An Interview with Daniel Johnson
What got you playing guitar?
My dad plays guitar, so I’m the product of a bad environment. Growing up it was always a social thing, jamming with friends and stuff.
Most embarrassing record you have purchased?
I’m not sure. I’ve got Take That’s Circus album which is great! Maybe the live DVD of that tour would be looked upon with scorn by some.
Some people know you as a blues guitarist, tell us how it feels to have brought out this traditional folk sounding EP and how do you find playing on the two styles? Does it feel very different for you or is it much more natural? Are you still playing blues guitar?
Yeah, my main style is blues guitar. Growing up I listened to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Clapton, BB King, Robben Ford…I’m most natural playing electric blues I think. But I love the harmonies of folk music, and the skill involved is amazing. I wish I could play like that. Guys like Martin Simpson blow my mind. I’m improving at my acoustic, finger-style playing. It’s a long way off my electric ability. I still play blues, but I also play pop, rock and jazz. Recently I’ve discovered Brad Paisley so I’m getting into country playing too!
Tell us about your new Ep, a bit about the songs, why you made something so different from the music you were playing before?
My new EP, Dawn of Glory, is a collection of hymns. Hymns and folk music are the only musical styles I resonate with in church. I don’t listen to much Snow Patrol and Coldplay, so I don’t listen to the Christian equivalents. I love songs that tell stories. Folk music is music where people come together to tell stories. That’s what should happen when churches sing together. God’s people telling God’s story, seeing their place in the great drama of salvation.
Is there a particular song on the Ep that captures your heart for the Ep, or that means more to you than the others?
I have different things I love about each song. I am in the process of writing blogs behind each song, which you can find here
I’d say Guiding Hand of Heaven is my favourite, mainly because it’s the oldest and the one that has been sung the most in churches.
Are you planning a launch gig for this EP?
Next year I will release the follow up, so I think I’ll do a joint gig for both albums, with a full band.
The proceeds of this EP are going towards helping vulnerable street girls in Senegal, tell us why you want to do this and why street children?
I have worked in South Africa with AIDS orphans when I was younger. My church support Adam and Sarah in their ministry. Adam is a fellow musician, so I feel a kinship with him.
I’ve recently become a dad for the 2nd time. The chances of my kids having to sleep on the street or live in constant fear and danger are tiny. They were born in a wonderful hospital and will be raised without ever contemplating hunger, and perhaps never knowing illness or suffering. But every child has the same worth, value and dignity. The fact that our world is tilted so that it is the weakest who are at the bottom of the heap shows that we are so far off the Kingdom of Jesus. No child should have to live or work on the street. If the proceeds from this can help in some small way, that’s a great thing.
Listen to songs on youtube.
Dawn of Glory
Guiding Hand of Heaven
The Dawn of Glory EP
Dan's blues band, This One Goes Up To Eleven