Blind Brand X and Dixie X Wreck of the Ol' 78

It's been thoroughly enjoyable to unravel the mystery of BC guitarist Ralph Johnston (aka Blind Brand X/Ragtime Ralph) over the last couple of years via his prolific stream of self-released instrumental recordings. That continues with this collection of country blues themes, which may be Johnston's most accessible work to date (if you're a blues fan, that is). But that isn't necessary to simply appreciate Johnston's acoustic guitar mastery, both as a finger-picker and slide player. It's telling that one of the people he dedicates this album to is the late Jack Rose, who shared many of Johnston's musical sensibilities, as well as the reluctance for self-promotion. With Rose lauded after his passing, it would be a shame for the same fate to befall Johnston. Wreck of the Ol' 78 is his seventh release and it's time for his greatness to be acknowledged on a wider scale. (Independent)