Eric Johnson, Bloom

Bill Milkowski

By Bill Milkowski

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
From rock to blues to bluegrass, Johnson sets it all aflame.

The Austin, Texas, guitar slinger has been something of an enigma over his 30-year career, releasing albums infrequently and touring sporadically. This Favored Nations debut comes nine years after his previous studio recording and ranks among his best. Combining fluid phrasing, awesome technique, soulful vocals and a sophisticated pop writing style, Johnson has fashioned a gem with this collection, which is split into three sections — "Prelude," "Courante" and "Allemande." From rowdy rock & roll ("Summer Jam") to the rollicking countrified bluegrass picking jam ("Tribute to Jerry Reed") to the lyrically evocative "Sad Legacy" and a faithful cover of Bob Dylan's "My Back Pages," Johnson proves a classic triple-threat with his legendary six-string prowess, genuinely emotive vocals and accomplished songwriting skills in the company of longtime bandmates Tom Brechtlein on drums and Roscoe Beck on bass.