Blues Bytes


March/April 2018

Johnny Fink and the Intrusion
CD Baby


Johnny Fink and the Intrusion used to be known as the “Best Kept Secret in the Midwest Blues Scene,” but in recent years, that’s changed for the better. The band had a very eventful January this year. Their debut release, JFI, made it to the final 12 in the Best Self-Produced CD category at the International Blues Competition, and the band itself (Fink – guitar/vocals, Matt Newman – bass, Doug Moore – drums/percussion) made it to the finals in the Best Band category for the second consecutive year after making the semifinals in 2016.

JFI is a strong indicator of what has enabled this fine trio to make the I.B.C. finals twice in a row. Fink is a powerhouse guitarist and vocalist, and he wrote all nine tracks, with nary a clunker in the bunch, ranging from contemporary blues to pulse-pounding rockers to tender but tough soul. Newman and Moore are rock solid in support, and the band gets assistance on several tracks from keyboardist Jimmy Rogers.

Things start off with in a John Lee Hooker mode on the sharp opening boogie rocker, “Oh No,” then moves to “Hey Hey Hey,” a slick and understated shuffle that really sneaks up on you. “The Fall” is a fine slow blues that puts the spotlight on Fink’s splendid vocal and guitar, and “Let’s Hear Some Blues” is a fun track that finds Fink and a raucous group of backing singers paying tribute to several blues legends (see if you can identify the familiar riffs).

“Damn Broke” is another marvelous slow blues that mixes in Rogers’ keyboards. Fink really does an excellent job on these slower blues tunes, really pouring his all into the vocals and guitar. On the humorous rocker “Knew She Was Looking,” Fink shows his impressive slide guitar chops, while “Go Away” and “Pain” are both slow burners, the former geared more toward the rock side of the aisle and the latter venturing into soul and blues territory. The closer is “It’s Alright,” a blues rocker with a dose of funk thrown in for good measure.

As far as debut releases go, JFI is one of the best I’ve heard. These guys have been playing for a long time and have had a couple of decades to get the kinks out. Based on the strength of this release, as well as their past two I.B.C. appearances, it’s plain to see that Johnny Fink and the Intrusion’s days as a “Best Kept Secret” in any location are numbered.

--- Graham Clarke



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