Bio

Imagine gripping the cold steel handlebar on the door outside of your favorite tavern on a Saturday night.  That slow rush of air from inside escapes as your boots hit the floor.  The classic neon-lighting that small town bars are famous for, and a genuine feeling of electricity, and excitement hangs in the air.  You head towards the bar stool you’ve been sitting at for years, and sit down among a sea of faces you’ve been seeing regularly day-in & day-out. Everyone's gathered together in your home away from home, as if your life somehow has become an episode of Cheers.

Your favorite barkeep gives you a wink and a nod. She has a voice full of the rasp, experience, & sharp-witted sarcasm that only ever comes with the wisdom of having seen it all.  She’s at the bar almost every night and knows exactly what you like to drink, so she slides an ice-cold draft down that old wooden bar top to be met by your hand. She breaks your twenty-dollar bill and lays the change neatly in front of you and that's where it will stay. That neat stack of dollar bills represents your designated tab and says to your friends that you might be here for a while.

You roll up your sleeves and take a look at the dusty face of the watch on your arm.  It says it’s 8:55 pm… that means the magic is about to begin – because at nine o’clock when the band goes on, you know it'll get rowdy. 

As the dim lights start to fade the jukebox plays its final song of the night, you can hear the hush of the crowd during those fleeting moments in the dark before the shouting begins and the band kicks in.  You can see the way it brings people together, how they cluster in groups provoking the musicians onstage as they listen, dance, and crowd closer to the front. They begin to fill in the space until there is no more to be had.  In that moment…maybe just for one night, they can forget their troubles & worries and just enjoy some time well spent, listening to the classic sounds of old time rock n' roll. 

As the lights begin to flash and the rhythm of the music picks up, you can feel your own heartbeat race with the collective energy & enthusiasm of the room. You can see from all the smiles in the crowd that they never want the moment to end or those house-lights to ever come back up.  Hopefully they don’t…hopefully it’s one of those "after midnight" kind of nights…hopefully the music keeps rolling till the cows come home.

These are the exact places you’ll find the music of Neil Gregory Johnson thriving in, playing his heart & soul out like his very life depends on it, because he knows that you're ready for an escape from the burden of normality, and the trivial pursuit of happiness.

Born to two parents that spent lifetimes of their own singing and playing in bar bands, Neil Gregory Johnson came into this world with the spirit of sound in his soul and the genuine desire to entertain.  Growing up immersed in the local scene where he’s lived in Douglas County, Oregon, Neil has been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to absorb a rich history & culture of west coast honky-tonk & bar-band music. He's taken that influence into bands of his own as he's ventured into several different genres and musical projects, and it accounts for much of his musical identity.

At the age of twenty-five, Neil would make the most important move of his entire career, deciding to leave behind the j-o-b once & for all. He’s been playing music as his chosen profession exclusively ever since, finding his way to the stage upwards of three-hundred times a year.

Now thirty years-old, he’s married to a beautiful wife, has children of his own, responsibilities to his family and in the role of the provider – Neil plays each and every show with such relentless passion & enthusiasm…because every reason he’s got to be up there on stage is at home depending on him; as a result, his incredible songwriting & performances carry a sincerity and authenticity unlike any other.

With his versatile & rhythmic finger-style guitar, his country-blues & roots-rock-based sound, and that genuine Americana-Folk attitude in his vocals & lyrics – Neil makes music that powerfully connects through authentic songs that people can seriously relate to and identify with.

On a mission to completely revitalize the bar-band scene and deviate from the standard cover band m.o. Neil makes a conscientious effort to create a fresh & unforgettable experience that celebrates the way classic sounds can bring all of us together for a great time – Neil’s determined to make a memorable impact & impression on the audience every time he takes the stage, wherever he’s playing.

Stepping back into the studio for the first time in several years with a stunning set of songs, Neil (with the help of his band) would spend over a 100 hours composing and performing the new material with engineer/producer Sean Flora (Cake, The Shins, Black Keys).  The spectacular results became the songs on his debut E.P.

"Extended Play Catalogue Vol. 1". Released officially in March of 2018, marks an impressive milestone for Neil’s music-career & shines a bright light on just how far he’s progressed and evolved as an entertainer and composer. 

Making his best music to-date and sounding inspired like never before – Neil Gregory Johnson gives his all to music, because music has given its all to him in return… you can only hope that some day you might find him in a dusty old home away from home near you.

 

UVV Magazine: 7 Question With Neil