Festival of the Bluegrass · Merlefest · San Francisco Bluegrass & Old Time Festival · South Carolina State Bluegrass Festival · River City Bluegrass Festival · Rockygrass · Telluride Bluegrass Festival · Wintergrass Other Category · Portal
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Courtney Johnson — may refer to: Courtney Johnson (musician), American banjo player Courtney Johnson (water polo) (born 1974), American water polo player This disambiguation page lists articles associated with the same personal name. If an … Wikipedia
Calvin Johnson (musician) — Infobox musical artist Name = Calvin Johnson Img capt = Img size = Landscape = Background = solo singer Birth name = Alias = Selector Dub Narcotic Born = Birth date and age|1962|11|1|mf=y Died = Origin = Olympia, Washington Instrument = guitar,… … Wikipedia
Courtney Love — This article is about the person. For the band of the same name, see Courtney Love (band). Courtney Love L … Wikipedia
Dirty Blonde: The Diaries of Courtney Love — … Wikipedia
New Grass Revival — Photo of the classic (1972 1981) lineup of the band. The contradictory nature of their music is highlighted by the juxtaposition of traditional attire (flannel shirts, Sam Bush s overalls) and setting (wooden rocking chairs on a porch) with the… … Wikipedia
List of people from California — This is a partial list of well known people from California.compactTOC NOTOC A* Willie Aames actor * Paula Abdul dancer/singer ( American Idol ) * Ansel Adams photographer * Rick Adelman NBA head coach (Houston Rockets) * Ben Affleck actor * Troy … Wikipedia
International Pop Underground Convention — Infobox Album | Name = International Pop Underground Convention Type = Compilation Artist = Various artists Released = 1991 Recorded = August 1991 Genre = Indie rock Length = Label = K Records Reviews = * Allmusic Rating|4|5… … Wikipedia
Me Oh My, How the Time Does Fly: A John Hartford Anthology — Compilation album by John Hartford Released 1982 … Wikipedia
List of people from Minnesota — This is a list of notable persons who were born or spent important time in the state of Minnesota. People not born in Minnesota are marked with §. Contents: Top · 0–9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z … Wikipedia
performing arts — arts or skills that require public performance, as acting, singing, or dancing. [1945 50] * * * ▪ 2009 Introduction Music Classical. The last vestiges of the Cold War seemed to thaw for a moment on Feb. 26, 2008, when the unfamiliar strains … Universalium