Eric Johnson is an American virtuoso guitarist, vocalist, musical composer and multi-instrumentalist. The music he has made over his decades-long career transcends traditional genre categories, dipping into and deftly combining everything from rock and blues to jazz fusion, funk, soul, new age, country and even classical music. Astonishingly, Johnson's musical career began in 1968 when he was only 14 years old - at which time he joined a psychedelic rock band on guitar and recorded a limited-circulation demo that has since become a treasured collector's item. Johnson's many live performances at venues like the House of Blues are legendary showcases of his dazzling guitar-playing abilities, during which he wows fans with a combination of technical skill and soulful musicianship and finds ways to latch on even more difficult improvisational sections to the already complex songs that he puts on his studio albums. After a fairly extensive career spent playing in other bands, Johnson finally released his debut solo album, Tones, in 1986; but the album that made his reputation was his subsequent 1990 album Ah Via Musicom and its legendary song "Cliffs of Dover."
A Guitar Legend
Born into a family dripping with musical talent, Johnson began learning to play the guitar at age 11 and immediately showed signs of great skill, studying and devouring the work of jazz, blues and early rock guitarists. He eventually mastered all aspects of the guitar, learning to play not only the electric guitar, but acoustic, bass, lap steel and resonator guitars as well. By the time he had decided to embark on a solo music career and released Tones in 1986, he earned great praise for songs like "Trail of Tears" and "Bristol Shore." It was his next release, Ah Via Musicom, that cemented his status as one of the greatest and most respected guitarists of all time. The album reached No. 67 on the Billboard 200 chart, went Platinum and spawned four singles - "High Landrons," "Righteous," "Trademark" and "Cliffs of Dover." The latter three songs all were in the Top 10 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, hitting No. 8, No. 7 and No. 5, respectively. "High Landrons" hit No. 31. From then on, Johnson enjoyed a sustained following of people in awe of his complex playing who enjoyed all eight of his subsequent studio albums - including his latest, 2017s Collage. Johnson worked with many musicians like Malford Milligan (blues singer), Stephen Barber (keyboardist and pianist) and Tommy Taylor (his longtime drummer).
Where can I buy Eric Johnson tickets?
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What are some of Eric Johnson's musical influences?
Eric Johnson's main musical influences, dating back to his teenage years when he was learning to play the guitar, include Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bob Dylan, Jerry Reed, Wes Montgomery, Cream, Chet Atkins, Eric Clapton, Django Reinhardt, Ric Bailey and Mike Bloomfield.
Which awards has Eric Johnson won and been nominated for?
Eric Johnson won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental in 1992 for "Cliffs of Dover." In addition, he's received six Grammy nominations - Best Rock Instrumental, "Zap" (1987), Ah Via Musicom, (1991), "Pavilion" (1997), "S.R.V." (1998) as well as for Best Pop Instrumental for "Rain" and "Bloom" in 2002 and 2006, respectively.
What are some of the songs included in the typical Eric Johnson setlist?
Johnson's most famous song, "Cliffs of Dover," is played at every one of Eric Johnson's live appearances, near the end of each performance. The other three singles from Ah Via Musicom - "High Landrons," "Righteous" and "Trademark" - are also staples at the typical Eric Johnson concert. Other songs to make frequent appearances when Eric Johnson plays live are "Zap," "Desert Rose," "Nothing Can Keep Me From You," "Manhattan" and "Hard Times." Johnson also loves putting his own unique spin on covers of songs from other artists like Wes Montgomery and John Coltrane (jazz musicians) or Jimi Hendrix (rock legend). These songs include Montgomery's "Down Here on the Ground," Coltrane's "Impressions" and Hendrix's "Fire."
How long is the typical Eric Johnson concert?
Eric Johnson's concert performances can vary widely in length. Some of his shows have as few as four songs and up to as many as 30 songs (including all encores). Since Johnson is famous for playing extended versions of many of his songs during concerts (especially "Cliffs of Dover"), these shows can run for as long as three hours or more. Shorter shows can be as short as 20 to 30 minutes long.
Who are some other artists that are similar to Eric Johnson?