“Your guitar playing is like – what? – a cross between Pop Staples and Jimi Hendrix!”
Barbara Dane, “living legend” of folk, blues, and jazz,
responding to a 2018 JH live radio performance on KPFA-FM
of Bob Dylan’s “Visions of Johanna”
“Quite honestly I was blown away. Your playing was so melodious and clean, arrangement so thoughtful, appropriate, and just plain beautiful. and your singing deeply touching. Really, a gem of a performance. Voices with heart, like yours, are so rare and so necessary!”
Barbara Dane, responding to an unreleased 2019 recording
of JH performing solo, a Henry Clay Work song from 1876)
(Barbara Dane has been recording since 1957 and is still going strong
in her 90s! Johnny worked as her principal accompanist from 1998
through 2013. Learn about her at www.barbaradane.net.)
“Thank you so much for your CD, it`s ROCKING my kitchen! I just love “Work with what you Got,” but all the others are so good too, and they make me dance!
The more I listen to your CD, it gets even better. It‘s so great how you weave these stories and tell them, you really pull your audience in. “Loafin’ on the Water” is such a great story too! As the listener, I am there on the river, thinking, phew! – glad I‘ve escaped! Now I can relax, slowly. And your guitar playing is super too. The whole CD is like a wonderful home cooked meal, real and satisfying, good for the soul, and just so groovy!”
Barbara Koenig, singer-songwriter, recording artist
Zona, Switzerland 2021
“I can’t thank you enough for your incredible performance. I had put out a lot of energy to put the party on, but your set just poured energy back to me. The sweet way you deliver what had once been angry songs showed how time is both a thief and a great consoler. The people in the room were universally enthralled, especially the poets and musicians, who recognize soul when they see it. Thank you!”
David Shaddock, Ph.D, MFT
responding to a JH solo set of Dylan songs, 2018
“One of the things I appreciate so much in your music is that you have the unique quality of informing the present from the history and wisdom of the past.
Your music puts together a narrative that touches the depths of the hurt that we collectively have experienced – but rarely name – of all the traumas that have happened to us as a people; the things we know have happened, and the things we mourn because they failed to manifest (individually and collectively).
At the same time, you don’t leave us there. Naming and grieving is important, but without integrating hope, it leaves the listener feeling pained and guilty. Your music does not leave us in guilt or rob us of power. To the contrary, you weave throughout the lyrics the hope that you lift up as the ultimate truth, the ultimate end, and the life-source of the present.
You demand something of your listeners. Yes, there is fun to be had. Yes, there are whimsical tunes to lighten the mood and those are necessary. Life needs fun and you remind us of that. It is as important as the tears. (The two medicines right? Laughter and tears?)
But you expect something of your listeners, and it is right to expect it. They need to not tune out, they need to tune in. Not just with their ears, but with their souls. It is soul music you bring. And when the soul is touched, it requires something of us. You want to awaken people to life – the hurt and the joy and the hope – through your music.”
Reverend Meg Lumsdaine
Tree of Life Education & Retreat Center
Jefferson County, Washington