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Local musicians stage unique benefit concert to support son of late ‘Darth Fader’ Johnson

Staff report
Fans of famed WoodSongs Old Time Radio Hour in Lexington knew chief sound engineer Kevin Johnson or, as host Michael Johnathon called him, “Darth Fader” Johnson who died suddenly Sept. 30. Top area bands will put on a Memorial Benefit Concert Saturday, Dec. 21, at Natasha’s Bistro and Bar to support Johnson’s surviving teenage son.
The 8 p.m. concert will include bassist A.J. Daugherty, Jim Gleason of The Johnson Brothers, John Knight of Ozone, Maggie Lander and Tom Martin of The Patrick McNeese Band, and Jason Sills of Autumn Ridge. The $5 cover will be donated by Natasha’s to the Kevin Johnson Memorial fund at the Bank of Lexington.
The unique group of local musicians will cover hits by John Mayer, Jim Morrison, Orgone, Daryl Hall, Cee Lo, The Eagles, Curtis Mayfield and Zach Brock, as well as favorite Christmas tunes.
“Kevin was the best audio engineer in the state of Kentucky,” wrote Johnathon in a piece for Ace Weekly.
Johnson was one of the first people folksinger Johnathon pitched his idea for WoodSongs to, and one of the first to volunteer. “‘You’re crazy, you know that,’ was his response. ‘Everybody else will think you’re crazy, too,'” wrote Johnathon. “Then he blinked a few seconds and said, ‘I’m in.'”
Johnson was chief engineer for the international broadcast’s live performance over 700 times in the last 20 years. “And show by show, week by week, artist by artist, he proved he was the best,” wrote Johnathon. “Famous musicians like Judy Collins, Exile, Bela Fleck, Ralph Stanley, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Kenny Loggins, Neko Case and Brandi Carlile trusted his ear. New artists that no one every heard of came on the show and bowed to Kevin’s knowledge to make them sound good.”
For reservations for the Memorial Benefit Concert, call 859-259-2754.

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