Eric Johnson in Conversation Albums, acoustic and guitars
BD: What were your first musical influences growing up in Austin, Texas and beyond?
EJ: Lots there are some great bands and music in Texas. Johnny Richardson was a huge influence but there is just so much great music. I listened to all sorts of styles and players out there including Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, John McLaughlin, Eric Clapton Bill Conners, styles vary but always quality.
BD: How did you get into music were you from a musical family?
EJ: My brother and three sisters we all had piano lessons, learning classical music my parents were not musical but supported my playing. Then I had guitar lessons. I took up the guitar because everyone I was listening to was playing the guitar. I listened to all types of music not defined by genre The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Ventures. There were so many great dudes to listen to. The crossover with Ravi Shankar playing with Janis Joplin and others mixing it up, it was not about genres it was all about good music that excited.
BD: Having reviewed the Album, can you tell us Why a Solo album now having won countless awards and peer recognition is the acoustic another branch of the Johnson Guitar Tree
EJ: Well, I have always included one acoustic number on all my records. I have always enjoyed playing acoustic it is different from my solo electric guitar in a band. The essential in acoustic is a very good song that can stand on its own the words have to be very good. There is an immediacy in acoustic playing it is always a challenge to capture the song so it has a potency. The album is another voice of my guitar the album has an intimacy that only acoustic achieves.
BD: How did you choose the covers, especially deciding on opening with an instrumental version of Mrs Robinson
EJ: Well, Mrs Robinson came about fiddling with the tune on my own it sounded great and I was searching for a song to start the record. The realisation came that it might be the right way to start the album with the guitar getting the listeners attention. The other covers fitted in with my own tracks.
BD: I have always been interested in the lyrics of a song. Where do you get your inspiration for your songwriting?
EJ: Inspiration is everywhere. I have to allow the thoughts to unfold intuitively they evolve naturally. I have to stop the brain from interfering as too soon it clinches the lyrics so that they do not have time to develop naturally. The brain part is good to give the words a final polish but not too soon, you need to leave your creative window open for words to be descriptive painting a full picture. You need to be able to let your thoughts wander so there is a freedom in the construction of the lyrics. It was great fun to record a solo acoustic record, the simplicity there is an innocence in the process with a feel of naturalness with lyrics that can be obtuse like Wrapped In A Cloud.
BD: You have a big supporter in Joe Bonamassa. He and many other younger guitarists have named you as an influence…. Have you found this has been a boost to your own career?
EJ: Big admirer of what Joe Bonamassa does and it is very flattering that Joe and other guitar players respect and admire what I play. The reality is all guitarists learn from everyone else. I am genuinely honoured the other guitarists feel that way about my guitar playing.
BD: Did you always plan to be a musician and what advice would you give to budding professionals
EJ: Music was what I wanted to do my career developed I just kept playing with bands making original music. Kept rehearsing and working with different people. It was a step by step progression lots of practice and determination hard work eventually led to record deals and where I am today. The answer is if you want to achieve success it is about talent and hard work there is no easy simple route.
BD I am sure you have many plans for 2017 and beyond are you planning a UK/European Tour?
EJ: Now that is funny you should ask that question, we were discussing just that today a tour of Europe and the UK. Would love to visit the UK and tour all over especially like to see Eastern Europe.
BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing
Bass: Billy Rich or James Jamerson… No I will have two bass players
Guitars: Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck and Wes Montgomery
Drums: Joe Morello
Vocals: Paul Rogers
Guitar Tech – Me When asked to jam I will say no I am listening to you guys that is enough for me!
Read why Bluesdoodles said “EJ is an acoustic album that has an intimacy between performer and listener not often achieved on a studio album. The light and dark shadows and moody intensity all keep your attention on the lyrics and above all the melody.” HERE
Listen to Wrapped In A Could here: