Richard Leo Johnson

Richard Leo Johnson is one the most creative and inspiring acoustic guitar players in the American music scene.’s editors referred to Johnson as “perhaps the next in an extremely short line of guitarist greats – which includes Derek Bailey, Pat Metheny and Sonny Sharrock and a few other players,” while Playboy called him “perhaps the most innovative and inspired acoustic guitarist since Jim Hendrix”. He is often compared with such legends as John Fahey and Burt Jansch as well as Leo Kottke and Steve Tibbetts. Johnson’s unique style is characterized by complexity and exhilarating speed as well as hauntingly strange harmonies that are created using ‘found’ tunings. This self-taught musician stands out from the rest. Johnson was born in America’s Deep South in an Arkansas town, Mississippi Delta. Johnson began playing guitar when he was nine years old. He briefly took lessons from an oilfield worker who was hard drinking before deciding to learn more by himself. Johnson recalls his “real jumping point” being a cassette that he got as a teenager. It featured John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra’s Inner Mounting Flame and Leo Kottke’s Greenhouse. Johnson says: “I thought this was one person playing these things! Johnson was initially struck by the idea that something could be made that combined McLaughlin’s linear liquidity with the dense harmonic structure of Kottke. He practiced incessantly alone, developing a unique playing style that combined strumming and plucking, using all parts of his guitar and 30 tunings he invented. from

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