Blind Brand X Yesterday I'll Be Happy

After putting out five releases over the past two years that reclaimed a good portion of his 30-year back catalogue, Vancouver, BC guitarist Ralph C. Johnston has finally ventured back into the studio to lay down some new material. Working under his pseudonym Blind Brand X, as opposed to his other handle (Ragtime Ralph), Johnston appears to fully embody the legacy of his mentor, the late John Fahey, in taking blues-based acoustic guitar playing to the furthest limits of the imagination. Ingrained within both their styles is the notion that something truly mystical exists at the heart of what early blues artists like Charley Patton and Mississippi John Hurt did. And with that in mind, it's easy to get lost in Johnston's incredibly fluid technique. Along with blues, he utilizes gospel themes ("When The Saints Go Marching In") and even deconstructs Johnny Cash's "Ring Of Fire." It adds up to a challenging, but ultimately engrossing listening experience for anyone who appreciates guitar playing at its highest level. (Empty Square)