Richard Leo Johnson is a self-taught guitarist whose unorthodox acoustic style is reminiscent of the late Michael Hedges. While he is often placed in the new age camp, his sonic and rhythmic whirlwinds are often far more intense than that term implies. He claims Leo Kottke, John McLaughlin, and Pete Townshend as influences. Some will also detect strong hints of Larry Coryell, Ralph Towner, and Pat Metheny.
Johnson was quite successful as an architectural photographer before becoming a musician. His debut recording, Fingertip Ship, was released in 1999 on Blue Note Records. Language, also on Blue Note, appeared in 2000. Johnson's next three albums were released on Cuneiform Records, Poetry of Appliance in 2004 followed by Legend of Vernon McAlister in 2006 and Who Knew Charlie Shoe? in 2007.