Song of the day: Eric Johnson – "Bristol Shore"

December 17, 2010

Do you have an album that you enjoy a lot, but has one special song that makes the entire album worth buying?

Well, I have an album that I think is worth buying just for one note.

The album is Tones, and it was the 1986 debut by Texas guitar wizard Eric Johnson. Dont worry, the album isn’t just instrumental noodling – Eric has honest-to-goodness songs on the album (as well as noodling). And the songs aren’t bad, either. (Actually, I think they’re pretty good.)

Anyway, the song in question is “Bristol Shore”, and there’s a guitar solo in it whereby Eric plays a melody that climbs and climbs until he hits this one note that, as far as I’m concerned, makes the planets and stars align.

If you want to be surprised and not know where it happens, don’t read the next sentence. However, if you don’t like surprises, then The Note occurs at 5:30. (Drag your cursor over that blank bit of text to see it.)

Eric Johnson – “Bristol Shore” (1986)


By the way, if you’re wondering why Eric put a Japanese koto in the song (from 3:14 to 3:38), he didn’t – that’s Eric making his guitar sound like a koto. (He can also make his guitar sound like a violin and a pedal steel, too. As far as guitarists go, he’s pretty amazing.)

Also by the way, Wikipedia still hasn’t changed that ghastly picture of him on their page.

As a bonus, here’s Eric in action (in 1988):

What a guitarist.

Eric Johnson official website
Eric Jonhnoson on MySpace

Song of the day: Eric Johnson – "Cliffs Of Dover"

April 13, 2010

Today’s post was prompted by regular reader stonefish55 who’s been providing some entertaining* and helpful* comments recently.

In amongst those entertaining* and helpful* comments, the Stonester mentioned that he/she/who-knows? doesn’t just love power pop but lots of other kinds of music as well. Stoney intimated that one particular thing he/she/I-won’t-ask loves, and something this blog currently lacks, is “screaming guitars” such as those played by musicians along the lines of Swedish metal-head Yngwie “I can play faster than Paganini on amphetamines” Malmsteen.

As far as I (or anyone else who isn’t stonefish55) can tell, I reckon this would be the kind of thing that Stoney-Oney-O gets excited about from time to time:

Now, because of the absence on this blog of noodly-noodly-wah-wah-noodly-noodly guitar playing (usually by guitarists wearing leather pants and exceptionally long hair, as per above), I’m guessing that stonefish55 frequently sits in a darkened room somewhere, weeping uncontrollably.

Well, Stonedude, I’m here to rectify things. (Weep no more!) I’ll do that by occasionally highlighting some of my favourite guitarists. “Oh, no!” I hear everyone else moan. Don’t worry, everyone else. For the variety-lovin’ reader (like stonefish55), I’ll sneak in some guitar-pickin’ goodness just once in a while. However, I will continue to focus on Australian power pop so as not to completely drive away the people who don’t love guitar heroes (which I calculate as 103% of the population – give or take 3%). But I do want to stress that I’ll present you with noodly-noodly-wah-wah-noodly-noodly guitar playing very, very occasionally (sorry, stonefish55). Will once a year be OK? Or maybe every decade?

(If more than one person says they like this stuff, I may consider putting it on the blog twice a year.)

Some of the guitarists I’ll present to you play really really fast (like Yngwie Malmsteen), some play with a lot of distortion (like Yngwie Malmsteen), and some play with taste and restraint (unlike Yngwie Malmsteen). But pretty much all of them play in such a way that causes other guitarists to just shake their heads and wonder how much money they can get for that shiny guitar they bought a few years ago but suddenly don’t want to play anymore.

But if you find all of the above a bore, and guitar heroes (and heroics) are not your bag, then you can safely ignore this post until tomorrow when I’ll have a power pop track for you.

For everyone else…

Today’s track is an instrumental by a guitarist of astonishing speed, clarity, but above all, musicality. His name is Eric Johnson. He’s from Austin, Texas, and he’s a guitarist that a lot of other highly regarded guitarists stand in awe of. (As opposed to “He’s awesome!”)

And today’s track shows you why:

Eric Johnson – “Cliffs Of Dover” (1990)


“Cliffs Of Dover” appeared on Eric’s 1990 album, Ah Via Musicom.

Here’s EJ playing “Cliffs Of Dover” a couple of years earlier on a TV special:

I am so glad that was recorded for television. And I’m even gladder that it was recently released on DVD.

Trivia time: “Cliffs Of Dover” won the 1991 Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental.

(Incidentally, considering how people feel about Grammies nowadays, I was originally going to call it The Worthless Grammy™ but thought that might be a bit cruel.)

By the way, whilst looking for links I went over to the Wikipedia entry on Mr. Johnson and noticed the photo of him they have there. I’m really looking forward to the Wikipedia people changing that photograph sometime.

Anyway, that’s Eric Johnson. Tomorrow we’ll resume normal power pop duties, stonefish55 will stop weeping incontrollably in a darkened room, and the world will be a brighter place (I hope).

Eric Johnson official website

(*First rule of social interaction: flatter, flatter, flatter.)