You would say San Francisco native Dennis Johnson is one of the hardest working musicians with a deep passion for preserving and innovating roots music.
Dennis realized at a young age music was his calling. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dennis heard the music of Chuck Berry and it struck a chord with him. As a teenager, he taught himself the guitar and discovered his passion for slide guitar. He discovered the music of Robert Johnson, Roy Rogers and Norton Buffalo and was hooked. Dennis recalled “seeing Roy play the first time really blew me away. A huge influence on my music.”
Robert Johnson’s approach to guitar was the blueprint for Dennis’ evolution as a guitarist. Dennis explained “Robert‘s guitar playing sounded like two guitars. It’s a blend of rhythm and slide phrases that sound like two guitarists are playing when it’s really one guitarist. I approach guitar in much the same way.”
The road to becoming a professional musician was paved when Dennis met delta blues legend Honey Boy Edwards. “I was at a personal crossroads in deciding whether to be a musician. Honeyboy said 'if you like to play the blues, play the blues!' The eloquence of that statement was in its simplicity. When I shook Honeyboy's hand I felt an energy there. This was a profound moment in my life. It was fate”
Honeyboy's advice turned out to be a risk that paid off. In 2010, Dennis Johnson released his first album Slide Show to critical acclaim. Slide Show rose to the Top 50 blues CDs worldwide and No. 21 on the California Roots Radio Charts.