It’s a chicken and egg thing. Which came first? The blues or the guitar? Do you get the blues first and then the guitar or vice versa. No doubt that will be the kind of question that pub philosophers throughout the land will ponder for many a pint. Then again, the scientists amongst you – assuming that you can pull yourself away from that profitable meth lab – will no doubt assert a counter proposal that the guitar and the blues happen at the same time. They might even hold Glasgow blues rocker Gary Johnstone’s album “Failure Is Not an Option” as incontrovertible evidence that their assertion is true.
Truth is what it is all about anyway. You can’t play the guitar like Gary Johnstone without having worked at it for many a moon and that feelgood groove doesn’t just happen either. That’s the difference between being a real player and a mere guitar plucker, if you like. His style, accordingly, demonstrates an easy going fluency that enables him to overtake the slower traffic and stay in the fast lane all the way through his album. His songs may well provide little in the way of lyrical surprises but that hardly matters when you can give the people what they want and, undoubtedly, many a 12 bar connoisseur of the conventional will worship songs like “That Girl’s Gonna Hurt Me” and “First Love”. Yet, despite this blues power, the best songs on the album turn out to be the solid rock “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie” and the “bro” country styled “Ain’t Lookin’ For Love”. I therefore suspect the truth is that Gary Johnstone struck a very comprehensive deal when he went down to the crossroads.
Sometimes you know when something is right and that something is Gary Johnstone’s album. “Failure Is Not An Option” therefore seems an entirely appropriate title for it.