Ivas John

Good Days A Comin/
Right Side Up Records

Ivas John CD coverWhen you start to listen to Ivas John’s Good Days A Comin’, it’s like a warm summer day sitting on your back porch with a pitcher of fresh-made lemonade and slabs of meat slowly grilling on the barbecue. You’re transported to a day meant for lazing in the sun with good friends, as Ivas provides feel good music on his guitar played just for you. That’s exactly how it feels.

Ivas John grew up in Chicago and fell in love with the blues as he was exposed to some of the city’s best. Over time he put together his own band, building a reputation with his high-powered electric blues throughout Illinois and SE Missouri. He released four albums under that style, and has also worked in band led by regional heroes Rip Lee Pryor and Martin Albritton (formerly with Big Twist & The Mellow Fellows). But his latest release, Good Days A Comin’, is a departure from that electric band direction, and delves deep into acoustic folk, bluegrass and country blues arrangements. It is rich in Americana roots music. Sharp and clean, with extraordinary story-telling, mostly original compositions of his own, a few co-written with his father and a cover here and there from people like Merle Travis, Tom Paxton.

Aside from John’s adept solo guitar picking and soothing vocals that highlight the album throughout, he also employs side musicians in a totally acoustic format, using fiddle, mandolin, upright bass, drums and dobro.

The album opens with the sprightly pace of “Goin’ Back to Arkansas” which encompasses a nice jug band old-timey feel. “Things Ain’t Been The Same” is a mournful tune about lost love and heartbreak. Tom Paxton’s “Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound” takes a personal reflection of just where life may be taking him as he travels down the road and the people he meets. John retells Merle Travis’ “Dark As a Dungeon,” filled with emotion befitting the tale of coal miners seeking better working conditions. There’s a nice ragtime flair to “Payday Boogie.” And the album closes with John’s spectacularly beautiful solo instrumental of “Sunday Morning Blues.”

If you like the blend of the early works of Ry Cooder and JJ Cale, the joyfulness of Keb’ Mo’ or the impact behind Doug MacLeod’s story songs, then Ivas John will fall right into your idea of guitar playing songwriters. He may have cut his teeth with the electrified sound of the city’s blues, but John has found a true niche with his acoustic delivery. Rootsy and full of heart.

Total Time: 42:19

Goin’ Back To Arkansas / Here I Am / Roll Mississippi / Dark As A Dungeon / Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound / Greenville Trestle High / All Along / Things Ain’t Been The Same / Keep Your Train Movin’ / Payday Boogie / Wrong Road Again / Sunday Morning Blues

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