It seems as if 2015 has witnessed an abundance of good music released into the world, more than in most years. On one hand it can be attributed to the internet and a plethora of small labels popping up all over the place looking to carve a niche in the musical landscape. On the other hand there has always been good music out there for the taking and today more people are searching for it. With his second solo record – Sticks and Stones – Austin, TX guitarist Johnny Chops has released his new songs into the musical abyss to see it garnering approval from fans, peers and critics alike.
Sticks and Stones is an eleven song romp through Johnny Chops guitar filled world. Building on a straight forward rock foundation Johnny mixes in an equal amount of blues, country twang, sparse folk sounds and soulful rhythms. Tracks like “Broken Record”, “Sticks and Stones” and “Nobody Gets Everything” treat listeners to Johnny’s ability to fold multiple layers into his songs without them becoming muddied or overstuffed. His lyrics shine on “Coming Home Easy” as Johnny sings about life on the road. He is at his best on “Heartbreak Goodbye” and “Praying For Rain”, two tracks that are complete opposites. The first is a raunchy blues infused tune offering up raw vocals and fuzz filled guitars while the other is a jaunty country blues number that rambles on through listener’s ears.
Johnny Chops takes Sticks and Stones into many different directions without it getting out of hand holding everything together with his guitar playing. The bluesy feel and classic guitar rock sound the album possesses is similar to Izzy Stradlin’s solo material without feeling like it is a copycat of Izzy’s sound. From start to finish Sticks and Stones is an entertaining listen with different layers emerging on each listen. This is the type of album that makes listening to music fun.