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When Hillstomp members Henry Kammerer and John Johnson met in 2001 in Portland, OR, at one of Kammerer's solo shows, Johnson had never been that interested in the blues. He was, however, interested in the self-taught slide guitar music that Kammerer was playing, and though he had studied jazz saxophone in school and was playing bass for local alternative rock bands, he agreed to play drums with Kammerer. Using a homemade kit, Johnson, with Kammerer on vocals and guitar, began to develop a unique style of country blues, releasing the debut album One Word in 2004. They followed up with The Woman That Ended the World in 2006.