Slightly baffled by Eric Johnson

That Cal Webway

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His live shows are fantastic for that very reason. He will finish a Hendrix tune and follow it with a Jerry Reed, Wes Montgomery, Dylan, Monkees tune and kill at all of them. If he played blooze all night it be tough to watch. It is literally one of the things that made him popular. The first time I saw him (79’) he played Cream, Jeff Beck, Speedy West, Supremes and Ventures among his originals of the time.

Just noticed the Dumble Steel String Singer behind him in this clip. It’s a seminar.





"Everything Is Alright"

That song really fits his voice-
the way he's doing it! Alright!

(Usually I find his singing not strong, but passable).
 

dreamingtele

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I've been listening to some of his stuff, and enjoy quite a bit of it, but I find he spans across a wide range (too wide?) of styles, even on a single record. It swings from blues to pop to folk to new-age. I find it a bit disconcerting. He's obviously a great player, but I kind of wish he'd settle down a bit in terms of styles. Any comments or suggestions?

Hahahahaha.

There was a time that I was listening to one of his albums and one song played and I was like - wait, am I still listening to the same album? Lololol.

I cant listen to him for very long though. I cant pinpoint why. The same goes with SRV, but i know why, SRV’s piercing tone can really hit my ears and I cant stand it. But with EJ, theres something about him that I can listen to but quickly lose interest after a while.
 

4pickupguy

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"Everything Is Alright"

That song really fits his voice-
the way he's doing it! Alright!

(Usually I find his singing not strong, but passable).
Eric’s voice is a bit delicate for some of material he does live. He doesn’t exactly have a James Dewar power voice. When he covers something like Spanish Castle Magic he is punching a little over his weight vocally. Of course, Hendrix was not exactly a strong singer.
Now, on the songs that Eric writes I think they are stellar. 40 Mile Town, Friend, Showdown, Emerald Eyes are great vocally.


That being said, Eric was the only person I have ever seen do a Hendrix tune justice live.


Few people know what a great piano player his is:
 
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charlie chitlin

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I've been listening to some of his stuff, and enjoy quite a bit of it, but I find he spans across a wide range (too wide?) of styles, even on a single record. It swings from blues to pop to folk to new-age. I find it a bit disconcerting. He's obviously a great player, but I kind of wish he'd settle down a bit in terms of styles. Any comments or suggestions?
I think there are some over-the-top geniuses out there who have to do so much to keep themselves interested, they risk losing their audience.
Mark O'Connor, Bela Fleck and Danny Gatton come to mind.
 

jman72

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I've listened to Ah Via Musicom thousands and thousands of times- in college I would go to sleep listening to it through my headphones for months at a time. Easily my single favorite album of all time, and I enjoy the delicate vocal songs like "40 mile town" just as much as Cliffs. And I LOVE the variety on that album- he's a musician, not JUST a guitar slinger. And that album is SO STACKED that the unknown songs are better than most anything else out there- I mean, is there a greater instrumental guitar song than Trademark???!!!

Tones and Venus Isle are just as amazing and filled with just as much variety of styles. I think the Beatles analogy was great- so many types of songs on a single album.

But I also get why people might not "get" him. He came onto the scene before the internet, before youtube and tiktok where you can see a million shredders doing their thing 24/7. Back then, there was mystery in guitar playing- unless you saw him live, you just sat listening to his stuff thinking, "how in the world does he DO that???". He was somebody who kicked the whole guitar world on it's head, and as an impressionable 16 year old budding guitarist, he changed my life when I first saw him on ACL in 1988. Now, so many guitarists can do what he did, if you weren't into him in the late '80s-early '90s, he might not seem so impactful. For me, nobody does it better than EJ.
 

Lockback

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I have tried so hard for so long to get into Eric Johnson ... but I just can't.
His style, his runs, they just don't appeal to me.
He's obviously hugely talented and I've heard he's a terrific guy. It's nothing personal. It's just a totally subjective opinion on my part.
If I'm going to listen to instrumental guitar music, I prefer Greg Koch.
 

Boxla

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I'm definitely an Eric Johnson fan. I remember buying A Via Musicom on both cassette and CD, just so I could play it in my car and at home on my newish CD player. That was in High School. I loved all of those fast players, Eric, Satriani, Vai, Gambale, McLaughlin, Steve Morse and DiMeola were probably my favorites. Of all of them, I probably only still really enjoy Morse and still like to listen to Eric from time to time. It probably has to do with the country type of picking. For the past probably decade to two decades, I have found that I really can't stand all the fast million notes per second type of guitar playing unless it's country picking. The shredding wears thin on me very fast when I used to sit through every instrumental guitarist show that came through Chicago. Throughout Covid, I have watched a lot of live feed DiMeola. I used to love it so much and now I watch him and it's pretty dang boring to me. There's no feeling, it's all just him sight reading and playing a bunch of notes.
This is a video I love of Eric because it shows us that he really is human. He's an incredibly talented human guitarist but it shows he can't do it all like a master all of the time and play nothing but perfection (which he of course has never claimed to do). His playing on this is 1000 times better than anything I'll ever be able to play but it does not sound the best next to a smooth master picker like Redd.
 
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