Rating 10 of 10

It may seem very flattering of me to give an artist 10 out of 10 for there work. Trust me it takes a lot for me to give such a rating. When it comes to Damon Johnson, I don’t think this man has ever released a bad song. For the last 25 years Johnson has released hard hitting, hook laden material. Starting with Brother Cane up until now; Johnson has been the epitome of what can be termed as a “talented, hard working artist”. Of course Johnson announced a few months back that he would be leaving The Black Star Riders to focus more on his solo material. After hearing this album, I can see why he would make such a move. Just before the announcement, I actually caught up with Johnson. At the time, I didn’t really read between the lines of what he was saying to come to the conclusion that he would be leaving the band. As I think back on it now, there were a few subtle signs, but I just didn’t want to see it. From our conversation though, it was obvious that Johnson was very excited for his latest work to be released. What really intrigued me was the fact that Johnson spoke of the the actual album in vinyl form showing up at his door. Johnson was very excited at the thought of a vinyl, to hold in his hands with his name across the front. I think that was a very honest account of a man who appreciates his success. It is obvious, like most of us that have that passion for music, that music still gives him that teenage excitement.

Memoirs of an Uprising is a precise, account from a man whose feelings need to be heard. As you analyze the actual title, the term “Memoirs” tells its own story. When I see that word I am instantly intrigued. I say to myself, “Tyson, what will lie beneath and how will the artist convey his point through music?” Brilliantly calculated Damon!

It is obvious from the opening track “Shivering, Shivering” that Johnson means business. I myself cannot wait to hear this track live. As I was actually skimming through and reading the track titles, I really had a sense that this material was not your normal run of the mill, cookie cutter type music. Track titles like “Dallas Could Have Been A Beatdown”, “We Got A System” and “Making Peace With This Wicked Beast” really tells me something important will be said. The honest truth is, this is something that needs to be given a few listens to really feel the natural power within. There is an importance to the story that is being told. That to me is what makes this album so special. I have known Johnson for some 25 years and I am super proud of all he has accomplished. He surprises me every time out. For those that have ever had a conversation with Johnson, it is always a pleasure. He is simply one of the nicest people in the business. With that said, that personality that he possesses shows throughout his music. There is always a positive energy in every song. Johnson says it all perfectly on the track “Call It A Trade” when he states, “And I give to you, my heart and soul! We can call it a trade” A pretty clever lyric. Basically that sums up the sheer brilliance of the material on this album.

As I summarize Memoirs of an Uprising, I must make mention again of the conversation I had with Johnson back in August of this year. I asked him what he would compare this album too. More or less he felt that the music on this album was reminiscent of his work on the Brother Cane classic Wishpool. I can see that, I think more than anything this album shows a maturity in his songwriting. That album (Wishpool) came out 20 years ago. I don’t know about you, but I have grown and changed considerably. So I hear that within. Overall, if you’re looking for a solid, mature collection of amazing songs, Memoirs of an Uprising is where you will find it.

Standout Tracks: Tracks 1 – 10!!!

Article by Tyson Briden

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