Photo credit: Max Crace

Photo credit: Max Crace


Video:  “Cliffs of Dover

ERIC JOHNSON Hurricane Harvey Relief Benefit Show & Live Webcast this Thursday, Sept 7, at 8:30 PM EDT with special guest Arielle

In a feature on M Music & Musician magazine’s November 2014 issue we wrote: “Eric Johnson is a stone rocker—a shredding wiz whose music incorporates myriad elements and influences.”

Johnson is one of popular music’s most respected and renowned guitarists. A further fact sometimes overshadowed by the brilliance of Johnson’s playing: The reason why he stands both out and above the rest in a world peopled with many “guitar gods” is that, for Johnson, it’s as much about the music and the song as it is playing his guitar. “He’s an extraordinary guitar player accessible to ordinary music fans,” notes the Memphis Commercial Appeal. That’s because Eric Johnson plays music and not just the guitar. He is also a gifted player of the piano, his first instrument, as well as a songwriter, singer and song interpreter. Or more succinctly, Eric Johnson is a diverse, versatile and fully realized musical creator who plays guitar like no one else.

About the current hurricane relief efforts, Eric Johnson says “I’ve been very saddened by the recent [devastation of] Hurricane Harvey. In honor of this, I will be doing a benefit show at Blue Rock Studio that will also be streamed to help a good cause. I’ll be playing some acoustic pieces, then a set with my electric band, with special guest, Arielle. All proceeds will be donated to Convoy of Hope and Mercy Chefs for relief of the hurricane victims.” Blue Rock Studio selected these organizations because of their outstanding efforts for the Wimberley community during the flood of 2015.

In a Jan/Feb 2011 M Music & Musician magazine feature, we wrote: “Eric Johnson might be the world’s most reluctant guitar hero. In the 1980s, as his star was first rising, the Austin native earned a reputation as a white-hot shredder. But from the start, Johnson has emphasized that technique is just part of a larger musical landscape. “If you play a show where you shred for two hours, you’ll see a lot of the crowd zone out and want to go home,” he says. “And who can blame them? We’ve had more than 50 years of electric guitar playing. Playing faster, more furiously, or with a more metallic tone isn’t enough to keep people interested. People will be listening to Jimi Hendrix a hundred years from now not because he was flashy, but because he wrote great songs, great melodies and his rhythm playing was great.”

This Thursday, September 7, we have an incredible opportunity to experience Johnson playing live in an intimate setting. 100% of the proceeds go to Hurricane Harvey Relief. This storm has landed hard for so many now on a long road of recovery.

Photo credit: Stan-Martin

Photo credit: Stan-Martin

Join Blue Rock Studio for a one-of-a-kind evening of music and generosity. You can watch the performance live, or you can watch it via Concert Window: It’s a pay-as-you-wish ticketing.

Performances are webcast in multi-camera HD video and pristine audio. Enjoy exclusive artist interviews between sets. Get online early. They open up cameras an hour before show time so you can test your stream connection. Here is a link for the best stream practices, to help you all enjoy the experience:’ target=’_blank’>

How did you get involved with Blue Rock Studio for this amazing Benefit Concert—where 100% of the proceeds go to Hurricane Harvey Relief?
Billy Crockett called me and it was exactly at the same time Arielle and I were thinking about something we could do. The timing was serendipitous.

Why is important for people to come together and help?
It’s always important to come together. You can’t always just assume that even people that don’t seem immediately involved, they aren’t doing anything. Something like this has the paramount attention—that if anyone has the opportunity to help, it’s a privilege.

Is there a song that you are looking forward to performing at this Benefit?
It will be an evening of inprov that’s much different than my usual set. I’m looking forward to playing with Tom Brechtlein playing drums (from Robben Ford, Chick Corea), Chris Marsh on bass, and Eddy Hobizal, a really fine jazz pianist in town. We’re doing kind of a jazzy fusion instrumental set with the four of us. And I’ll probably play a few acoustic pieces before it.

Will you perform any songs from your 2016 album, EJ?
I might. It will be more of an improv jazz fusion instrumental set, and a few acoustic songs.

How did this first all-acoustic album EJ evolve?
It’s something I’ve wanted to do—for a long time. I already had a few tracks. So I finished it up. I very much enjoy doing the solo acoustic thing. There’s an intimacy about it. I will release another one—maybe EP or a record. I’ve already finished five or six songs. I record in my own studio—where I rehearse. Something I’ve always enjoyed doing.

Who inspired you to write songs?
It would probably be the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell and Stevie Wonder. There are others, but those are the main influences.

What made you want to write songs?
Just listening to people’s original compositions, and the emotional feeling I got from it.

Tell us about your creative process for writing songs.
It’s really more just about experimenting and improvising. Then, you chase a certain idea that you get that seems to have enough merit to bloom into something substantial.

What songwriting tip would you like to offer?
If you have a subject matter—reminiscing about something important in your life or any hopes in the future. Something you feel a connection with—where you can come up with something of merit that surrounds that genuine connection. That’s a good start. Getting out of your own way is important.

How did the idea of “Cliffs of Dover” come to you?
Very quickly. (Laughs) It just kind of came to me. I wrote the whole song in a matter of maybe five minutes. I did spend time embellishing it, but it was just kind of floating in the universe, and I tapped into it. I had it a few years before I put it on Ah Via Musicom. I actually recorded it for the 1986 Tones record but we didn’t keep that version. I re-recorded it for Ah Via Musicom [1990]. I didn’t have a title for it, and a friend of mine, Vince, said that sounds like the “Cliffs of Dover.” I liked the name. My band members always called it “Banana Boat.” They’d always sing it (sings): Banana boat, banana boat, banana boat, banana boat…. (Laughs) They’d always go, “Are we gonna play Banana Boat tonight?”

What instrument can you not live without—that helps you write, record or perform?
My Fender Strat, and a keyboard.

What PRO are you with?
BMI, but I don’t have much affiliation with them.

Photo credit: Stan-Martin

Photo credit: Stan-Martin

Do you remember the first time you heard one of your songs on the radio?
Yes, it was a Mariani record—back in 1970, when I was 16 or 17 years old.

Top 5 Musicians who inspired you to become a musician? 
Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Wes Montgomery, Stevie Wonder.

What are your Top 5 favorite albums of all time?
Music of My Mind (1972) – Stevie Wonder
Are You Experienced (1967) – Jimi Hendrix
Ladies of the Canyon (1970) – Joni Mitchell
Highway (1970) – Free
Down Here on the Ground (1967) – Wes Montgomery

Tell us a “pinch me” moment, either recording or playing live, where you said, “Wow, is this is really happening to me!”
Hanging out backstage with Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell—and there I was. It was amazing to me.

Best advice someone has given you.
B.B. King telling me, “Be your own unique self.” Don’t try to be what everyone else is. Be you.

What’s next?
I’m putting out an EP called Collage. I want to do another acoustic record. And I’ll be doing an Ah Via Musicom tour in early 2018.

Where can your new fans get more info and stay updated?


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