Run With The Wolf is the fourth solo album by Jay Jesse Johnson, the Indiana born guitarist who has been performing for over 30 years. Although he is not normally known as a solo artist, he was associated with three different hard rock bands in the 1970s and 1980s. Through those experiences he has had the opportunity to share stages with some impressive artists including Aerosmith and Johnny Winter. He is known for his hard-driving playing and Run With The Wolf is certainly a showcase for that.
Johnson has been likened to artists like Robin Trower and Mahogany Rush and those comparisons are apt on Run With The Wolf. His vocals are very nicely done and his soulful sound is a highlight of many of the tracks. The songs on this album are nice and long, and long meaning there are three songs over seven minutes long. It is not surprising that this album is over an hour long and has 13 songs.
The length is a double-edged sword. When they are good, the longer the better. When they sputter and lose momentum, they drag on and on. Examples of the former include the title track, “Run With The Wolf,” which is a fine song that gets stretched out to about six minutes. The opening track, “Hell Train,” is another fine example of a good groove for over five and half minutes. “Black Eldorado” is another very good longish song.
There is definitely a formula to his songs. They are fairly similar and consistent and while he shreds a lot, the songs lack depth to them. It is pretty obvious to see which tracks he liked and worked hard on, and which songs are album fillers. They may be five minute long album fillers, but album fillers nonetheless. It is a shame because he has a lot of talent as a singer and as a guitarist, and for every good song or two there is one that seems forced and tacked on.
This is all the more frustrating given the amount of quality songs he has here and how they are nearly all over five minutes long. He does not need to have more than an hour of music here. This album would have been much better off if he chopped off three or four tracks. He would be left with 45 minutes of very good music with no filler.
The Review: 7/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
-Run With The Wolf
The Big Hit
-Run With The Wolf
Review by Charlie DuMez