Tell Me A Story

Johann Helton

Jo-Town Records, 2004

REVIEW BY: Tammy Childs


I guess Idaho can produce something worthwhile other than potatoes. Surprise! Johann Helton wants to tell you a story. It is one of grace and ease, and taking time to appreciate a more leisurely life.

Tell Me A Story is string-driven. No vocals are included. Helton is unrestrained by convention and exemplifies the capabilities of his stringed instruments -- terz guitar, upright electric bass, classical guitar, and the 12-string guitar. He has been in the music business for over 30 years, playing and composing.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Pulling from various musical inspirations around the world, "A Peer Amid the Ruins" is inventive and original with its mid-eastern flair. Its colorful nature provokes the imagination. A man of peace, Helton's gentle heart comes through in the fluttering of his agile fingers. The strings sing out his love of art and dance on "Esperanza."

"Walking Backwards" draws in Helton's humorous side and combines the lighthearted comedy of the Pink Panther theme with the rock of "Smoke On The Water." He gives you something fresh and diverse. It is an odd duet, but the result is very enjoyable. "You've Got Mail" is another jovial piece and although not my favorite of the CD, it is still a healthy song.

He states, in regards to the natural world, "it just is, and breathes and unfolds." There is a natural flow to life and the same rings true of this artist's music. It breathes and each piece comes alive and unfolds a new dimension to his talents. "Easy Livin" builds on the desire of Helton to have a calming effect on the listener.

Simple but not simplistic, the title track "Tell Me A Story" is powerful and compounds my growing appreciation for this performer. Snapping in a bit of jazz, "Disguise The Limit" is backed up by Lawson Hill on drums and Benjamin Burdick on acoustic guitar.

This is a soothing album, which is Helton's intent. It is best played on nights when you have time to curl up in front of a fire, or relax with a good book and a glass of wine. Johann Helton wants us to remember slower, calmer days when life was simple and simple things were enough.

Rating: C

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2005 Tammy Childs and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Jo-Town Records, and is used for informational purposes only.