“The blues is all right with” Johnny Sansone. For nearly 30 years, New Orleans has been home to this electric blues singer, songwriter and musician. Born in West Orange, New Jersey in 1957, Johnny left his home state in 1975 to attend college and then moved around the east, west, Midwest and then the southern United States before he settled in New Orleans in 1990. But, Johnny is more than just another resident blues musician of “The Big Easy.” He is a survivor. As both a witness to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and a participant in the restoration of New Orleans, Johnny Sansone is inspired to look to the future in his new album, “Hopeland.”
Hurricane Katrina, a mammoth storm 400 miles wide with winds from 100 to 140 miles per hour, made landfall the morning of August 29, 2005. More than eighteen hundred people died as a result of Katrina, and much of the death and destruction took place when water rushed through broken sections of the levee system. By the next day, eighty-five percent of New Orleans was flooded. Of those who left, many never returned. But some residents did come back to join others that stayed to help rebuild the city.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, lives are still being affected. After nearly a decade and one half, the city and Johnny Sansone have been steadily coming back stronger. The harmonicist, accordionist, guitarist, pianist and blues recording artist incorporates various styles into his music and songwriting, including Cajun, Southern soul and Chicago as well as Delta blues. Johnny was nominated for numerous awards, and won the 2012 “Song of the Year” award at The Blues Music Awards for his original composition, “The Lord is Waiting, and the Devil, too.” To date, Johnny Sansone has released over 14 original albums since his debut album in 1987, “Where Y’at” with his touring band, Jumpin’ Johnny & The Blues Party.
Since 2005, Johnny Sansone has joined Tab Benoit, Cyril Neville, George Porter Jr., Anders Osborne, Johnny Vidacovich, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, and Waylon Thibodeaux as members of The Voice of the Wetlands Allstars. The super group, which spotlights environmental activism through music, have become a regular feature at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Johnny Sansone’s newest offering, “Hopeland,” features eight original songs with North Mississippi Allstars brothers Cody and Luther Dickinson along with Anders Osborne and Jon Cleary. Fans have anticipated its release for three years and, although some may ask, ” why so long,” all of them know that it has been well worth the wait.
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