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Jon Justice - The Rebound

Cincinnati-based guitarist and vocalist Jon Justice seems to somewhat of a force of nature in his adopted hometown (he is originally from the Chicago area.). He was named to the Best of Cincinnati list by City Beat Magazine, won the Cincinnati Blues Challenge, and has been nominated for three Cincinnati Entertainment Awards.

One listen to his second CD release The Rebound and it is a no-brainer to see why Justice commands so much respect. He writes and plays some of the greasiest, grooviest blues/soul/swamp music seen in these parts in many a moon and he is equally skilled in standard and slide guitar styles, which he showcases with great taste all over the disc. He also arranged and co-produced the record himself in an effort to maintain the purity of his sound and vision and tracked it all with his road-tested touring band. The result of all this hands-on attention is a much more personal album than his debut effort Forget About Time and one that truly reveals all that Justice is capable of.

When instrumental skills are equal, it is the songs that divide the haves from the have-nots and the writing on The Rebound puts Justice squarely in the former camp. It is almost a shame that this music didn’t come out 30 years ago when blues-based music got more radio time than it does now, because some of these songs would have been hits, especially the opening cut “Nobody’s Bizness”, which is all fatback groove and slide guitar.

Justice is very good at channeling his blues, soul, and gospel influences into an original sound, which is tougher than it looks, and that skill makes his music organic and immediately friendly without ever falling into imitation or cliché. Justice is one of the new breed of blues artists trying to move their music beyond the bar band script the world has already heard so many times and he seems to be doing quite well with it. Hopefully, this record will raise his profile around the country to what it is in Cincinnati and his songs will attract the larger audience they justly deserve.

Reviewed by Mike O'Cull.

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