Orville Johnson

Dobro, Lap Steel, Guitars

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43 Reviews (23 Verified)
Orville Johnson on SoundBetter

Virtuoso multi-instrumentalist (gtr., mando, banjo, lap steel, etc) soulful singer, and the top dobro player you'll find west of Nashville. Played on over 500 CDs, many movie, video, and game soundtracks, and done instructional videos for Jamplay, Peghead Nation, and Acoustic Guitar. Known worldwide for his dobro and lap steel playing.

I offer my services as a session musician specializing in dobro, lap steel, guitars, slide guitar, mandolin, and banjo. I am a good lead and harmony singer as well. I've produced over 30 albums for others as well as all my own albums and enjoy producing. I've composed and played on many soundtracks for movies, PBS and NPR, and games. I can create quality tracks in my home studio and am willing to travel reasonable distances for projects (expenses and costs negotiable). i've been a pro musician for 45 years and enjoy all aspects of playing, recording, and producing music.

Click the 'Contact' above to get in touch. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Credits

AllMusic verified credits for Orville Johnson
  • The Ink Spots
  • The Hanumen
  • Laurie Lewis
  • The Halyards
  • The Halyards
  • Mia Vermillion
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  • Star Anna
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  • Laura Love
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  • Jennifer Leonhardt
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  • West Valley Highway
  • Hans York
  • Hans York
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  • Laura Love
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  • Marc Bristol
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  • Kings of Mongrel Folk
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  • Marjorie DeMuynck
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  • Mark Graham
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  • Jim Page
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  • Lyndon Laminack
  • David Roth
  • Dale Russ
  • Marjorie Richards
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  • Anne Hills
  • Laura Love
  • Steve Gillette
  • Jamie Anderson
  • Jamie Anderson
  • Annie Gallup
  • Annie Gallup
  • Annie O'Neill
  • Artis the Spoon Man
  • Artis the Spoon Man
  • Chris & Carla
  • Chris & Carla
  • Jo Miller
  • Jo Miller
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  • Lisa Koch
  • Lisa Koch
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  • Annie Gallup
  • Dos Fallopia
  • Dos Fallopia
  • P.F. Sloan
  • Laura Love
  • Laura Love
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  • Ranch Romance
  • Mando Morphosis
  • Mando Morphosis
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  • Paul Specht
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  • Grant Dermody
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43 Reviews - 3 Repeat Clients

Endorse Orville Johnson
  1. Review by Broadcast2World
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    Always amazing to work with Orville, on time delivery with awesome quality work.

  2. Review by Steve B.
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    Orville blew me away. He went above and beyond. The guitar work he did for my country song were fantastic. I highly recommend his work!!!

  3. Review by Kiara N.
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    Orville provided exactly what I needed and went above and beyond to make sure I was happy with everything. A very talented guitarist with a great ear for music. So glad to have worked with him on this project!

  4. Review by ianmalcolmbowers
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    Orville ticked every box on the lap steel project I sought him out for. He was communicative, punctual, and thorough. And, most importantly, his playing contributed a lively and soulful new dimension to my song. The track is much the better for for having his musicianship on it.

  5. Review by Erica L.
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    Orville is an incredibly talented musician with an intuitive feel for providing the best options. He is extremely thorough and I found working with him to be a pleasant experience above and beyond expectations. His awesome dobro tracks will undoubtedly enable me to take my music to the next level.

  6. Review by kylestauffer
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    Orville was a true pro. You can just feel his seasoned experience oozing out of his guitar and dobro on the track. Plus aside from crazy great musicianship, his recording quality was super clean and perfect as well. Will be back for sure!

  7. Review by WINTERSMITH
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    Orville was a total pro and a pleasure to work with. He went the extra mile with revisions and delivered an outstanding track.

  8. Review by Shambala Records
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    Great job

  9. Review by Labronn C.
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    Composed an excellent guitar part for me based on my descriptions of what I had desired. He's very responsive, fast, and efficient. A very down to Earth individual and a pleasure to work with.

  10. Review by Mark B.
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    It was a pleasure working with Orville, a true artist and pro, very easy to get a great take on a lap steel. Very generous with his time and attention to getting what the song needed.

  11. Review by Siri S.
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    Orville was really awesome to work with, you won't be disappointed!
    You get the whole package wth Orville.. Quick & clear communication + Giant talent = great results.
    Thanks Orville!
    -dj.redlox

  12. Review by Nicolas C.
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    Orville is very professional and dedicated. Recommended

  13. Review by Broadcast2World
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    Working with Orville has always been fun. He has got the right ear for music and understands the requirement. A true professional with quality service.

  14. Review by Ludvig I.
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    Amazing player and collaborator. Recommended.

  15. Review by Broadcast2World
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    Orville is a very professional artist. His voice is excellent and fits all sorts of genres. It was a great experience working with him.

  16. Review by Peter B.
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    Orville really went above and beyond helping me with an acoustic guitar and then dobro tracks. As I wasn't sure what I wanted he obliged and made revisions until I was satisfied. Besides that, he's also a super musician. Thanks Orville!

  17. Review by Andre Galiano
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    Orville played lap steel in 3 songs of mine and it was excellent in every way! He created his parts and delivered them very quickly, adding a whole new level to my songs. He is an amazing musician! Will definitely work again with him!

  18. Review by Ezra V.
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    Very pleased with Orville's work on my songs..again. He brings a professionalism to the tracks, works efficiently and delivers quality thought-out parts. Glad to have his fine work on the project! .

  19. Review by Noe G.
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    by Noe G.
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    Very professional, well recorded vocals, was a pleasure to work with, 100% recommended.

  20. Review by Ezra V.
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    I came back for more banjo and as usual very impressed with Orville's pick'n. What I like about Orville is sonically his quality of instruments and recording equipment is better than I have in house and of course his performance and creativity is spot on.

Interview with Orville Johnson

  1. Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?

  2. A: A few folks I know and have worked with are Mark Graham, who is about the best harmonica player you'll find in a variety of styles and Amy Denio, a multi-instrumentalist whom I've mostly heard on horns, accordion, and vocals. She's also a great composer/arranger.

  3. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  4. A: I get inspiration from great musicians of the past like Mississippi John Hurt, Rev. Gary Davis, and Muddy Waters, musicians from my lifetime like Mike Auldridge, Doc Watson, Lowell George, Bonnie Raitt, Ray Charles, the Band, and current sounds I hear from Jason Isbell, Bill Frisell, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Chris Stapleton, and music production folks like Joe Henry, TBone Burnett, Dave Cobb, and Tom Dowd.

  5. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  6. A: I like to talk with them about music they like and, particularly, if they could describe what they're looking for in terms of an artist, a band, a record, or some musical touchstone that we might share that can get us to the place of understanding how I can best help them realize their dreams.

  7. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  8. A: Hire people that can do the job, not your friends. A lot of studio time and money has been wasted on trying to get your buddy to play a passable part when you could have hired someone to play exactly what you want in a short time and not have to worry about hurting their feelings or having them "unfriend" you!

  9. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  10. A: The fact that I always get to do something I love. It's the best kind of job.

  11. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  12. A: Listening and reacting. Although I've successfully done many sessions where I've been required to play a written part, my greatest skill is to listen to music and react to it with my own musicality and emotion. I'm a self-taught player, not a music school guy, so emotional reaction and deep listening have always been the keys to my learning, growing, and playing.

  13. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  14. A: I've been a professional musician since the 1970s, have played many styles of music, recorded and done sessions for nearly that long, plus I'm an excellent singer and interpreter of songs. I think this long arc of experience in both listening and diving deeply into the song myself helps me to know when something sounds really good and to recognize honesty and authenticity vs. artifice and imitation.

  15. Q: What's your typical work process?

  16. A: After being contacted by the client, I like to have a conversation about what they need to add to their project and how I can help them. Choosing instruments, talk about arrangements, see if we have some musical reference points in common that can help me understand what they're looking for, etc. Then I'll create a track (or tracks) for them and we'll confer again to see if changes are necessary.

  17. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  18. A: Dobro, slide guitar, and lap steel and other stringed instruments (ac. and elec.guitar, banjo, mandolin)-I'm usually adding parts to a production that's in progress when I do remote sessions. When I produce, it's normally in my neck of the woods, Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. I travel for live gigs, mainly on the West Coast.

  19. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  20. A: I'm probably best known for my work in the Blues, Country, Americana, and Rock. Roots music, as I characterize it. I've done lots of soundtrack work, jazz, electronic, and avant garde as well, but American roots music is my base.

  21. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  22. A: I have a small home studio for remote sessions and my own work. I use Pro Tools for my DAW, Apollo for my interface, mics from Neumann, AKG, and Chameleon Labs, monitors from Tannoy, pres from UAD and Trident.

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Orville Johnson Strung Out on Losin'

I was the Singer,Dobro, Guitar, Mandolin, Bass, and Percussion in this production

Terms Of Service

We confer on your needs, I create a track, you can come back for a revision. Costs are negotiable starting at $150 per track. Turnaround is a couple of days.

Gear Highlights
  • Protools
  • Neumann
  • Apollo
  • Tannoy
  • Apple
  • AKG
  • Fender
  • Gibson
  • Rayco
  • Guernsey
  • Dobro
  • Lollar
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