Stephane Beaudin

Stephane Beaudin

Gordie Johnson following new path

NANAIMO – Guitarist's duo, Sit Down Servant, plays with Lee Harvey Osmond Wednesday (Oct. 23).

It started out as a way to help rehabilitate his injured hand, but now Gordie Johnson’s newest band Sit Down, Servant is here to stay.

The gospel-tinged, blues duo Johnson shares with Stephane Beaudin, drummer from Big Sugar, quickly recorded an album prior to a tour with George Thoroughgood last year. A Nanaimo show at the Queen’s was one of the first they played under the Sit Down, Servant moniker.

“It has evolved a great deal since then,” Johnson said. “We’ve been playing constantly.”

When the tour ended, Johnson headed back to his home in Texas and joined Beaudin in a house gig there. They started branching from the gospel theme and into more jazz standards, blues and even some hip-hop.

Heading out on tour with Joe Satriani earlier this year, that repertoire came to include everything from Bob Marley to the Police and even some old movie soundtracks.

The set list might change again before their show on Wednesday (Oct. 23) with Lee Harvey Osmond at Nanaimo Entertainment Centre.

“There’s a lot of gigs between now and then,” Johnson said.

Johnson, who is probably best known for fronting the blues-reggae band Big Sugar and producing hits like Turn the Lights On and Nicotina, underwent surgery last year for carpal tunnel syndrome, a debilitating condition that affects the tendons in the wrists and is often caused by repetitive strain.

After surgery to rehabilitate his hand, he picked up the steel guitar and started playing the familiar gospel songs.

“It’s turned into a love affair with the steel guitar and it started out as a necessity,” Johnson said. “I’m fascinated with the instrument from all perspectives.”

His hand is healed, and had no symptoms during Big Sugar’s summer tour, or gigs with his other bands Grady and Wide Mouth Mason. Fans expect a certain sound from those projects, but Sit Down, Servant can go in completely different and varied directions.

“With Sit Down, Servant, there really are no expectations,” Johnson said. “It seems a little void of course – I’ll just hang on and go along for the ride.”

The show features another great from Canadian rock – Lee Harvey Osmond is the latest project from Tom Wilson, from the band Junkhouse and Blackie and the Rodeo Kings.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at Arbutus Music. For more information, please call 250-618-7434.