Music » Livewire

Eric Johnson

With Kaki King. Friday, June 17, at the House of Blues.


None of the current reigning guitar deities can surpass Eric Johnson for sheer range. There seems to be no musical turf that the Austin-born phenom can't dig into and hit pay dirt. Over more than two decades, Johnson's monster chops have taken on most every genre and -- when business didn't get in the way -- typically brought on critical gushing and another pack of fans. Alongside his own catalogue, Johnson has amassed a session résumé with performers as diverse as Carole King, Chet Atkins, and Dweezil Zappa.

Early buzz, pegging him as a top-notch jazz-rock fusionist, as well as hype from Lone Star homeboys like Johnny Winter, launched Johnson's trek toward fame. Unreleased and poorly promoted solo albums slowed things up. Johnson got big-time payback, though, with the response to his landmark 1990 release, Ah Via Musicom. The disc went platinum, landed him a Grammy, and scored a record-setting three Top 10 instrumentals. Johnson further raised his profile by touring in G3, a trio with fellow six-string legends Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. Just out on Vai's Favored Nations label is Bloom, a 16-track set formatted as a three-piece suite, on which Johnson embraces techno-rock, country, and classical, as well as jazz stylings from "The Wave" to Wes Montgomery.

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