Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson is a top-rated guitarist in contemporary music. His artistic talent is what has made him a household name. He has received five Grammy nominations, a platinum album, and Top 10 hits such as “Cliffs Of Dover.” This accolade was backed up by praise from critics and the respect of his peers. He is also a talented songwriter, live performer, singer and pianist as well as song interpreter and creator of a rich musical legacy. Johnson’s unique musical talents are clearly evident in his new album, Up Close. It was released by Vortexan Music via EMI Distribution. Johnson’s new 15-track album features the celebrated master craftsman ripping loose. He explores a variety of rock, blues and pop styles, as well as guest singers Steve Miller and Jonny Lang. Johnson describes his album approach as “letting go” and allowing things to unfold. Johnson says, “I believe that this is a direction that works best for any artist, especially me.” Although I prefer my work to be proficient, I also want to enjoy the energy and magic of the performances.” This is evident in hook-filled songs like “Fat Daddy” or “Vortexan”, as well as Milligan’s driving vocal track “Brilliant Room”. “Gem” features bright six-string colors. “Soul Surprise” sees Johnson creating a beautiful tapestry from both his piano and guitar gifts. “Arithmetic,” meanwhile, summons up a swirling, spectral kaleidoscope with Johnson’s singing, keyboards, and guitars. The Mike Bloomfield/Buddy Miles-composed Blues song “Texas”, on which Miller sings, Vaughan’s and Johnson’s guitars play in stirring interplay and “Soul Surprise” features Johnson’s singing and Johnson’s piano playing. “Arithmetic” explodes into a joyous celebration of the deep, soulful groove. The collection is woven together by interstitial instrumental snippets such as the Indian-flavored opener “Awaken”, the dreamy “Traverse”, “The Sea And The Mountain”, and “Change (Revisited).” Johnson closes the CD with the upbeat grace note of “Your Book”, on which Landreth and Johnson interweave their playing, including Johnson’s impressive piano work, with an emotive elegance. Johnson’s most ambitious, urgent, progressive, and sometimes raw and passionate guitar work has been a highlight of the album. Up Close is a masterpiece of songwriting and sonic immediacy, thanks to Andy Johns’ mix. Johnson continues to explore new and compelling dimensions of his art. Johnson rose to prominence in contemporary music 20 years ago, as an “extraordinary guitar player accessible to ordinary musicians,” as Memphis Commercial Appeal calls him. His landmark 1990 album Ah Via Musicom sold a million copies. All Music Guide hailed it as a “record that has reached near-classic proportions in the guitar community”, but it was preceded with dedicated groundwork as an entertainer that marked Johnson as a talent bound to greatness. It was followed by an interesting musical journey that has inspired The New Age Music Guide, who proclaimed that Eric Johnson “plays guitar like Michelangelo painted ceilings: With a colorful vibrancy more real than life.” He is also a member of Guitar Player’s Gallery of Greats as well as being named one of Musician’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of 20th Century. He is also admired by many of his fellow musicians and has recorded and performed with such artists as Chet Atkins and Joe Satriani. This tour follows the release Up Close with an Acoustic Guitar Masters tour, where he shared the stage with Peppino D’Agostino, Andy McKee, and other six-string masters. Eric Clapton invited him to the Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2004. He will be playing his second stint on the Experience Hendrix tour this fall. He has paid tribute to Jerry Reed (“Tribute To Jerry Reed”), Stevie Ray Vaughan (“Tribute To Jerry Reed”) and Wes Montgomery (“East Wes”). He owns both a Martin MC-40 acoustic and a Fender Stracaster electric guitar. The video game Guitar Hero III Legends of Rock features “Cliffs of Dover”, which is the final winning challenge. Johnson has also recorded, toured and produced DVDs under his own name. He also plays with Alien Love Child, a side project that released an album in concert in 2000 called Live and Beyond. Johnson’s 1986 debut album, Tones, earned him an instrumental Grammy nomination. He was featured on Guitar Player magazine’s cover. The album earned him his first Grammy nomination. Johnson also received a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for the song “Zap.” Johnson released Venus Isle in 1996, following three years of concerted touring, which established him as a popular concert attraction. Seven Worlds, Johnson’s 1976 first album, was finally released in 1998. In 2002, Souvenir was released as a limited edition collection that included demos, outtakes, and live tracks. His 2005 studio album Bloom earned him a fifth Grammy nomination. Johnson’s popularity over the past 20 years is due to a grassroots rise that saw him establish his bones and reputation as a formidable musician and player. Johnson was a local sensation as a teenager in Austin with the psychedelic rock band Mariani. After being trained on the piano classically as a child, he moved to the guitar in 1964 when the Beatles arrived in the States. He was a keen player and explored blues, country, jazz and other styles as a young man. Johnson started touring in the mid-1970s and created a buzz about the amazing talents of the electro-rock band Electromagnets. Their recordings and a live TV performance were released to critical acclaim in the 1990s. Johnson began his career in the studio with Cat Stevens, Christopher Cross, and Carole King. In 1984, his popularity in Texas and beyond led to him being invited to appear on “Austin City Limits,” a PBS show that showcased his talents. At the request of Cross and Prince, Johnson was given a major label contract by Reprise Records, which enabled him to break into the international music scene. Johnson’s dynamic performance live is evident on his 2008 DVD Anaheim and the 2005 DVD/CD release, Live from Austin, Texas, which captures his showmanship. G3: Live In Concert, his 1996 G3 tour together with Joe Satriani and Steve Vai was a huge success and a platinum DVD. Johnson’s musical prowess extends beyond his guitar playing skills. Johnson’s keen compositional skills and lyrical playing make instrumentals that communicate to listeners and convey thoughts and emotions. Up Close highlights his singing and fine command of words. He says, “It really boils to the music at the end of each day.” Johnson says, “If it doesn’t have that it becomes boring for me.” Johnson’s new album is “I wanted to expose myself a bit more and show my true self more.” As you grow as an artist and person, you will reach forks where you can see what you want in your life. You can also bring out the best in yourself to help others. “It’s important for me to grow as an individual, and because of this, I want my songs to have more meaning and impact.” Eric Johnson continues to grow his art with inspiring and enriching results.nu003cbr/u003enFrom

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