August 5, 2014
Taft Theatre, 317 E 5th St, Cincinnati, OH
7:30 doors, 8:30pm show
$20 adv, $25 dos, Buy Tickets
Eric Johnson has announced a summer tour that begins in Des Moines on July 30 at Wooly’s and runs through August 16th at the Bluebird Theater in Denver. On June 24, Mascot Label Group’s Provogue Records will release Europe Live. Recorded in venues across Johnson’s tour of the continent, the majority of the album captures his appearance at Amsterdam’s Melkweg along with selections from two dates in Germany at Die Kantine in Köln and Bochum Zeche and the Paris show at New Morning. Each appearance featured a unique set list, offering Johnson the opportunity to cull this track listing from a wealth of repertoire captured.
The collection’s 14 tracks draw from throughout Johnson’s career and include two new compositions: The mesmeric “Intro” that opens the set, and the rollicking rocker “Evinrude Fever” (that alludes to his love for water skiing and boating). His Grammy-winning instrumental “Cliffs of Dover” and Grammy nominated “Zap” are performed with fresh and vigorous energy, and he shows his ever-deepening skills as a singer on such numbers as his soaring, blues-tinged salute to his hometown, “Austin,” and the airy and glistening “40 Mile Town.” Johnson’s lifelong love of jazz and more recent forays into playing it emerges on his stunning nine-and-a-half minute interpretation of John Coltrane’s “Mr. P.C.” on which bassist Chris Maresh and drummer Wayne Salzmann also step out with power. The song selection ranges from an acoustic guitar rendition of “A Song For Life” which he initially cut on his debut studio album to the ferociously funky “Fatdaddy” from his most recent release, Up Close. Johnson celebrates his side-project Alien Love Child with the hard-driving rock workout “Zenland,” and the eleven-and-a-half minute multimodal suite “Last House On The Block.” Originally released in 1996, the fan favorite “Manhattan” shines, while a gloriously cinematic rearrangement of “When the Sun Meets the Sky,” titled “Sun Reprise” closes the set.
Although he may be best known as the masterful studio craftsman behind his acclaimed million-plus selling breakout 1990 album Ah Via Musicom and its Top 10 hit “Cliffs of Dover,” Johnson first made his musical bones and sparked a potent buzz in live performance from the late 1960s to the mid 1980s long before he ever issued an album and was heard on radio. As guitar legend Johnny Winter recalls of seeing Johnson perform back then, “When I first heard Eric, he was only 16, and I remember wishing that I could have played like that at that age.”
Over his seven studio albums, Johnson has delivered three Top 10 hits (“Cliffs of Dover,” “Trademark” and “Righteous”) and two Top 40 singles (“Pavilion” and “High Landrons”). N.A.R.A.S. has celebrated his career with six Grammy nominations, while periodicals in the music space have honored with him for decades. He is enshrined in Guitar Player magazine’s “Gallery of Greats,” while Musician Magazine named him one of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of the 20th Century. He continues to refine and expand his musical brilliance in his own electric and acoustic tours (playing both guitar and piano), and his recent live collaborations on both electric guitar with jazz player Mike Stern and slide master Sonny Landreth. Johnson is a frequent featured artist on the Experience Hendrix tours, as well as acoustic excursions with the likes of Andy McKee and Peppino D’Agostino.
Avidly collaborative, Johnson first started recording with others in the 1980s on sessions for Cat Stevens, Christopher Cross and Carole King, and has since recorded and/or performed with Rodney Crowell, Richard Marx, Jennifer Warnes, Carla Olson, Chet Atkins, B.B. King, James Burton, Steve Miller, Jerry Reed, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani (on the original G3 tour), John McLaughlin, Jimmie Vaughan, Sonny Landreth, Dweezil Zappa and Adrian Legg, and many more. He has paid homage in song to such players as Jerry Reed (“Tribute to Jerry Reed” on Bloom), fellow Texan Stevie Ray Vaughan (the Grammy-nominated track “SRV”) and Wes Montgomery (who Johnson saluted in his Ah Via Musicomcomposition “East Wes”).
Throughout his career he has consistently won and placed high in numerous readers and critic polls conducted by guitar publications, most recently in 2010 when he was named Guitarist of the Year by Guitar International. Eric has also won more Austin Music Awards (33) than anyone else since they began in 1981, including Musician of the Year and Best Electric & Acoustic Guitarist plus Best Instrumental & Video, and was inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame in its first year in 1983.