Johnny A.

Soft-speaking, Harley-riding guitarist Johnny A. grew up listening to Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix before cutting his teeth leading a short string of blues-rock bands. But the Bostonian bluesman really came of age in the early '90s as a member of J. Geils Band front man Peter Wolf's Houseparty 5. Everything he learned about supporting a song by knowing when to show off (and, more important, when not to) has been incorporated into his now elegant style. Get Inside, A.'s most recent solo album, is a blend of smooth rock, jazz and blues tied together by a sweet, low tone and a constant emphasis on melody. The combination makes for a respectful version of Hendrix's "The Wind Cries Mary," but, hell, with tone like that, A. even makes "Wichita Lineman" sound cool.
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Sander Wolf