A singer’s talent is complete when they can bring a crowded dive bar to a collective hush and also get one of the biggest audiences on the planet to a collective standing ovation. Stephanie Anne Johnson is that special singer. The front person for the Tacoma-based band, The Hidogs, can don a cowboy hat and sing over a slide as old timers weep. And they have wowed judges on the immensely popular NBC TV series, The Voice, showcasing their gifts.
Perhaps it’s no surprise that Johnson is so affecting. Their mantra, after all, is “Find your joy and go there.” Their prowess exudes whether they are singing the Black national anthem – “Lift Every Voice And Sing” – to a packed auditorium or whether they’re cooing acoustic lullabies to Saturday night tavern regulars. Their music, which is rooted in all that’s American, expresses the pain of the past, the roots of the down home and the hope that hard work will lead to proper reward.
The Hidogs, which is comprised of dynamic drummer Arturo Ortega Marcos, pocket-perfect bassist Jesse Turcotte and the prolific Johnson, is a nimble trio equal parts capable of shaking the shingles off a rooftop as making any stage feel like a Sunday service. The group’s latest LP, Take This Love, is a blend of Loretta Lynn and Valerie June. It’s a stunning catalogue of surprise and satisfaction.