No Home Like Nowhere
Like a dishevelled railroad orphan with a six-shooter and a matching set from Tiffany's, Johnnie Ninety-Nine and her bindle of fables raft their way down both the frigid North Saskatchewan and the mighty Mississippi on a rough-hewn wooden door stolen straight off the hinges of the village church. In some circles, "johnny/ie' is a term of endearment. Johnny 99 is a rock solid Bruce Springsteen song. Probably thanks to some poor soul inspired by the first verse, a johnny ninety-nine is also a ruthlessly efficient beverage essentially using wine as a bed for a shot of gin. The Johnnie Ninety-Nine Band take a similar approach to their instruments, believing that high-proof music should be combined, not diluted. Johnnie Ninety-Nine, now based in Vancouver BC, has been playing music since she was big enough to crawl onto the piano bench in her parents' Albertan mobile home. By age 6, she was competing with music students more than twice her age at the provincial level in composition. Since then, she has eagerly attempted every aspect of the Muse she had an opportunity to explore, and has finally come full circle to an individual style heavily influenced by the Howlin' Wolf, Hank Williams, and Hendrix she was raised on. Drawing from her deep well of heritage - farmers to outlaws, Roseburg to Bajina Basta - every song is a humble gesture of respect to all the things that came before it. Recently compared to both Lucinda Williams and Steve Earle, Johnnie has performed and recorded with members of notable Vancouver rock groups Yukon Blonde and British Columbians [forthcoming EP "Whiskey Pushin'" recorded at The Hive Creative Labs], as well as reggae act Giraffe Aftermath and hot country up-and-comer Billie-Jo Bryce. In addition to the Good Enough For Canada! EP recorded off the cuff in a mere few hours with The Buskin' & Robbin' Band in Nashville this February, Johnnie Ninety-Nine has also just released full-length solo album No Home Like Nowhere, with band The Hornets, in June 2010. The Hornets converged like a crisis response team of borrowed hotshots in 2008, when Johnnie emerged, from a few months under a northern Alberta snowbank, with a record written and no one to play it with. Gathering for the first and only time in Vancouver during an intense 4-day live off the floor session, this diverse group stretched their strings from as far as Newfoundland and Oklahoma and breathed some warmth into the lonely frostbitten songs. After a long wait and a little spit-Polish, the result is a beautiful series of vignettes containing the rough and raw images that have become Johnnie's signature. Drivin' the train of boxcars loaded heavy with evocative vocals and grease-and-grit banjo and Wurlitzer, the Johnnie Ninety-Nine Band is Newfie-born James Green [The Hornets, Buffaloswans] on guitar and mandolin, as well as Ontario native and classically-trained-turned-fiddle player, L'il Red, and Manitoba bluesman Jake Stead [The Dusty Roads Band, Juno-nominated Burnt Project 1] on bull fiddle. Four provinces. Four perspectives. One helluva band. United by good tunes and good times, this hell-raisin' holy-rollin' posse have concocted their own special tonic of outlaw bluesgrass. With a diverse repertoire of distinctive originals and innovative covers, classic and modern, gospel to rock 'n' roll, Raffi to R&B, the Johnnie Ninety-Nine Band have the cure for whatever ails you. Their travelling medicine show brings merriment to folks of all ages.