Eric Johnson wird weltweit in namhaften Listen der besten Gitarristen genannt und zollt seinen Kollegen immer wieder durch Liveauftritte und Studioarbeiten Respekt, indem er Songs für sie schreibt und ihre Songs covert. Eric
Clapton lud ihn 2004 zu seiner Show beim Crossroads Guitar Festival ein, und er spielte auch bei der Experience Hendrix Tour 2010 und 2011. Johnson ist jedoch mehr als nur ein Meister der sechs Saiten. Durch seinen feinen Sinn für Kompositionen spricht er auch mit reinen Instrumentalstücken die Emotionen und Gedanken der Zuhörer an. "Up Close" betont außerdem seinen sicheren Umgang mit Worten. "Im Endeffekt kommt es auf die Musik und den
einzelnen Song an. Wenn da nichts ist, langweilt mich das. Auf meinem neuen Album wollte ich mich mehr offenbaren. Am wichtigsten ist mir, als Person zu wachsen, deswegen soll auch meine Musik wachsen und tiefgründiger und bedeutsamer werden."
Auf "Up Close (Another Look)" hat er genau das geschafft. Von Rock, Blues, Pop über Country und Jazz finden sich alle Stilrichtungen in seinen Songs wieder und zeigen die gewaltige Bandbreite seines Könnens. Unterstützt wurde er dabei von Freunden und Kollegen wie Jimmie Vaughan und Sonny Landreth an der Gitarre sowie Steve Miller, Johnny Lang und Malford Milligan als Gastsänger.
Guitarist, songwriter and singer Eric Johnson brings listeners Up Close to his stunning musicality when the Grammy winning artist releases a custom European version of his sixth studio album. The 13-track disc, titled Up Close (Another Look), presents 12 new Johnson compositions plus his version of the Electric Flag song “Texas,” and features guest appearances by fellow master players Jimmie Vaughan and Sonny Landreth on guitar and vocals by Steve Miller, Johnny Lang and Austin, Texas local favorite Malford Milligan as well as Johnson.
Praised by All Music Guide as one of the “very few musical artists [to] achieve a true signature style which makes comparisons to other musicians impossible,” Johnson expands, deepens and enhances his sound on his first album release since Bloom in 2005. The title reflects the revelatory and spontaneous performances on Up Close (Another Look) as well as its sonic immediacy thanks to Johnson's second look and revisions on six songs plus mixes on the seven others by legendary veteran engineers Richard Mullen and Andy Johns.
“I decided to let go a bit and allow things to happen and just go with the flow,” explains Johnson of his approach to the album. “I like my work to have a high proficiency, but I also wanted to go for the energy and magic of the performances.”
The many live shows he's performed in various configurations since the album came out in America in 2010 and the songs he's already recorded for his next album prompted Johnson to replay some tracks and revise and remix them to make what the Austin Chronicle praises as a disc that "brings out the best in him" even better. "The whole premise of this new record I've started making is to perform with more of a live feel in the studio," he explains. "So when I got this European deal, I listened to the Up Close record and heard a few ways I could do that with this album." After refining his technique and tone to masterful levels over the course his recording and performing career, "I've found that the music happens more naturally live and that's what I am trying to address more in the music I record."
The album has already earned high praise in the music press. "Guitar fans – prepare to be dazzled," raves MusicRadar. com. All Music Guide notes how Johnson "continues to find interesting ways to hone his specific craft on Up Close," and Guitar Player magazine observes, "Despite the esteemed company, however, it is Johnson’s spectacular guitar work that elevates the record to empyrean heights."
Lyrical themes of reflection, emotional revelations, personal growth and fulfillment are underscored on the album by Johnson’s most daring, urgent, progressive and at times raw and fervent guitar work to date. As with all of Johnson’s work, his all-encompassing style draws from rock, blues, pop, country, jazz and classic to exemplify his stature as “an extraordinary guitar player accessible to ordinary music fans,” as the Memphis Commercial Appeal observes.
Johnson burst into the musical mainstream with his landmark 1990 album Ah Via Musicom, which won him a Grammy, yielded a record three Top 10 instrumental hits like “Cliffs of Dover” from a single LP release, and earned him platinum sales status. Enshrined in Guitar Player’s Gallery of Greats and named one of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of the 20th Century by Musician magazine alongside numerous other awards, Johnson’s career has been marked by his gift for writing songs with vivid and indelible melodies and lyrical, concise and adventurous playing that focuses on melody and the song rather than six-string gymnastics. A frequent collaborator with other guitar legends, he has continued to explore the myriad possibilities of guitar-based musical artistry since his debut major label release in 1986, Tones, that landed him on the cover of Guitar Player.
Up Close (Another Look) is energized by Johnson’s continuing focus on broadening and enriching his work “I wanted to bare myself a little further and show myself more,” he says. “I want my music to always grow and have more of a profound meaning and impact.”
,,Was aber den samtig singenden Ton des Grammy-prämierten "EJ" so einzigartig macht, davon kann man sich gerade anhand der Instrumentals "Awaken / Fatdaddy", dem orientalisch angehauchten "Gem" oder dem meditativen "The Sea And The Mountain" überzeugen." (K. Reckert in Gaesteliste. de)
,,Eric Johnsons ,,Up Close" erschien 2010 in den USA. Für Europa hat der Gitarrist aus Austin / Texas nun 13 der 15 Songs erneuert. Er wollte mehr Live-Feeling und tüftelte an Nuancen - was dem 58-Jährigen gelungen ist. Der Mix aus Rock, Blues, Country und Pop tönt lebendig im lichten Klangbild." (stereoplay, Mai 2013)