It is a given at this point that any six-string genius that is worth his salt can be found on Steve Vai’s flourishing Favored Nations Label.
Eric Johnson happens to be one of those guitar heroes, and one that is hard to ignore. Even though he came into prominence in the early ‘90s, he is no stranger to the studio as his recording career reaches back to the 70’s.
Johnson’s brand of instrumental rock fusion has continually captivated me. His tone and style of playing sets him apart from everyone else and his voice is instantly recognizable.
In the year 2000 he recorded a diverse gathering of tracks called Alien Love Child-Live and Beyond. What I enjoy the most about they way he plays are the varied influences he throws into the mix of his work. The best way to describe this music is rock-blues-fusion.
There are ten tracks on this CD and I loved them all withoutexception. "Zenland" cranks things up into high gear right out of the gate, and from that point, the entire show accelerates. Oh yes, this is live music by the way, but you would never know it if it was not for the audience. Johnson’s technique and understanding of his instrument allows him to recreate his music in a live setting that is quite simply, astonishing. He is not only a peerless pure player, he is a polished technician, and performances like this bear the fruit of all his knowledge and experience. He does a nice tribute to the deceased blues legend John Lee Hooker titled "The Boogie King," which no doubt has Hooker smiling from the heavens above.
Every track is indisputably Johnson in his element and he gets plenty of support from his crackerjack band consisting of Chris Maresh (Bass), Malford Milligan (Vocals) and Bill Maddox (Drums). You cannot do it all alone, and I am sure Eric is very grateful to have had such a wonderful supporting cast. I love everything that this man records and this is no exception, it rocks, its bluesy fusion, it is in fact everything I like to hear when listening to guitar based music.