Released by: Self Release
Release date: Out Now
01. So Excited
02. Still Doing Nothing At All
03. I Do
04. Hallelujah (What’s It To Ya?)
05. Feel What It’s Like to Be Loved
07. I’m On My Way
08. Nothing’s Worth Losing You
09. Let It Shine
10. I Got the Girl
Californian Rocker Johnny Lima seems to be very active in recent years. Since 2012 he has been touring the globe, playing shows in America, UK, Sweden, Germany and more. In 2014 his last record “My Revolution” came out and was one of the best Melodic Hard Rock records of that year. What is to come next? Some more shows in Northern Europe? But this time with an acoustic set? Maybe that was the reason why Mr. Lima recorded a full acoustic album. Before you begin to complain about “boring” unplugged stuff you should read further.
I can understand why people don’t like unplugged albums. Often they are just there to fill the gap until a new album comes out and often the songs on those albums are just warmed-up acoustic versions of existing songs. Not so on Lima’s “Unplug ‘n Play”!
For this album Johnny Lima wrote ten brand new(!) tracks and recorded them in a semi-acoustic way. That means bass and drums are still present and gives those songs some more rhythm. It would have been easier to just put old songs on this album, but you won’t find one old tune here. This is something that has to be honored!
The songs are all very enjoyable and have a focus on guitar and vocal harmonies, which makes this album sound more like singer/songwriter stuff than the traditional Arena Rock which Johnny Lima is known for. Yes of course this is a slower record. Personally I think there are a bit too many ballads on this album, but ballads fit perfectly into an acoustic arrangement. Nevertheless Johnny tries to keep everything a bit varied with some unplugged rockers like “I’m So Excited”, “Hallelujah” or the earworms such as “Let It Shine” and “I Got The Girl”. Those are the tracks, which allows this album to shine the most. Also the ballads are beautiful to listen to, if you like this sort of stuff. Johnny has once more put so much passion and love into his music that the slower songs such as “Still Doing Nothing At All” and “I Do” are worth listening to. Especially now around Christmas time this is simply beautiful and atmospheric.
With that said, Johnny Lima delivers a near perfect vocal performance, the production is crystal clear and of course Mr. Lima played every instrument on his own. Thumbs up for this full-blooded musician.
Getting straight to the point: if you are a sucker for acoustic guitars and you can also sink your teeth into some softer tones then you will love this album. It creates some very thoughtful moments with its beautiful harmonies and shows of a much different and more mature Johnny Lima. Buy yourself a Christmas gift and order “Unplug ‘n Play” on Johnny Lima’s Homepage. It’s worth every Penny!
Written by: Thomas Swarzkopf
Ratings: Thomas 8/10