Don't Let This One Slide

April 7, 2012


Dennis Johnson and the Mississippi Ramblers will be at the Waucoma Club on Saturday, April 7.

Jim Drake’s Entertainment Blog

Don’t let this one slide

The first thing you see when you go to Dennis Johnson’s website ( is a close-up of his acoustic guitar. You can see the wood grain on the top soundboard. It has this well-aged look to it — an aura seems to surround the instrument.

When you walk into a guitar shop, there’s usually a whole wall of guitars hanging up in a row. A lot of them look the same. But I can picture in my mind, this particular guitar hanging up on the wall, with all the others. And I picture myself choosing that one from all the others — you know, to try out. I’m really hoping he brings it to the gig.

Dennis Johnson and the Mississippi Ramblers will be at the Waucoma Club on Saturday, April 7, 9 p.m.


Thanks for making a stop in Hood River. Have you been here before?

This is my first visit to Hood River. I have heard great things about the city and The Waucoma Club. It’s a beautiful area. I’m really looking forward to the show.

Most of your online photos show you playing a parlor-style Martin acoustic guitar with what looks like a custom soundhole pickup. Can you give us the details on that instrument and why you chose it for your slide-guitar playing?

Its a 1961 Martin New Yorker and my favorite guitar. The pickup is a humbucker from the 1970s. It has a nice tone for slide guitar. Its a very playable instrument.

Please tell us who influenced your playing growing up and who do you currently listen to?

My main influences are Robert Johnson and Roy Rogers. I also listen to a lot of horn players like Wynton Marsalis and Louis Armstrong.

Your website says you have an album called, "Slide Show." Are there any other projects in the works?

There is a new album to be recorded in the fall. I am almost done writing and arranging it. It will bring slide guitar to some new musical genres like New Orleans style music, Duke Ellington and maybe some latin music.

It looks like you guys play a lot of blues festivals. How do you arrange your setlist to handle the smaller clubs?

The audience is key. Some audiences love to listen more and some to dance more. I try to play music that people enjoy listening or dancing to. Smaller clubs get the audience closer to the music and they can hear much more musical nuance.

Thanks for your time Dennis and enjoy your visit to the Gorge!

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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