Live! in Minturn … today |

Live! in Minturn … today

Wren Wertin
Special to the DailyRichard Johnston is fresh out of the punk country blues scene. He plays Minturn today.

The festivities begin long before that, though, as the park opens at noon to the smells of Moe’s BBQ. The folks at Moe’s are paying for the music, and all proceeds go to the Minturn Community Fund, a non-profit organization whose purpose is to provide financial assistance to Minturn community projects.

Johnston, who is still riding the wave of his album, “Foot Hill Stomp,” is the only performer to win first place in the International Blues Talent Competition as well as the Albert King Award for most promising blues guitarist. He accomplished such a feat with the help of his handmade washboard-resonator and double-neck diddley bow, while whipping a full drum set with his feet. Who could turn that down? Of note, he paid for “Foot Hill Stomp” with his winnings.

Johnston began playing professionally while he was studying abroad in Japan. He soon became a club act in Nagoya. While playing, he was discovered by Bill Ellis, who encouraged him to return to the states and chase stardom, or at least careerdom.

He has since been labeled “a man who could be called the biggest unknown new sensation on the American blues scene” by Frank Matheis. Matheis also praised Johnston’s “Foot Hill Stomp” as fiery sizzling and unbridled.

It seems he has the future of new blues in the neck of his guitar.

Johnston takes the stage at 6 p.m., and will christen the new amphitheater in Minturn. Activities will be ongoing throughout the day, beginning at noon.

Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at or phone at 949-0555 ext. 618.

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