Eric Johnson

EJ (Provogue)

Texas Platters

Acoustic albums usually eschew excessive ornamentation to reveal songs and instrumentation at their most bare. Worshipped for his Stratocaster work, Eric Johnson's proven himself in this alternate arena with naked instrumentals popping up on his LPs since 1990's major label breakthrough Ah Via Musicom. In his first album dedicated to unplugging, the titular EJ strips back to nothing but fingers and strings, instrumentals "Once Upon a Time in Texas" and "The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise" showcasing a master musician at his most relaxed and playful, not adjectives one usually associates with this notorious perfectionist. Unfortunately, half the disc dedicates itself to piano-based pop ballads, ranging from merely mawkish to absolutely gooey. "November" is so sappy it should be oozing from a tree. The album's split personality peaks with two Simon & Garfunkel covers. The speechless guitar version of "Mrs. Robinson" comes off as exuberant, even fun. The piano/vocal rearrangement of "Scarborough Fair" recasts the song as a gloomy canticle that replaces gentle melancholy with emo indulgence. The lack of electricity lets Johnson's axe work bask brightly, but it also brings out his sentimental streak in all its awkward glory.

**

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Eric Johnson
Texas Platters
Eric Johnson / Eric Johnson & Mike Stern
Europe Live, Eclectic (Record Review)

Michael Toland, Oct. 31, 2014

Texas Platters
Eric Johnson
Up Close (Record Review)

Austin Powell, Dec. 24, 2010

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Michael Toland
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
What we’re listening to

April 9, 2021

World-Class Trombonist Andre Hayward's Spiritual Journey
World-Class Trombonist Andre Hayward's Spiritual Journey
"Big Butter" brings his warm sound to Austin

April 2, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Eric Johnson

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle