Vu Jah De'


The CD cover of the new Johnny Roth CD Vu Jah De is some pretty hairy stuff, but the the music inside is easy as pie to dig into. Roth made instrumental rock guitar enthusiasts happy with his 2003 album, Still Not Talkin’ and five years later, Vu Jah De carries his guitar sound forward. Roth cites Carlton and Ritenour as big guitar influences yet one can also detect shades of Cropper and Betts amid the all instrumental fare on Vu Jah De. Once again producing, engineering, mixing and playing all the instruments, Roth does receive a big of help on the title track and “North Delta Heat” from his brother, drummer Barry Roth. Even with his scaled down budget, Roth proves masterful with plenty of chompin’ at the bit guitar instros on the boards.

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Musical Background

I’ve been playing guitar for about 35 years. I grew up in Pennsylvania with a very musical family which helped my learning curve quite a bit. My father, a drummer, and my two brothers, a drummer and keyboardist, all had their own bands so I had quite a lot of exposure to their musical exploits. I actually didn’t get interested in guitar until I graduated high school and from then on that’s all I wanted to do. After about 6 months of nonstop practicing I got into my first local band. And playing in a band is just about one of the quickest ways to learn.

New CD

My newest CD Vu Jah De’ was recorded mostly at my home studio in Pennsylvania. I moved to Florida in August of 2008 and finished recording and mixing the final tracks there. I enjoy playing and recording all of the instrument parts myself because that way I can take my time and make changes to any parts without worrying about stepping on someone else’s toes. But, sometimes it becomes a very long and tedious task for me recording that way. And, I have limitations on bass and keys so I’m considering bringing in other musicians in the future. Although, on Vu Jah De’ I did use my brother Barry on drums for two tracks. Everything I do is all instrumental so obviously I don’t have to worry about vocal tracks. I would also like to expand my writing to include a lot more room for improvisation. That’s where having other more proficient musicians on my recordings would be a major plus.

Favorite Guitars

My 1956 Les Paul has been and always will be my number one guitar. On Vu Jah De’ I used it for every track except “Funki Taki” on which I used a Takamine electric acoustic. I use my ‘56 Les Paul for both slide and straight playing. I leave it in standard tuning for slide and the action is just slightly higher than normal. I rarely ever use an alternate tuning. As for my amps I used a Carvin Bel Air on the songs “Blue Funk Con-Fusion” and “Vu Jah De’”. I went direct from guitar to amp with no pedals or effects for all of the songs except “Lakota” and “Slow Burn”. For those two I used a Blackstone Mosfet Overdrive into a Randall RM50 amp. For the rest of the tracks I used various amps and really can’t remember what I used because I had so many different amps that I was experimenting with.

Musical Influences

I actually started learning guitar by playing along with Ventures LP’s. I tried to learn every song I could from their albums. But then I discovered Hendrix and Cream and they opened up a whole new world for me. When the Allman Bros. Fillmore East album came out in the 70’s that was the start of my slide playing. I fell in love with Duane’s slide guitar and practiced to “Statesboro Blues” and “Done Somebody Wrong” for hours on end. Lowell George of Little Feat was also a brilliant slide player that I was extremely influenced by. I was also inspired by Dickey Betts melodic style and spent a lot of time studying him. As far as today’s players I love Derek Trucks and Robben Ford and too many others to be able to mention here.

Upcoming Plans

As for my future plans I have a ton of songs in the works that I need to get completed. I was hunkered down for a long time finishing Vu Jah De’. And, since I have that finished, I’ve been trying to work on the bits and pieces of all the songs I have floating around trying to get some to completion. Hopefully it won’t take me another 6 years to finish my next album. Now that I have relocated to Florida I plan to explore the live music scene a little more. When I left Pennsylvania I left my band mates behind, so I want to try to find the right musicians to get another tight band together. Of course playing my music live is where the real rush is for me.

Web Site

My websites are:


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