You’ve been able to hear Roland Johnson belting out his own take of Blues and Soul classics at regular gigs around town for years, but the singer has recently taken his music to another level with the release of his first album of original music.
With Imagine This, co-written with local musicians Paul Niehaus IV of Letter to Memphis and Kevin O’Connor from 7 Shot Screamers, Johnson tells some of the stories he’s collected during his 68 years. The album came in as KDHX’s eighth most played of 2016, with only two local releases ahead of him – Middle Class Fashion’s iii and a compilation album from the St. Louis Blues Society that features one of his songs.
Johnson says he tries to put himself into every song, every time he sings it, and if you come to a gig – whether solo or a Roland Johnson and the Soul Endeavor set – you’ll believe it. When you hear Johnson perform, the Riverfront Times assertion that “few singers in St. Louis can wrest something new out of “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” like Johnson can” makes sense. The group was named the Riverfront Times best R&B artist in 2007.
You can catch him most Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. at Beale on Broadway. He also performs at Blues City Deli and elsewhere in St. Louis. Check out his website and Facebook page for more show information.