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Review: Adam Johnson plays energetic, sold out set at PA's Rock Trout Cafe (April 20/2024)

by Scott Roos

photos by Scott Roos (Scotty the Rooster Photography)

This past Saturday, April 20th, at Prince Albert's Rock Trout Cafe, country rocker Adam Johnson played an energetic and engaging set in front of a sold out crowd. Along for the ride was opener and local favourite Josh Stumpf. In general, it was a great night of quality entertainment within a top notch venue.


Kicking off the evening was Stumpf who brought along with him a very talented lineup of backing musicians that included lead guitarist and longtime collaborator Andon Schumack. Schumack's leads provided tasteful support from the opening notes of "That Song In This Truck" right through to the quartet's last song. Stumpf, to his credit, has an amazing voice capable of a lot of nuance when he sets his mind to it. There were a few flashes of absolute brilliance throughout the course of this set, as his smooth toned voice soared into his upper range where he was able to add a lot of emotional depth. At other times, though, Stumpf's voice has a kind of "autopilot" mode that it slips into. It's subtle to most but it's there. Thus making what he does melodically seem occasionally a little "samey".


Stumpf is young . Time is on his side. As he continues to acquire valuable performing experience such as this slot opening for Johnson, he will work out the kinks in what he's doing in terms of vocals and stage presence. He's the type of performer that gets better every time you see him and that's very encouraging. He's very charming. He's a student of the game and was a class act on this night. In short, the sky is the limit for Stumpf and this potential was clearly evident at the Rock Trout.

After a brief pause in the proceedings, Johnson took the stage alongside bandmates Mitch Webb (guitar), Billy Rowe (bass) and Darcy Deschambault (drums). Johnson's energy level was almost like he had been shot out of a canon as he led off with the aptly titled "Come On Let's Go". Johnson's stage presence proved magnetic as the dance floor filled on several occasions. Permeating his set with a few eccentric choices of cover songs like The Glorious Sons' famed "S.O.S.", The Stones "Sympathy For the Devil", and the Traveling Wilburys' "Tweeter and the Monkey Man", Johnson was able to deftly, metaphorically tap dance from one tune to the next with enthusiasm and a double portion of well timed banter.


Musically, this band was tight. Webb came off shredtastically whilst Rowe dutifully chugged along on the bass, holding down the bottom end. SCMA award winning drummer Dechambault was essentially in the pocket all night. Johnson, in particular on his original tunes, showed off his voice adequately and the audience lapped it up. The covers were hit and miss.


Local singer Taya Lebel, at one point, joined Johnson on stage for a spirited rendition of his "Last Call At the Bar". It was great to see Johnson bringing in local talent to share the stage with him in the case of Stumpf and Lebel. Paying it forward in the music business is good for karma and Johnson, to his credit, with his lively stage demeanor and honest approach to performing comes off as a pretty good dude. In short, with Johnson at the helm, a fun time was had by all in attendance. It was a most enjoyable affair at the Rock Trout this night.


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