Dallas, TX songwriter/singer/guitarist has released his second self-produced CD, Holly Springs, TX. The title and music are drawn from Janky’s influences from the music of Holly Springs, MS — the juke joint blues styles of David “Junior” Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside. Janky leans more on the Hill Country Blues side (R.L. Burnside) than Cotton Patch Soul Blues (Junior Kimbrough) but both styles are represented on this release. Holly Springs, TX is so titled since Robert Kimbrough Sr., son of Junior Kimbrough and Holly Springs, MS resident, plays drums on all but three tracks played by Janky himself. Robert’s drum beats add a legitimacy and a certain level of “oomph” to Janky’s guitar riffs. Janky has his longtime blues traveler David “Hurricane” Hayden on harmonica, as well as old The 1969s bandmate, Landon Kirksey.
The first track, Juke Joint Shakka, comes out kicking like a strong pull of juke joint corn liquor, bound to make the most fickle bystander move to the dance floor. Janky gives his praise to a North Mississippi great on the track Play For Me Jessie Mae who is a huge influence. Janky features a special handmade cigar box guitar called a LoweBow on two tracks starting with his ode to the spirits on John Barley Corn and his praise to the Holy Spirit on Sanctified Boogie. The LoweBow is a handmade work-of-art made by John Lowe of Memphis, TN, and made famous by the likes of Richard Johnston, another huge influence on Janky. This particular version, similar to Johnston’s, has a guitar and a bass in one instrument allowing Janky to lay down bass and guitar simultaneously. Janky has guest vocalist Elli Koen share vocals on the humorous track Stone Cold Triflin as well as her performing backup vocals throughout the CD. The remaining tracks become more complicated and intricate but still rely on the ever-important rhythm and driving guitar riffs. Feeling Mighty Fine has the hook that will stay with you all day. I’m Mostly Alright illustrates Janky’s Junior Kimbrough influence. The last track, No. 17 Waves, is an impromptu track recorded on a Galveston, TX beach reflecting the vibes of being overtaken by a good guitar riff.
The CD cover was painted by Dallas artist Clay Stinnett who has painted many high-profile album covers to date. The liner notes were written by Dallas music promoter and blues impresario David Pippin.
Janky’s devotion to preserving the raw, uninhibited juke joint vibe results in a kind of electrified porch music that is both basic and well crafted, with keen attention given to the rhythmic secret sauce that makes the Hill Country sound so intoxicating. He makes liberal use of the drone-like chord structure, riffs, modified shuffles and odd instruments, such as the Lowebow cigar box guitar, to craft songs mostly centered on having as good a time as possible.