Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open - 104

HIT LIST

R E V I E W S

EJ goes
acoustic.

RENAISSANCE
GUITARMAN

E

ric Johnson digs deep. Not
in the way that guitarists
will explode an artery to nail
the ultimate epic guitar solo or
clone the microscopic nuances
of Stevie Ray Vaughan. EJ is
about truth and beauty. If you're
still referencing Johnson's fastidious predilections regarding
guitar effects, 9-volt batteries,
and studio perfection as a
punch line, stop it. That was a
long time ago.
Johnson has been refining his
artistry by crafting his music
more organically. That reached

	

its zenith on the transcendent
Europe Live, an album that says
it all. His intervallic magic, compositional invention, and visceral virtuosity is all over that
record. Refusing to repeat himself, the introspective guitarist
chose to return to the essence
of what the guitar is about -
the song. It was the heartfelt
song that drew Johnson to
the guitar in the first place.
In an industry where dropping technical buzzwords and
acquiring gadgets has taken
precedence over making good

VINTAGE GUITAR	

ERIC JOHNSON

EJ
art, Johnson's latest explores
the purity of acoustic performance. EJ is his first acoustic
album and it offers insight into
his acoustic sensibility and
the singer-songwriters of his
youth. Forgoing the meticulous
process of his early recordings,
nine original compositions and

104	 February 2017

with Jimi
Hendrix's "One
Rainy Wish" as he incorporates
dreamy female background
vocals, a piano solo, and a
perky Americana-style chorus.
His original compositions "Fatherly Downs," "Wonder," and
"All Things You Are" bring together voice and acoustic guitar
seamlessly. Johnson's highly
developed acoustic style displays a tip of the hat to James
Taylor but with a higher degree
of virtuousity. He performs
these compositions without
ever overwhelming the song's
sense of flow or sentiment.
On "Once Upon A Time In
Texas" and "Song For Irene,"
Johnson, also known as a
student of the guitar, combines
the contrapuntal signatures
of Chet Atkins and Merle
Travis to great effect on two
entrancing instrumentals.
"Wrapped In A Cloud" is the
album's acoustic ensemble
centerpiece. Beautifully arranged, lush, and ethereal, it
includes cello and percussion.
It typifies Johnson's musical
compass to create and invite
with a deeper understanding of
self, clarity of consciousness,
and fulfillment. - Oscar Jordan

Eric Johnson: Max Crace.

four cover songs were recorded live to convey Johnson's
connection to his humanity.
Intimate, but wielding the
kind of musicianship that has
made Johnson famous, the
album kicks off with the Simon
and Garfunkel classic "Mrs.
Robinson." Johnson plays
with dazzling effortlessness
as earthy polyphonic lines
intertwine with brisk rhythms
and grin-inducing melody.
Johnson doesn't just copy the
song, he owns it.
He does the same


https://youtu.be/GAy0S5S4EL8?list=PL53533538AA730B62

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open - Cover
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