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Eric Johanson (from the album The Deep and the Dirty available on Run Records) (by Lee Zimmerman)
Guitarist Eric Johanson makes no amends for the fact that he basks in the Blues. His new album, The Deep and the Dirty, shares some aspects of the Blues in all its hues, but the influence of Stevie Ray Vaughn, and those in the current Blues vanguard such as Joe Bonamassa, Walter Trout, Guy Clark Jr, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Mike Zito, and Jonny Lang makes for an emphatic impression overall. That’s especially evident when it comes to such scorching, straight-ahead offerings as the aptly-dubbed “Don’t Hold Back”, the fiery title track, the raging Rocker “Undertow”, the frenzied and furious “Stepping Stone”, and a decidedly unapologetic ode to obsession titled “Gets Me High”.
Like many guitarists who delight in sharing their style with flash and finesse, Eric Johanson’s strongest suit isn’t necessarily subtlety, but that’s hardly the point. Having charted several times in the Blues’ charts Top Ten, his efforts at securing a widespread following speak for themselves. These days, it’s all about combining passion and prowess, and Johanson certainly has enough of that mix to make his own emphatic impression. The album title seems to say it all.
That’s not to say he doesn’t offer an occasional respite. The slow shuffle that underscores “Beyond the Sky” finds him adjusting the pace and taking time for some considered reflection. So too, the somewhat Pop-centric “Galaxy Girl” dials down the tenacity. Still, the most welcome diversion comes with the album’s two acoustic numbers — “Familiar Sound” and “Just Like New” — both of which reflect a penchant for Delta Blues courtesy of bottleneck guitar and an authentic austerity that brings to mind such archival individuals as Elmore James, Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, and Blind Willie Johnson.
In that regard, Johanson shows an astute ability to effectively mix things up, showing that he’s more than simply a raging Rocker, and instead, a true student of tradition whose devotion to Blues transcends both past and present. He possesses some obvious populist appeal, which, in turn, allows for commercial credibility even while remaining cognizant of some particular past precepts. The competition is fierce these days, but given the drive and determination delivered through The Deep and the Dirty, it’s also evident he deserves some standing within today’s upper echelon. (by Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Eric Johanson from AMAZON
Please visit the Eric Johanson website for more information
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