Matthew L. from FORESTVILLE, CA Reviewed on 2/9/2010...
i got this CD for Cliffs of Dover, the Guitar Hero piece and discovered some other really nice guitar work
The most stunning electric guitar playing I've ever heard.
Mark J. Fowler | Okinawa, Japan | 12/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Eric Johnson is the MAN. His guitar technique is second to none. Now, take THAT technique and imagine a studio perfectionist who takes the time to record, over and over again, so that he can get down the PERFECT take. That is THIS album. Cliffs of Dover is the most unbelievable electric guitar instrument ever recorded, in my humble opinion. The other cuts on this CD represent a large variety of different musical styles, including some country pickin' and lovely acoustic blues. We are not worthy."
Rides the kife-edge between cheesy and intensely cool
Poser P | SGV, California | 08/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What do I say about this record? Can I possibly express how it's shaped me through all my various stages, from rock and jazz to funk to hip-hop to psychadelic trance and breaks? I guess one has to be familiar with the mountains, and do lots of solo hikes to really dig the magnitude of "High Landrons", as that song was made for sitting on top of a mountain and contemplating the world. In the town where I grew up, you could hear the trains pass at night even though the tracks were miles away -- "Forty Mile Town". And I dare you to sit outside (or in a house with lots of glass) and look at the stars and the moon and listen to "East Wes" without feeling a thousand deep emotions at once.
If ever an album rode that mile-high razor's edge between pure cheese and deeply moving rock-and-roll, this is it. "Cliffs of Dover" is the song most folks cite as their first Eric Johnson experience, and to hear it in context with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and all the other stuff coming out in the early 90's is to realize just how different a cat Eric really is. Here he has washy reverb all over the track, high-falutin' guitar pyrotechnics, and a myriad of swooshes and swirls and shimmering cymbals. All the makings of a Kurt Bestor or Yanni song, yet the depths here reach to the very bottom of your soul and there's only one word which adequately describes the feeling you get -- stately, regal, as if you were blessed to be king for a day and the best musicians in the land made music in your honor.
And despite all that it's an excellent record. Not only does it not dive into rock dumbness or Yanni cheese, it also manages to use every smooth jazz effect and _still_ not sound like crap. Witness "East Wes", Eric's tribute to Wes Montgomery. You could almost hear this song on a smooth jazz station (the antithesis of good music), but if you did it'd make everything else sound like the consumer plastic it is. Eric isn't trying to do straight-ahead Jazz, instead he's showing us this whole other world where none of these genre references really make sense.
It's not often that someone makes a really great record. It's even more rare when almost all the songs stand outside the accepted limits of hipness and make the rest of music look so unnecessary. Highly recommended."
Eclectic and Cheerful
J O'Malley | Long Island NY | 03/15/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ah Via Musicom is a terrific little album, filled with an eclectic mix of songs by guitar virtuoso Eric Johnson. He's got a tremendous style yet doesn't hit you over the head like a ton of bricks with overkill solo playing.I first heard of him when the instrumental Cliffs Of Dover first hit the airwaves almost 10 years ago. It's a soaring and cheery mix of Rock and Country/Blues. Shortly after finding out who was responsible for it, I picked up the CD. I was pleasently surprised upon listening to the rest of the album. It turns out he's pretty good singer as well. Song highlights include: Desert Rose, a nice rock/pop song that features a tasteful guitar solo, High Landrons, a terrific song that perfectly captures the atmospheric lyrics. Steve's Boogie.. says it all. Trademark is a cool and melodic loping instrumental, Song For George is a bluesy acoustic guitar piece, and Righteous, which sounds like a fun ZZ Top instrumental.On the album Eric Johnson is backed by talented musicians including Tommy Taylor, Kyle Brock, Steve Barber & Roscoe Beck. Ah Via Musicom is an excellent album that's perfect listening on those summer drives with the windows open or the top down."
Perfect Execution of a great Guitar Style
William M. Rand | Washington, DC | 05/14/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Eric Johnson has a perfect knack at the guitar as everyone knows, and this is one of the most technically well done albums ever. I still prefer this CD to some of his more recent work like Venus Isle, simply because this CD is filled with more of the great classical rock style that I like. Of course "Cliffs of Dover" is a great song, but I even like some of the more country type stylings of "Desert Rose" and I don't even like country sound that much. Highly reccomended for anyone who loves to hear a perfect guitar player, this is as close as it gets. My only complaint is that he's almost too good, the technical proficiency almost seems to trade off a little with the emotions of the music, maybe its just me I find myself listening so closely to the guitar that I don't let myself get carried away by the overall sound. Overall though if you like great guitar rock this is a must have."
The greatest "unknown" CD you can buy!
steve koons | austin, tx | 08/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been an Eric Johnson fan since 1990 when I first bought this great album, and I've had the great fortune to see him play in Houston at the Mucky Duck and in Austin at the Ocean Club, both great performances (the first acoustic and the second electric). I'm frankly mystified at the predominant complaint in these reviews regarding Eric's voice. Am I missing something? I think he has an astonishingly beautiful voice -- in fact, it's one of the things I tell people when I recommend him (along of course with his amazing guitar virtuosity). Perhaps it is because it's not necessarily an overly masculine type of voice (it's more angelic than anything else), but I think that is actually a strong point for Eric, and it certainly matches the beauty and sensitivity of his music. My personal favorites on this album are Nothing Can Keep Me From You, Forty Mile Town, Desert Rose, High Landrons, Cliffs of Dover, and Trademark. If you've never heard Eric before, this is a great album to start with, although his other three are all nearly as good, and each worth their weight in gold. Thank you Eric for your gift to the world!"