American artist Johnny O. was born on the pioneering West Coast but spent much of his formative years in the traditional South. An amalgam of musical influences from his upbringing forged the artist's creative expression realized in his bold first album, Blue Monkey. Having no patience for the phony image-making and constipated genre pigeon-holing rampant in today's music industry, Johnny O. set his own course toward an unfettered horizon. The result is a refreshing mix of gritty Americana, roots rock 'n roll and smokey blues wrapped in a "Texas sound" that conjures bitter chaparral and barbed lechuguilla. Yet despite it's jaundiced indictment of humanity's flaws, the lyrics of Johhny O.'s Blue Monkey also offer respites of salvation. The skeletons in the album's sardonic opening track "Everybody's Closet"can't suppress the hope and pursuit of forgiveness expressed in the haunting number "For All," which closes the album: But in my chest there's a heart still beating And, it's helped my spirit through And I know it don't fix nothing, but I loved you No glossy pop here. From the very start, Johnny O. was determined to avoid the cookie-cutter approach that has choked the soul out of modern music production. Most of the tracks were recorded without a click track. A free approach to production graces the album throughout with the unexpected, where acoustic guitars and Latin American percussion instruments blend with orchestral string sections and vintage Stratocaster. But in the end, all these diverse and free-ranging elements unite in a common theme: an exploration of the heart and soul of the human condition, scatter-shot with conflicted darkness and light. This is Blue Monkey.