scrumptious monkey

so much more than an amp -- and yet, not.


Ted Greene

There is so much to see and do and hear and write about.
I think about the past sometimes. i think about alternative realities a lot.

I don't care about today -- and I should. I know that on a survival level, as well as on an intrinsic important meaningful what's-it-all-about level.
But I'm only human, and at times I feel less than that.

Jimi wrote and sang, "I don't live today."

Our bodies are the only clocks of any significance and most people spend their time on the appearance of the clock -- their understanding being that you can stop the hands from the wear of movement, you can put the case in a vacuum -- you won't feel or show the effects of the passing of time.

why? I've always felt that 60 would be a good age for me to be -- I've felt that old all my life. 80's a nice number, too.
We are always the same age inside. And so time really doesn't matter, at all.

lately I have been listening to a dozen EJ shows, and time has meant nothing. I feel like an addict -- I have these treasures I can't really talk about to my friends; it's intensely personal: as in a singular appreciation and experience I can dip into any time, all the time -- regardless of day or night; good weather or bad.

I'm happy. Life right now is as good as it's ever been for me.

The one sadness is the outer perception of life and loss that is the constant of the world. Everyone deals with it.

most people... now -- how is it someone as introverted and isolated as moi can think to get away with saying "most people" as if I were out and about taking notes and interacting with "most people"? I read books, and talk to myself, and work out the interactions of characters in my head for stories that no one will ever read. It's a fairly sterile existence.

I'm conscious of the world and I feel people. I comfort whom I can, and I keep my crap to myself, mostly.
I'm aware I should do more -- and to my shame, I just don't want to.
Yeah, I have my reasons. As do we all.

I read yesterday that Ted Greene died.
He was a guitarist and a teacher; he was a Master Player.
Very few people outside of a community of guitar players who were touched by his chord theory writing or had the opportunity to take lessons from him, or bought his album knew who he was.

What does that mean?
And why, when I read that on the forum did it feel like white hot agonizing pain I had to crawl away from?
Like an animal.

Because it is ground zero.
One death at home, alone; not by decision, not by the ills of the world coming to roost randomly at the door.
No warnings, no signs.
a space between heart beats --
and one less in the chorus of time.

It can happen to anyone, any time.
That's LIFE.
Think I'll go curl inside that Zona Rosa show for a while....


I am surely going to roast in hell.

Good thing I don't believe in hell, huh?
Yeaaaah and won't I look stupid if it turns out to be more than a literary device.

I have friends. Most of whom I have not met face to face -- and with whom I am probably closer than many of the people who think of me as a friend I've known for years and years face to face. I think it's because on the net we tend to hook up with people who share our passions (and obsessions) with a direct jack-plug connection, so it is at once far more intense and less subjective to the eddies and currents of daily activities and distractions.

I say that because a number of people I am very fond of are EJ fans. And he may not realize this, but Eric has some of the coolest and most generous fans drawn to him than just about anyone. People send stuff to one another. earlier in this blog a friend through the forum sent me -- just because I said, "Wow, cool Yeah!" when he asked if I was interested -- a copy of a video and three different audio tapes.
Much guilty pleasures and many happy hours of listening there.

Now of course it would be best if the people around eric johnson got hold of all the various bootlegs and air checks and made them available for purchase -- where EJ might see some income off his work. Unfortunately, Eric is probably too sensitive of / in his need to put out "Perfect Product" and not able to let go of things that do not meet his level of quality control. This is his call.
And I mostly agree with it.
I say mostly because Eric's "off nights" are still 80% better than some of the best other shows I've ever heard.... and Mother Goddess of us all, when he is "ON" nobody comes close.

Like I said, my friends send me stuff. People I barely know except for posts on the forum send me stuff. The big investment on my part is entrusting my snail mail address to someone with whom my only commonality is we both really love EJ's music.

You know -- good enough. I'd sooner trust a fan of eric's I've exchanged a few emails with than certain members of my family I can't communicate with at all.

Which is all to say -- wow, did I get mail this past week.

18 CDs and a video tape...

email sent to benefactor who must remain nameless.
Wow. I mean....WOW. at the risk of going totally Sunshine-trish on ya
So I have erm... about 18 hours of illicit EJ to listen to.
I feel so dirty.
it feels soooooooo GOOD.

Thank you.

JUST FYI -- the 7th track on the backyard party is "Winter Came" -- it appears on the Seven Worlds CD.
I'd heard the Steel Guitar song on a Magnets bootleg, too.

I'm telling you -- this is the best thing to happen to me in a very long time.
I'm working my way through the pages and the discs -- tomorrow I will check out the video -- mostly because tonight I have had my husband popping in, interrupting -- augh. he "likes" eric. But not so much I don't have to tell him the name of every track. Narf.

Well I won't mention your name, but I will probably blab incessantly on my blog about all of this.
listening to the KBCO "Cliffs" right now.
Holy Mother.

thank YOU.
Christmas in July!!!!

“The Cache”

The friend who sent the first cache of never-before-heard shows advised -- don't listen to them all at once -- you'll get burned out.
I have no idea what it would take to burn me out on EJ.

This ain't it. lol.
EJ burn out... guess I'd have to be Richard or Anne to answer that one.
ohhhh did I just say that out loud..?
Probably slogging through a tour, having to deal with the petty crapola of living out of a suitcase and the hurry-up-and-wait, techno-glitch is just the club's way of saying hello repetition of night after night....
two hours of eric live... night after night...
No, can't say that sounds like it would burn me out either. =)

I've decided in the interest of coherency (every little bit helps) to just add any shows I get to the July blog entries. I'll hyperlink to them from whatever point I get 'em and write a review.

about The Cache...

ooookay -- don't ask me for copies. that's not bitchy selfishness -- I don't have a CD burner; I don't even have a cassette recorder at the moment.

All I can do is tell you about what I have been listening to.
However, if you want to drop in some afternoon; send me an email.

1980 Backyard Party

the oldest first. May 1980 backyard party, Unknown Location.
123minutes, 2 discs.
track listing:
CD 1
1. Instrumental
2. Showdown (SW)
3. Misssing key (SW)
4. Tribute to Jerry Reed (Bloom)
5. Your Friend
6. All I Want to Do
7. Winter came (SW)
8. Emerald eyes (SW, Tones))
9. Manic depression
10. Sea Song
11. Round the Merry-Go
12. Because of You
13. “A Little Country / Western Thing”
14. Momentary Display
15. The Dust Man
16. I Don't Mind (I've Got Time)

CD 2
1. Axis Bold As Love
2. Instrumental (No More Lonely Nights?)
3. Minus Mufflers (Electromagnets)
4. Liza Nuff (?)
5. Red House
6. Country Showdown
7. Waterfall (May This Be Love)
8. Alone Tonight
9. Alone With You (SW)
10. “A Little Boogie Thing”
11. Instrumental (Minus Mufflers -- off the recording?)
12. A toast to Randy Ewing Kipper (on the occasion of his 21st birthday)

ok, so the Magnets went and got absorbed into the Austin music scene, more or less emerging from time to time backing Eric: they all play on Seven Worlds (tho the material is not cold pressed Electromagnets, SW has it's moments of pleasure alongside what Eric himself finds "cringeworthy" now) and EJ is enduring a bad contract by "sitting it out". So the period from about 1978 to 1983ish -- kinda scarce for recorded material from eric. He did do a fair amount of session work and took gigs; though how he managed to pull that off would make an interesting question -- or a hell of a speculative fiction novel.

And heeeere's a two hour gig from the middle of the purgatory period.

The tunes that have surfaced on official recordings have the album title noted in brackets. Funny that this falls in line with a typical gig today. about a third is studio material (albeit not released or damn scarce) about a third is works in progress and covers, and about a third are "known" crowd pleasers.
well yeah it's a stretch, but I have 20 /20 hindsight.

The playing is loose, the band is tight.
The band seems to be Bill Maddox on drums and Kyle Brock on bass.
-- and all 3 band guys are lively and chatty and enjoying the gig.
Bill Maddox sings a couple of the Hendrix tunes.

It's a fun set, heavy on the Magnets influence; and better quality than a few live albums I have on vinyl.

1983 07.09 Nick's Uptown, Dallas Texas

2 sets
146 min.

CD 1
1. Cliffs of Dover
2. Friends
3. Trademark
4. Black market
5. All I Need
6. Soulful Terrain
7. The Wind Cries Mary
8. Instrumental(sounds like a variation of "I Keep Trying"..?)
9. China
10. Bristol Shore
11. Drum Holiday

CD 2
1. All Those days
2. Manhattan
3. Freedom Jazz Dance
4. World at Twilight Heights
5. Stop in the Name Of Love
6. Country jam
7. My Heart
8. Zap!
9. Voodoo Child

Eric Johnson: guitar and vocals, Rob Alexander: bass and vocals; Steve Meador: drums

Eric Johnson and The Avenue Dallas gig. The sheet with information on track listings off my friend's computer says this package is 2 sets -- huh -- and two completely different set lists? wild. Who knows though? The music loving criminal who made the tape might have dropped duplicate tunes from the recording.
I have no idea how these things are done.

Anyway -- first appearance I've heard “Cliffs”. Or “Trademark”. Or “Manhattan”.
And yeah -- IT'S there.
at least 85% on “Cliffs”, and 95% on “Trademark” and “Manhattan”.
“Black Market”... is that a cover..? Why yes it is the title track from the 1976 Weather Report album.
Over half of the tracks I've yet to hear in any other form, tho' I've read about 'em on the forum from "old fans reminiscing".
or do they just have this boot, too?...
“All I Need” is probably the bounciest, up-beat EJ original thang I've heard to date, and I would love to hear more of Eric and Rob singing together, they truly complimented one another vocally.

succulent version of “Wind Cries Mary”. He really loves this tune: this is a straight, sacrosanct cover of Hendrix.
I'm telling ya, for a sylph-like blue-eyed white boy -- channelling Jimi? Eric can bring the heat.

“Drum Holiday” is a drum forward piece: a hellacious jam with the drums up front and wow can this guy... I thought “Black Ice” from the Electromagnets CD was the be-all pre-requisite to play drums "at that level".
I love Tommy Taylor. Bill Maddox of course is the creator of the Magnet's tune, and god knows Brannen Temple ain't no sissy machine neither but Steve Meador...? Oh. MY. God.

"Freedom Jazz Dance" is a staple tune written by Eddie Harris and covered by many.
A friend (who reads the blog!) found 136 listings for it at the All Music web site.

I have a real sweet tooth for Eric's covers of Motown tunes. Talk about fearlessness: they just plant their feet -- and rip into it. Rob sings lead, Eric chimes in vocally too -- and the guitar just... wails.

Rob Alexander besides being a solid bassist has a tremendous rock voice: I'd only ever heard "I'm Finding You" -- first on the ACL show, then on “Souvenir”.
Hearing this show it is clear both Rob and Steve are every bit the Monster Players EJ is.

and -- well Helllllo THERE -- “Voodoo Child” for the finale?
oh yeah. This is a keeper.

This show makes me want to climb into Eric's tape closet and pull out everything from this era: I can understand the deep rooted fondness for this incarnation of EJ's trio long time fans have. It's criminal they're the least known of the bass and drum players to work with EJ: short of the First ACL appearance, one tune on “Souvenir” (and this bootleg) what is there to show of them..?

sadly, the sound quality is just a shade less than good, compared to most of the other shows.

1986 Acoustic Show

the first of 3 acoustic shows I have been listening to.
Oh. My. God.

1986 Acoustic Show
40 minutes

1. Dusty
2. A Song For Life
3. Kathy's Song
4. A Tribute to Jerry Reed
5. Very Near
6. Greensleeves
7. Instrumental (very Renassiance, "English" classical piece. oh yeah. Big Show Off. lol.)
8. Desert Song
9. Instrumental (early version of “Gift of Love”)
10. Forever Yours
11. April Come She Will
12. Anji
13. (Electic "filler" -- possible title, “I'll Keep Trying” -- fades out)

Unknown location, but it's mentioned Tones is being released the following Monday and that he's the opening act for Alan Holdsworth -- woo-hoo, NICE treat and I'm sure anyone who actually was there still thinks of it fondly.

strictly a boot, sounds like it was recorded through a coat pocket (in the second row, lol) -- BUT by someone who takes his bootlegging seriously.
Very appreciative audience...
MUST be a Texas gig. *sigh*

The version of Anji -- which I'm guessing he picked up from Simon & Garfunkel, as he does identify it by them -- the song was written and recorded by Davy Graham in '62 -- Graham is a British artist who amongst obscure and eclectic Brit artists surely takes the cake for Incredible Artists No One Has Ever Heard Of.

I'm sure EJ could relate.... anyway...

Anji is a jaw dropper, combining folk, blues, jazz, Middle Eastern sounds -- muy serious shit and Eric's version is killer.
I am so proud of him. How stupid does that sound?

shows like this are the reason people who have heard him play acoustically can feel smugly superior to the rest of his "Serious Fans" who have only heard the Electric Guitar Player...

1990 4.14 K-BCO Boulder Colorado

This is an Air Check*. wellll sorta.
The show was broadcast live -- and I am assuming this was taped off the radio broadcast.

74 minutes
1. Friends
2. Trademark
3. High Landrons
4. 40 Mile Town
5. Righteous
6. April Come She Will
7. Song For George
8. Ah Via Musicom (Cliffs Intro)
9. Cliffs Of Dover
10. East Wes
11. Desert Rose
12. Mountain
13. Zap!
14. Steve's Boogie
15. Soulful Terrain

Eric Johnson: Guitar and vocal; Kyle Brock, Bass; Tommy Taylor, drums.

*BTW -- definiton: AIR CHECK. A recording of a program made by the broadcaster during broadcast for archival or legal purposes.

1997 02.06 Live In Austin Zona Rosa

115 min. 2 CDs

This is the most fun I've ever had with my clothes on. Somewhere in eric's tape vault resides the board recording from this night, in it's unedited un-fade-down glory, and I want to hear it.

Don't get me wrong -- the copy I have is superb. This is one of the best performances I've ever heard. The best set list. The band does not suck, to understate it all the way to the state line.

Unbe-fucking-lievablely good.

CD 1
1. Soulful Terrain
2. Tribute to Jerry Reed
3. Zap!
4. Hesitant
5. SRV
6. Round Midnight
7. Kathy's Song
8. Drum Solo
9. Camel's night Out
10. Venus Isle

CD 2
1. Rock Me Baby
2. World of Trouble
3. Good to Me
4. Pavilion
5. Extended Cliffs Intro
6. Cliffs of Dover
7. Boogie King
8. Stepping Out
9. Red House
10. Manhattan

Eric Johnson, guitar and vocals, Roscoe Beck on bass, Brannen Temple on drums.

there really are not words to express how phenomenal this show is to hear. I am sure I would have stood transfixed, jaw hanging to the floor; bodily fluids puddling into my sneakers. Breathe? swallow? blink?
and run the risk of missing a millisecond of this show? are you NUTS!???

Honest to God, seeing and hearing EJ do "Rock Me Baby" might kill me outright. This one track is the reason why I am not a huge blues fan of "other blues players". This one track vaults eric to god-hero-geetar-mage-champion PERMANENTLY. Vous, et nul outre.

It's perfect. It is entirely everything I adore in the man's playing: TONE, Taste, emotion, exquisite articulation; and that sensual frission that I have no idea how to explain with mere words, but if it were a tangible, physical thing every female in a square mile of it would get knocked up. OMG.
It's even gone from his playing into his singing on this one.

safe to say -- it's my favorite track.
the other 19 are tied for second favorite.
yeah -- drum solo included.

The sound quality is excellent, including the ambience of the room.
my only complaints -- and they are trivial -- are there are fades and cuts in places: I soooo want to hear this show as it was; and...
no, that's it. That's my whole beef.

what a show. I have to see eric in Austin, and now I want to see him at La Zona Rosa in particular.

1999 7.13 Acoustic show, Caravan of Dreams -- Ft. Worth, TX

the second of 3 acoustic shows -- and the best of the grouping, IMO.

74 minutes
1. A Song For Life
2. Tribute to Jerry Reed
3. Gift of Love
4. Instrumental (very lyrical, folk, and stunning.)
5. Fatherly Downs
6. I Promise I Will Try
7. April Come She Will
8. Place of Abundance (piano)
9. Desert Song
10. Devonae
11. Could There Be
12. I Lose Me In You
13. Song For George
14. Norwegian Wood (as an instrumental!)
15. Tell Her I'm Sorry
16. Hoedown Country Instrumental
17. The Wind Cries Mary (guitar and vocal)
18. Kathy's Song
19. I Need You

This bootleg edges out the Air Check for XM radio because Eric is very animated: easily joking with the audience; and excuuuuse me, but he plays (and sings) the heck out of “Wind Cries Mary” here -- which has always been a special tune in my heart -- I have broken up with guys who "don't get it". (Had I known my Hub was utterly clueless about it I wouldn't have married him. I really think it's grounds for divorce in my case.)

I don't have impossible standards -- they are just [cough] rather high.

wonderful set.

oh yes -- and I now have four recordings of EJ performing “Kathy's Song”.
I am one Nirvana dwelling happy girl these days.

He's in fine form.
There is one chick in the audience I would have liked to gag.
or perhaps she needed an IV drip of coffee. *sigh*.

Essentially this is what's come to evolve into his "Acoustic Show".
The sound quality is the high side of Good -- I will probably wear this one out along with the Zona Rosa set. =)

2000 1.28 Alien Love Child Live at Antone's

137 minutes, 2 discs
CD 1
1. Zenland
2. Get On Outta here
3. The Wind Cries Mary
4. Fine Morning
5. Last House on the Block
6. Rain
7. Enzo Shuffle
8. Good to Me
9. Shape I'm In
10. May This Be Love
11. Paperback writer
12. Tomorrow
13. (missing)

CD 2
1. Crossroads
2. Tears of a Clown
3. Once A Part of Me
4. Exit to Easy
5. Uptight-Outtasight
6. Zap!
7. Politician
8. Superstition
9. Sitting on Top of the World

Eric Johnson: guitar and vocal, Chris Maresh on bass; Bill Maddox on drums, vocals on track 1, disc 2.
Malford Milligan: lead vocals on tracks 2, 3, 4, 5, and 8 of the second disc.

Obviously one of the "alternate" nights of the 3 night stand from which “Live and Beyond” was created.
Not "A Great Night". Hate to take a break from the overwhelming enthusiasm, but there seemed to be some audio problems, and the audience was definitely drinking heavily.

Still -- Malford comes out for the better half of the second set and lively-ups the joint.
Is it just me, or does "Exit to Easy" sound an awful lot like "Rock Me Baby"?...

Obviously, a very cool boot to have. The sound quality is very good, the performances ... have their moments.

2001 House of Blues, Sunset Strip

66 minutes
1. Zenland
2. Trademark
3. Nothing Can Keep Me from You
4. 12 to 12 Vibe
5. Enzo's Shuffle
6. Rain
7. The Boogie King
8. SRV
9. Righteous
10. Shape I'm In
11. Cliffs Of Dover
12. World of Trouble

Eric Johnson, guitar and vocal; Chris Maresh on bass; Bill Maddox on drums.

This is the audio track from the netcast -- which is on the video tape I received in "the package".
A few sound glitches in the beginning, but a fairly solid show (if a bit short -- wonder what the actual set list from that evening was, and what determined certain tunes inclusion or dismissal from the broadcast?)

2001 2.03 Seattle, WA


1. Zenland
2. Friends
3. Trademark
4. Nothing can Kepp me from You
5. Forty Mile Town
6. Last House on the Block
7. Move on Over
8. Rain / The Boogie King
9. SRV
10. Elevator Sky Movie / Shape I'm In
11. Steppin' Out

Eric Johnson, guitar and vocal; Chris Maresh on bass, Bill Maddox on drums.
Derek Trucks, guitar on track 11.

Enjoyable especially for the impromptu banter between pieces of music. A happy healthy EJ is a chatty EJ?.. (get out that scientific journal and take notes, eh?)

2002 1.18 NAMM, Anaheim, CA

76 minutes
1. Zenland
2. Friends
3. Trademark
4. Forty Mile Town
5. 12 to 12 Vibe
6. Rain
7. Last House on the Block
8. SRV
9. Righteous
10. Sweet Eyes
11. (Intro+)Cliffs of Dover
12. Spanish Castle Magic

Eric Johnson, guitar and vocal; Chris Maresh on bass, Bill Maddox on drums.

This was the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Marshall amp -- and Jim Marshall was in the audience. Pretty Cool. Sounds like Eric's got a bit of a starry-eyed thang going on -- or he really really got his head together on this one, his vocals and between piece chat are verrrrry relaxed and resonating from the diaphram, Baybee: down at least an octave from most other recordings.

First appearance of "Your Sweet Eyes" I've seen so far -- I think Bill Maddox is providing some backing vocals on it.

Sound quality? I'm guessing this was lifted off a board recording. Superior stuff.

2003 6.29 Variety Playhouse, Atlanta GA

117 minutes. 2 discs

1. 12 to 12 Vibe
2. Western Flyer
3. Your Sweet Eyes
4. Trail of Tears
5. 40 Mile Town
6. Jed Clampett's Review (“A Little Country / Western Thing” a/k/a Hey Billy)
7. Battle We Have Won
8. Move on Over
9. My Finest Champion
10. Dusty
11. Song For George
12. Oh Sunny Day
13. Zenland
14. When the Sun Meets the Sky

CD 2
1. Trademark
2. Desert Rose
3. Anthem For Today
4. Righteous
5. (Intro+) Cliffs of Dover
6. Jam (I Don't Live Today, Dazed & Confused, How Many More Times, Western Flyer)

Eric Johnson: guitar, vocal, piano (I'm guessing it's him playing on “Oh Sunny Day”); Chris Maresh on bass; Tommy Taylor on drums, and lead vocal on “Oh Sunny Day”.

oh yeah, this one was recorded from someone's hip pocket. still, gotta appreciate the effort!
Eric's very warm and animated: despite the usual equipment tsuris.
You do know all amplifiers are Jewish, don't you?
and of course -- female. There's a great Lenny Bruce routine on the delinations between Jewish and Goyish (which is Jewish for non-Jewish).
I don't care what Church he attends, EJ is Jewish, same as I am. (Bawahahahhahah!)
Anybody putting that much soul into his art can't be anything else.

The Jam at the end seemed like a spontanious thing "tossed off" because they felt like playing.

2003 7.04 Eyes to the Sky Festival, Lisle IL

96 minutes, 2 discs
1. 12 to 12 Vibe
2. Western Flyer
3. Your Sweet Eyes into Trail of Tears
4. 40 Mile Town into (“A Little Country / Western Thing”)
5. Battle We Have Won
6. Move on Over
7. My Finest Champion
8. Dusty

CD 2
1. Song For George (bad edit) into Oh Sunny Day
2. Zenland into When the Sun Meets the Sky
3. Trademark into Desert Rose
4. Anthem For Today into Righteous
4. Righteous
5. America the Beautiful
6. (Intro+) Cliffs of Dover

same line up as previous show listed.

and here a few days later... another show on the 2003 tour.
From 2001 to here, EJ is using some tapes to fill out the sound -- mostly keyboard or synth stuff, sounds to me.

The mix is way off in the beginning -- EJ's guitar sounds canned, Chris' bass is way up front and drowning out the drums!

The show is worth the price of listening for a truly scrumptious "Anthem for Today" and "America the Beautiful".

The show is cringable for the backing vocals on “Your Sweet Eyes” -- I think it's Chris -- is it possible it's Tommy? Naaah. Tommy would have found more than 3 notes. Whoa. Reminds me of the spitoon joke...

another fun thing: Eric reveals what a 40 mile town is. In introducing the piece, he says FMT was written about Galveston, which is 40 miles outside of Houston...
just like Lisle is 40 miles outside of Chicago (give or take).
soooo it's a 40 mile town.

2004 1.14 ~ 4th & B San Diego CA*

ohhhh YUM.
this is the current acoustic set -- excellent sound, with lots of fun asides between pieces, just the way I love to hear -- and oh aren't I a spoilt rotten puddy tat now!

79 minutes*
1. Song for Life
2. Dusty
3. Gift of Love
4. Fatherly Downs
5. Tribute to Jerry Reed
6. Kathy's Song
7. Song for George
8. Water Under the Bridge
9. Song for Lynette
10. Wind Cries Mary
11. Desert Song
12. All the Things You Are
13. Divanae
14. My Finest Champion
15. Wonder
16. Once Upon A Time In Texas
17. I Need You
18. Scarborough Fair

* plus two pieces from FM radio broadcast of the Waterfront Blues Festival, Portland OR (7.1.05)
19. Forty Mile Town
20. Desert Rose

Eric Johnson, guitar, vocal, piano on tracks 8, 9, 10, and 18.
Chris Maresh, bass on tracks 19 and 20
Tommy Taylor, drums on tracks 19 and 20.

welllll... as he says, he's got a cold; but he sounds terrific. His singing is wonderful -- and his PLAYING is jaw dropping. Baby -- just OHhhhh!!!!
Sure this isn't a Texas audience?
There's a great deal of chatting with the very receptive / appreciative crowd.
Quite quick witted on top of suffering a cold? ...
Yeaaaaah, he's all that and a bag of chips, alright. =)

Friend of mine has voiced the opinion:
"Ahhhh, what bliss it would be for me to spend a week locked in a room and listen to all his "throw aways".
I could sit and listen to him play acoustic all day long too!"

Oh I know what you mean Sweetie --
I Do Know Just What You Mean...

2004 6.16 XM radio Trans Aural Express, "Fine Tuning" Program

58 minutes*

1. program intro*
2. Artist intro*
3. Song For Life
4. Dusty
5. Gift of Love
6. Fatherly Downs
7. Tribute to Jerry Reed
8. Kathy's Song
9. Song For George
10. Water Under the Bridge
11. Song For Lynette
12. Wind Cries Mary
13. All the Things You Are
14. Devonae
15. My Finest Champion
16. Wonder
17. Once Upon A Time in Texas
18. Scarborough Fair
19. I Need You
20. Program outro*

Eric Johnson, acoustic guitar, vocal, piano on tracks 10, 11, 12, and 18.

This is the current acoustic show, give or take a tune.
I was surprised at the 2-to-1 ration of songs (a song to me is music and lyrics; something that encourages the presence of singing)to instrumentals. This is fairly straight forward unadulterated EJ -- in fact for me, it's a little too stoic and austere. He plays and sings (*ONE* bum note in all that singing, holy moly that is damn impressive!) exquisitely; but I think a lack of his "typical" crowd, and possibly the "seriousness" of being recorded for broadcast might have put a bit of a dampening field on his enjoyment of the show. But what the hell do I know -- I just listen to music.

I do love easy banter between pieces -- he's a clever fella with a quick wit and I bet he'd be a ton of fun to shoot the breeze with and get laughing. well... after I regained consciousness. *snert* -- there isn't much banter here: the audience was small and politely appreciative i.e. not insane / drunk, or talking back to the stage... nothing really to spark those funny asides. you can't have everything, can ya?.

still -- 17 pieces of music in under an hour...ALL eric... not too shabby a treat to have. =)

The sound quality is excellent.
well DUH.

I'll be very curious to see what makes the cut to the acoustic record...


oh jeez....

I was asked to write a funny review of Bloom for a music site.
Whereas I can be amusing, the idea of writing a "funny review" of something so close to my heart -- and having it the first representation on this site of my "serious" writing has left me feeling up in the air.

First -- augh. I don't like and don't trust the character who asked for the piece.
Second --

well, do I really need a second?
Still. I'll write it. I have to -- for reasons I don't need to analyze I want to do whatever I can to get people to hear this album and support eric. That's the bottom line.

I'm also disenchanted with radio on the east coast right now.
Rock radio is tragic -- there's a reason folks have turned into iPod-people: they can program a soundtrack of thousands of tunes so that they actually GET a diverse mix of music throughout the day.

Although gods know I'd be happy to connect to XM radio to sample their eclectic selections, I am stuck with terrestial radio.

slow going.
more tea.


~ Bloom ~

ok this is the space I've made for a Bloom review, so here's the review I'm going to post on the music website:

Eric Johnson's “Bloom”

Its so crazy living in this world
Separating the stone and pearl
Like we do in the every day
Turn our attention this way
To ride up on the thing you do
I just walk up straight to you
Tell you what you probably know
There’s a light that always shows
Your Sweet Eyes ...

That's the first verse of a song that by all rights should be a huge hit single. If this were a better world where talent, taste, and grace were rewarded as expedentiously as the processed cheez and sleaze currently bogging up terrestial radio, you'd all be happily tapping your toes and singing along to "Your Sweet Eyes" by Eric Johnson from his recently released album, Bloom.

This Eric Johnson is THAT EJ -- the artist who delivered the album Ah Via Musicom, which generated 3 rock instrumentals charting in the top ten, as well as winning a grammy ( "Cliffs of Dover").
Currently touring with the likes of Buddy Guy and Adrian Belew (in the coming weeks with JohnnyA and he'll be sharing a bill with Robben Ford in Santa Fe) Eric is having what can reasonably be called "A Good Year" -- following up the release of a limited edition signature Martin guitar with the long anticipated EJ signature Stratocaster, (much joy in guitar player bedrooms across the globe) Bloom is the CD release fans (of which a huge proportion are musicians, quelle surprise) have been anticipating since the last studio project (Venus Isle) was released in 1996.

I can’t turn back anymore
Opportunity at my front door
Showing me I should get this way
You don’t get asked every day
Change your mind and you change
Your plans
Then your heart starts to understand
What you’ve got right next to you
Realize what’s coming through
Your Sweet Eyes

A review should do one of two things.
1. Encourage you to run out and see / buy / experience the thing that has so captured the reviewer's fancy they were moved to write a rave...

2. Confirm your vague feeling of apprehension towards something by dissuading your investment of time and money.

the choice is yours to make, but a review can help in the decision making process.

I really, really want you to get this album and listen to it. Not because I personally have any involvement in it's production or will benefit monitarilly from it's sale; but to put it simply, succinctly:
It's good. as in, sets a standard, good.
If I hesitate to say it's Great that is only because it'll come off as hyperbole. After you get a copy and it's been living in your player non-stop for a month, if you want to run up to complete strangers and tell them how this incredible album has changed your life; cleared up your warts and made you Believe in Joy and Mankind again, feel free.

I suppose talking about the music itself wouldn't be a bad idea.

Bloom is 16 diverse tracks divided into 3 sections: Prelude, Courante, and Allemande.
Don't let the classical terms freak you out.

The Prelude section is 6 tracks -- high energy, pounding, throbbing, get up off your wintery hum-drum behind and shake that thang honey rock 'n' roll. The title track kicks it all off and sets the pace for a thorough work out, announcing itself with killer fuzz and blasting into a roar of Eric's trademark 100 pound violin tone.
yeah -- and that's just the first 20 seconds.
The compositions of the Prelude section are instrumentals except for a surprising and ferociously balls to the wall cover of Bob Dylan's "My Back Pages". This ain't the Byrds, kids. This version of the song is Q.E.D. of what the hell it's really about.
From "Bloom" to "Summer Jam", tearing through "My Back Pages" into the dancing riff fest of "Good to Me", leading into "Columbia (Requiem for the astronauts)" with it's nods to great space instrumentals (requiem? More of a tribute, they should have played this at the launch for Discovery) and closing with "12 to 12 Vibe" the prelude section is reason enough to get this album for your main soundtrack for the summer.

But wait! There's more!

The Courante section consists of 6 pieces: 3 songs and 3 instrumentals, each one a gem of diversity, nuance, and mastery -- if the first section showcased EJ's skills as a rock composer, the Courante showcases the man's skills as a Composer and Songwriter ranging from Far Eastern motifs and eclectic instrumentation (“Sea Secret”, and “Cruise the Nile”) Country Picking on an utterly god-like level (“Tribute to Jerry Reed” -- which features the bouyant and magical Adrian Legg in a guest appearance) and three exemplary original songs that show facets of EJ in a clear light where they were barely a tantalizing glimpse before.

“Sad Legacy ” is a deft examination of society's taste for mayhem as a Value -- and the effects of this de-sensitivity as a role model for the next generation; “From My Heart” is for me the most unexpected piece: strategically placed in the fold as the 9th track of 16 is this R & B soulful ballad.
Yes. THAT Eric Johnson turns in a multilayered, blue eyed soul ballad.

Which brings us to the song that closes out the Courante section, "Your Sweet Eyes".

All I got to do when I’m sad
I just think about the times we’ve had
And all my fears just drift into space
There’s nothing that can erase
Your Sweet Eyes

a graceful, melodic guitar introduction reminiscent of vintage Fleetwood Mac introduces the melody, and the song is sung mostly as a duet with vocalist Shawn Colvin, who also provides background vocals.
It is a very sweet music in a diverse musical garden of delights.

The Allemande section closes out the album with four of the most sophisticated compositions yet to appear on an Eric Johnson record: the key to the musical term's application as the third sett being temperance: that is; eloquent, elegant, moderation.

There are two jazz instrumentals (“Hesitant” and “Magetized”) the former featuring an acoustic bass and some of the fattest and smoothest guitar work I've ever heard out of a contemporary player: the latter, a progressive homage to The Electromagnets, Eric Johnson's early rock-fusion band which in my mind seems to bring around the refrain from “My Back Pages” with a grin and glint in the eye.

The tune sandwiched between these two works is the last song of the record: a jazz ballad showing a leap in maturity and understanding of vocalise called “Sunnaround You” -- and the final cut is a classical tinged guitar tone poem called “Ciel”, which is the French word for heaven.
Very fitting.

So that's where I've been and what I've been doing -- glutting myself on this new album. If you have the opportunity to get out and see Eric Johnson on the current tour, DO IT.
You can thank me later. =)

July - The Bloom Album Tour w/electric band
13/Wed - House of Blues - Myrtle Beach, SC - Buy Tickets Online
14/Thu - Variety Playhouse - Altanta, GA w/ Johnny A - Buy Tickets Online
15/Fri - Nightfall Series - Chattanoga, TN
16/Sat - House of Blues - New Orleans, LA w/Johnny A
27/Wed - House Of Blues - Los Angeles, CA - Buy Tickets Online
28/Thu - Marquee Theatre - Tempe, AZ w/Nick Sterling
29/Fri - Santa Fe Jazz and International Festival - Santa Fe, NM w/Robben Ford - Buy Tickets Online
31/Sun - Guitar Town/Villages at Copper Mountain - Copper Mountain, CO - Buy Tickets Online

August - The Bloom Album Tour w/electric band
12/Fri - Granada Theatre - Dallas, TX - Buy Tickets Online
13/Sat - Granada Theatre - Dallas, TX - Buy Tickets Online
14/Sun - George's Majestic Lounge - Fayetteville, AR
16/Tue - Juanita's - Little Rock, AR - Buy Tickets Online
18/Thu - Grant Street Dance Hall - Lafayette, LA
19/Fri - Antone's - Beaumont, TX
20/Sat - James Burton Guitar Festival - Shreveport, LA
21/Sun - Zoo Amphitheatre - Oklahoma City, OK - Buy Tickets Online
25/Thu - Club V - Houston, TX w/Adrian Belew
26/Fri - Sunset Station - San Antonio, TX w/Adrian Belew - Buy Tickets Online

October - The Bloom Album Tour w/electric band
11/Tue - O-East - Tokyo, Japan
12/Wed - O-East - Tokyo, Japan
13/Thu - Bottom Line - Nagoya, Japan
14/Fri - Club Quattro - Osaka, Japan

One other thing -- You Have to listen to this recording through headphones.

I am little Miss Curl-Up-And-Unspool-In-The-Headphones.
Audio Immersion: my drug of choice.

As terrific as Bloom is cranked through the house system: there are incredible, intimate vocal effects and drop ins, layers of textures, sound stratas and channel swirl stuff you are only going to pick up with direct injection via headphones.

It is acutely nuanced.
sheesh. Musical Pointillism. =)
excuse me, it's feeding time...

There’s a star in the northern sky
Captivating me as I walk by
Showing me what I can become
Leave behind what is lost or won
Something’s different with me, can you see
The truth is starting to come out of me
As I think about the hope I feel
I leave behind the world for something real
Your Sweet Eyes…


All quiet... yeah, TOO quiet...

Sunday Morning and I'm doing great.

Which feels surreal, but I think I can get used to it.

Wow -- I can't write THAT.
or that, either.
oh maaaan.

guess I'll just get away from the computer and see what the day will bring.