Album Reviews

Eric Johnson

Live From Austin, Texas

Artist:     Eric Johnson

Album:     Live from Austin, Texas

Label:     New West Records

Release Date:     11.10.2017

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Austin native and guitar maestro Eric Johnson has been playing since he was 15 years old. With influences ranging from Jimi Hendrix to Chet Atkins, Johnson’s music is rooted in blues, jazz, and rock with a precise and highly regarded style. He even has his own model Fender Stratocaster guitar.

Johnson’s latest release, Live From Austin, Texas, was recorded in 1988 and aired in 1989. During the show, he debuted new material including “Steve’s Boogie,” “East Wes,” a tip of the hat to his heroes Wes Montgomery and Mike Bloomfield’s album East Meets West, as well as “Righteous,” and “Cliffs of Dover” from this 1990 breaththrough album, Ah Via Musicom. The set also features “Camel’s Night Out,” which later appeared on Venus Isle. Johnson salutes Jimi with faithful renditions of “Love or Confusion” and “Are You Experienced.”

While one cannot deny Johnson’s gift as a guitarist, there is an ’80s-production-quality and approach to his playing that comes off as somewhat dated. Hendrix’s original material more effectively stands the test of time. Still, Johnson’s energy as a performer and guitar prowess continue to impress.

Put out by New West Records, the CD package contains 14 tracks and includes a DVD so fans can catch his performance in live glory. For audiophiles, there will also be a 3-side 2-LP 180 gram vinyl release remastered from original source files. Johnson even sports a retro military jacket like the one Jimi wore during his London days. While no-one will ever match Hendrix, on Live From Austin, Texas Eric Johnson proves why he continues to be considered one of the world’s greatest guitarists.

—Michael Cobb

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