Back in Nov 2011 I reviewed the debut instrumental guitar album by Nick Johnston called Public Display of Infection which is a great album but I feel that Nick has really taken it to another level with his latest release ‘In A Locked Room On The Moon‘. While the album is just as eclectic mixing various styles the composition and playing sounds more mature as do the guitar tones. Nick has gone for a much beefier guitar sound but not swamped in gain, you can still hear when he is using single coils such as the 2nd track on the album ‘Dizzy With A Dame‘ which has a sort of 60’s feel to it, just listen for yourself!
Nick’s playing is just phenomenal he easily blends sounds from Latin music, Blues, some sort of eastern European Polka… ok I’m guessing with Polka but just watch the 1st video above and tell me what kind of genre that is? I have no idea but I love it. For this album Nick lined up a couple of guest guitar players to contribute solos one of which being the… erm I’ve run out of adjectives to describe him, Guthrie Govan. Nick trades licks on the blues groover ‘Electric In My Veins‘ and it sounds like Guthrie is using his Vigier fretless with lots of slidey runs. I personally would be scared shitless having someone like GG playing on one of my tracks, in fact I wouldn’t include a solo of my own because it would sound terrible in comparison but Nick is totally comfortable playing alongside the big man and has quite a similar style of soloing. Also guesting on the album is another guitar legend, Paul Gilbert who trades solos on the track ‘Trick Question’, another sort shuffley blues rock track. The cool thing about Paul and Guthrie is that they are instantly recognisable but they fit in with Nick’s tracks and playing perfectly.
This is a really great album from start to finish and not a predictable shred album in the slightest. Nick has composed some really enjoyable guitar music that has enough changes in styles and tempos to keep you interested throughout. Definitely one of the best instrumental guitar albums I’ve heard this year.
Check out Nick Johnston’s website for details on how to purchase and for links to his various social media channels.