Orville Johnson

Orville Johnson

Orville Johnson is a guitarist, dobro and lap steel player, teacher, recording artist, and writer based in the Pacific Northwest.
country blues guitar fingerpicking lesson john miller

Video Lesson: Country Blues Fingerpicking

The Saturday night lineup at the 1963 Philadelphia Folk Festival included Elizabeth Cotten, Mike Seeger, Dave Van Ronk, and Mississippi John Hurt. In the audience that night was 12-year-old John Miller. The music that made the biggest impression on him…


A musical group pictured in black and white.

Learn to Play the Blues Classic ‘Careless Love’

Excerpted from Arranging Folk and Blues Songs “Careless Love” is a classic blues tune from the early-20th-century New Orleans jazz songbook. New Orleans’ trumpeter Buddy Bolden’s band, one of the pioneering groups in Dixieland style jazz, was known for its…


Fred McDowell with his guitar

Acoustic Guitar Gospel Blues: The Devil’s in the Details

This groove-heavy gospel-blues song is a lil’ bit of heaven and a lil’ bit of hell. “Don’t Let the Devil Ride” is one of many songs that collide at the intersection of gospel and blues history. As musician/pastor Reverend Elijah…


Orville Johnson posing with his guitar

Swingin’ Blues Soloing with Arpeggios

One way to add a coherent sound to your soloing is by using arpeggios. This helps in two ways: the repeating chord tones are always “correct” notes and playing the root, third, and fifth notes of a chord forces you…


Play a Ragtime Blues Thumb Roll

One of Blind Blake’s signature rhythmic ideas was a “thumb roll” in the bass. This quick note before the downbeat of the measure adds a unique bounce to the groove. To pull it off, let your thumb roll off the…