As the title suggests, Eric Johnson’s latest album is indeed a collage. There are covers ranging from B.B. King to the Chantays, and classic Johnson instrumentals à la Ah Via Musicom. It’s wide ranging and it’s impressive playing.
Throughout, Johnson’s arrangements, solos, and vast array of tones are orchestrated, practiced, and polished – as is his usual M.O. This creates jaw-dropping modern rock on originals like “The Fade.” And it makes for a stellar cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Up Tight (Everything’s Alright),” even while the version lacks in straight-from-the-hip Tamla/Motown soul.
Johnson’s “Stratagem” sounds like an arpeggio etude, but his cover of Jimi’s “One Rainy Wish” glistens with lovely acoustic fingerpicking and sweet R&B slides.
Similarly, the Beatles’ “We Can Work It Out,” King’s “Rock Me Baby,” and the Chantays’ “Pipeline” are bravely reimagined. Hate ’em or love ’em, Johnson’s arrangements are bold, unique, and visionary – and why bother coloring within the lines?
This article originally appeared in VG July 2018 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.