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Merciful Dwelling

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Customer Reviews

Will be missed

I had the opertunity to see him play live in a mall. I know it sounds bad but everyone starts some where. I am in to Hard Rock but his style caught my ear and I was drawn to his music. I have never heard piano played in this fashion before. He is one of the greatest musicians I have ever heard. Please give his music a chance you will not regret it. He is no longer with us so enjoy what little music he left behind. To his wife and kids Thanks for following through with the release of the albums to iTunes and I am sorry for your loss.

Reviewed in 1998

I seriously believe we have a star in the making here! Much younger than most of the artists of this genre (23), Dax Johnson has experienced more in his years than most people do their entire lives. When I read that he was a self-taught pianist, a former drug addict and alcoholic, and a diagnosed manic depressive, I expected the CD to be dark, brooding, and musically all over the place. Was I ever wrong! The pieces are all fully-realized piano solos, and Johnson is an excellent pianist as well! He began his musical career by trucking his piano around the streets of Spokane, Washington, playing his concerts to all who would listen. Johnson calls his music neoclassical, but his themes are very personal - songs for family and friends (past and present); musical descriptions of what manic depression feels like; a theme for a bizarre dream; and even a great blues piece. As one would expect, there are many moods expressed on the CD, but the overall effect is very stirring and uplifting. It is difficult to pick a favorite track on this album because they are all so good and so moving. “Introduction (Welcome)” opens the CD with a free-from “blurb” (Johnsohn’s word) that serves as a powerful prelude to what is to come - no music to sleep to here! Pieces such as “A Search for Significance” and “The Lonely and Faded Away” are a bit darker, but there is always a feeling of hope along with the searching. “For Rain”, “Beloved” and “A Father and Son” are sweet love songs. If I had to pick just one piece to take with me, I guess I’d choose the title track, “Merciful Dwelling” - strong, melancholy, but looking forward; the mood takes a swing upwards toward the end, and trails off in a lovely flurry of piano keys. An incredible album from an artist I’m sure we’ll be hearing from often as his career progresses!

Can't stop listening to this artist

I just bought his CD on I-Tunes and want to share some thoughts on his music.
I am NOT a music critic . . . this is just me sharing my feelings on this guy's stuff.
(I also hope any sales help his family.)

There is a raw sensibility that comes through in his stormy songs, a blazing honesty.
Yet he has capacity for kindness and this complex emotional range that is mirrored in his music.
(Translation . . . you will not be bored!) wink emoticon

The mood and tonality may be minor with a rough, jagged piano bass (almost granite edged.)
Yet he often combines these with a dizzying cascade of delicate counterpoint in the higher octaves.

I wonder if the juxtaposition was a metaphor for his own conflict? It drew him to write with such immediacy, and openness.

Many of the songs rip dark bass currents underneath spiraling notes. They spiral up, spearing rapidly in fiery lines "vanishing" into the highest ranges. .
Then they flow precipitously with the feeling of a waterfall, unrestrained and forceful.

Yet some of the songs are gentle and sweet.
So there is this flux between vulnerability (poignant) expanding out to a churning struggle.

You can catch his videos on Youtube.

Just love this music!I

(He died very young, as anyone who has read my posts about him will know.)

Merciful Dwelling, Dax Johnson
View in iTunes

Customer Ratings