Johnny Rawls
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Johnny Rawls

Purvis, Mississippi, United States | SELF

Purvis, Mississippi, United States | SELF
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"Johnny Rawls-My Turn To Win"

Johnny Rawls is one of the solid performers local blues fans can look forward to seeing at the Pocono Blues Festival this summer.

The man is a pro who can write, sing and play the strings. This CD leans more toward the soulful side but it is an excellent blend of deft guitar, tight horns and masterful vocals. It's finely crafted series of songs about love-all of which were written by Rawls. Right from the get-go on "Bad Reputation", the Nutmeg Horns are in full gear while Rawls plays some sweet solo lines. "Back in Your Arms" is a foot-tappin, head bobbin blues ditty that fully showcases Rawl's talents. "I Been Lookin", is another love song with effortless vocals and guitar that celebrates a successful search for love. "Can't Stop Thinkin' Bout You" has Rawls plaintive vocals conjuring up feelings of emptiness and loneliness, expertly rounded by the soft organ accompaniment by Roosevelt Purifoy. The fine organ play continues in "Nobody's Gonna Take Your Place" a tribute to love in which Rawls notes, "I like to look, but I don't touch, I stay by your side because I love you so much", Another highlight is "I Been Broken Hearted", collective of smooth vocals and top-shelf production values.

This is not a pure blues CD, as Rawls himself notes, "my style is between gospel, blues and good hard soul music". This effort is all of that in the hands of a pro.

Scott C. Davis - Blues Hound


"Famous Blues Singer Comes to Lafayette"

The Knickerbocker Saloon is bringing one of the more prominent acts in the blues world to Lafayette this weekend.

At 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, the Knickerbocker is hosting Johnny Rawls and his band. Rawls has been recording music for decades and performing with well-known artist as a sideman before striking out on his own in the 90's on JSP Records label. Rawls has formed his own company now, Deep South Productions, based out of Milwaukee. Rawls has toured throughout the United States and Europe. Rawls current tour will take him accross the Mid west and the East Coast, with stops in Ohio, Soouth Carolina and Nashville, Tenn., before returning to Indiana to play the Knickerbocker on April 4 and 5, and then the Slippery Noodle Inn on April 11 and 12.

Nick Vakas, the owner of the Knickerbocker said Rawls has been playing there for the last four or five years, "Johnny is one of our favorite acts; he is also one of our best acts", Vukas said. Rawls was the cover story for the March/April 2002 edition of "Living Blues Magazine" and Amazon.com carries 6 of his albums, with each one carring an average rating of five stars on a five-star scale.

Vukas said Johnny has consistently provided our audiences with quality performances. Rawls is truly an artist and an entertainer, as well as being a talented songwriter. Rawls is also known for his versatility as he is able to play guitar, bass and keyboards in addition to his vocals. His material is mostly original with some well-known standards thrown in and he is good at getting the crowd involved.

Brian Colombo, Staff Writer - THE EXPONENT


"Johnny Rawls"

Johnny Rawls may have been born a few years too late. A couple of decades ago, the guitarist might have parlayed his gritty, alluring vocal delivery and concise, stinging guitar work into national soul stardom.

His resume is impeccable; the Mississippi-born Milwaukee resident led the bands of O.V. Wright and Little Johnny Taylor before setting off on his own (he debuted in partnership with L.C. Luckett on a 1995 Rooster Blues CD).

As it is, Rawls is a delightful reminder of the days before soul and blues were mutually exclusive. Rawls' blues/soul synthesis is seamless.

Bill Dahl - Living Blues


"Heart & Soul"

One foot in the past and one foot in the future, this CD has up tempo songs that will melt the heart and uplift the spirit.

Johnny Rawls is a sincere soul bluesman. His melodic voice and singing style has been recognized by many and put him on the cover of August 2002 edition of The Living Blues magazine. He has traveled internationally, singing up tempo soul Blues R&B songs around the world. As you will hear, Johnny has poured his heart and soul in this CD. Each song written by Johnny was an intense thought process. His songs will remind you of yesterday with promises of love for tomorrow. That's Johnny style of music. It is the blues! - CD Baby


"Waterfront Blues/Toronto,Ontario,Canada"

Johnny Rawls has blossomed into one of the top talents in Soul/Blues today. He's a Blues Blueblood, born and raised in Mississippi, who spent over 2 decades apprenticing as a sideman to top masters of the idiom, learning and growling all the while.

Rawls is a true road warrior who has driven millions of miles with his own band as well as backing up legends such as Lynn White, Little Johnny Taylor, ZZ Hill and O.V. Wright. Johnny has continually stayed in demand becaus of his considerable talent and versatility. He's proficient on guitar, bass, keyboards and vocals in addition to being a fine producer.

Johnny started his climb of the Soul/Blues ladder with his recording, "Can't Sleep At Night" on Rooster Blues, that earned him the 1995 Living Blues Award runner-up for "New Soul/Blues Recording Of The Year". And he received similar recognition in 1996 for Here We Go on JSP Records. But it would take another JSP release the following year, Louisiana Woman, to really shape today's Johnny Rawls sound of combining harder edged upbeat material and real world songwriting sensitivity. That sound os one that identifies Rawls as an artist not content to merely reinterpret yesterday, but instead determined to explore the endless possibilities of tomorrow.

Using that formula and mindset Rawls has gone on to record 8 more albums on various labels. No Boundaries on TopCat Records was consistently cited on the 2006 Living Blues Radio Charts. And Heart & Soul-on Rawls own Deep South Soul imprint, has earned him a 2007 Blues Awards nomination for "Soul Blues Album Of The Year". Finally, Johnny Rawls time has come! - Toronto Star


"Red Cadillac"

"Rawls deserves national stardom...his blend of blues/soul is seamless." Red Cadillac is the best yet by the Soulman from Purvis, Mississippi. Top 10 on the Living Blues charts for two months and number one in September 2008 - Living Blues


"Powerful and Inspired"

Red Cadillac a repete with top-notch instrumental and vocal performances and a superb, soulful batch of songs. It received a rare 4 star rating from Downbeat. - Blues Revue


Discography

Here We Go (1996)
Louisiana Woman (1997)
My Turn To Win (1999)
Put Your Trust In Me (2001)
Lucky Man (2002)
Get Up And Go (2003)
Live In Montana (2004)
No Boundries (2005)
Heart & Soul (2006)
Red Cadillac (2008)
Ace Of Spades (2009)
Memphis Still Got Soul (2011)

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Bio

Singer, songwriter, guitarist, arranger and producer, Johnny Rawls draws on the 1950s' and 60s' deep soul-blues tradition in his guitar playing, yet his lyrics and singing are 21st century.

Rawls got his early musical education from his blind guitarist grandfather, who played around the Hattiesburg, Mississippi area. Johnny began playing the clarinet and saxophone in third grade, and began playing guitar at age 12, learning as much as he could from players in blues bands around the area. By the time he was in his teens, his high school band instructor hired him to play in his band. As a teen, Rawls had the opportunity to back singers like Joe Tex and ZZ Hill.

Leaving Mississippi for a year at 17, he returned, determined to form his own blues/soul ensemble. They found work backing up touring musicians. By the mid-1970s, Rawls joined O.V. Wright's band as his band leader, working with Wright until his death in 1980. After Wright's death the band continued to perform his music for 13 years as the O.V. Wright Band, opening shows for B.B. King, Little Milton and Bobby Bland and toured with Little Johnny Taylor, Latimore, BB Coleman, Blues Boy Willie and others.

While working with guitarist L.C. Luckett, Rawls recorded a 45 rpm single for his label, Touch Records. In 1994 Rawls and Luckett recorded their first album, "Can't Sleep at Night", for the Rooster Blues label. In 1995 Rawls parted with Luckett to lead a new group and recorded with the London based JSP label. "Here We Go", was his debut for JSP Records recorded in 1996 and followed it up with "Louisiana Woman" a 1997 release. Rawls carries on the soul-blues tradition of O.V. Wright, Otis Redding and ZZ Hill in his singing style and guitar playing. His arrangement, production and lyrics are steeped in the 21st century techniques and subject matter.

In 1995 Johnny was Living Blues runner-up for New Soul/Blues Recording of the year. In 2002 Johnny appeared on the cover of Living Blues Magazine. He has been nominated four times for the Music Awards (formally the W.C. Handy Award). In 2006 The West Coast Blues Hall of Fame awarded him Soul/R&B Male Vocalist of the Year and in 2008 his "Heart & Soul" release, album of the Year. In 2009 received The Blues Foundation nomination for Soul Blues Male Artist of the Year. February 2010 Johnny was honored with a Mississippi Trail Marker in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and in June 2010 winner of Living Blues Award for "Red Cadillac" Best Soul Blues Album.

Johnny is constantly touring, nationally and internationally playing over 200 dates a year. He has performed at The Chicago Blues Festival, Pocono Blues Festival, Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, King Biscuit, Phoenix, Long Beach, Russian River, Hayward/Russell City, Portland Waterfront Blues Festivals and festivals in Canada, Sweden, Poland, Denmark, Norway, France, Japan and Australia.

Rawls is a true soul-blues renaissance man. Let the multi-talented and captivating Johnny Rawls entertain you! He will have you and your audience motivated and wanting more. Johnny's style and stage presence commands attention and allows him to instantly connect with audiences and audiences respond.