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Bloom

4.3 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Eric Johnson returns with the worldwide release of 'Bloom'. Special guests include Grammy Award-winning vocalist Shawn Colvin and guitarist Adrian Legg. The sixteen songs on 'Bloom' are carefully sequenced into three different sections, grouped together in terms of vibe and style. The prelude section features 'Bloom', 'Summer Jam', the Bob Dylan cover 'My Back Pages', 'Good to Me', 'Columbia', and '12 to 12 Vibe'. The courante section features 'Sea Secret', 'Sad Legacy', 'From My Heart', 'Cruise the Nile', 'Tribute to Jerry Reed', 'Your Sweet Eyes', and 'Hesitant'. The allemande section rounds out the CD with 'Sunnaround You', 'Magnetized', and 'Ciel'. Favored Nations. 2005.

Amazon.com

Texas guitar prodigy Eric Johnson returns to recording after a near-decade absence with a lush, typically restrained collection that eschews flash for fluid cool. Arranging the album's 16 songs into a musical triptych whose sections are labeled "Prelude," "Courante" and "Allemande," Johnson aims at creating a landscape of shifting moods that's as subtle as it is mature. The guitarist's trademark lyrical style is immediately showcased on the title track, "Summer Jam" and the stately fallen astronaut tribute, "Columbia." The first section is also energized by the funked-up "Good to Me," before Johnson turns to fare that's variously more impressionistic (the instrumental "Sea Secret"), conscience-driven (the pop-savvy ballad "Sad Legacy") and smooth-groove, r&b sultry ("From My Heart"). The infectious finger-pickin' "Tribute to Jerry Reed" segues into a final act that includes the romance of "Your Sweet Eyes" (with guest Shawn Colvin adding her distinctive harmonies), "Hesistant"'s tasteful Wes Montgomery-isms and the 70's charged, acid-jazz of "Magnetized." His fusion-lite cover of Dylan's "My Back Pages" and saccharine "Sunnaround You" withstanding, it's another fine tribute to Johnson's tasteful, often introspective muse. -- Jerry McCulley
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 14, 2005)
  • Original Release Date: June 14, 2005
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Favored Nations
  • ASIN: B0009K7RO8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,527 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Benjamin J. Neiman on June 16, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I love this cd!! This is the most musical of all his recordings, at least for me. There are echoes of Stevie Wonder, Keith Jarrett, Ralph Towner, some Rundgren and Metheny also, but it is all very original. Gorgeous tunes, so well played. And Eric sounds as if he has been seriously studying bop phrasing for the last few years and now there just isn't any style this guy can't play way convincingly(come to think of it, I did hear him do a perfect version of Wes Montgomery's arrangement of "Down Here On the Ground" years ago). The Jerry Reed tune is honkin' country pickin' and he has played this in his live set for years. The guitar heroics are kept to a minimum on this record, and everything he plays sounds perfect for the song, there is no seeming attempt to impress with chops. Yet every fill is perfect, some much better than I've heard Carlton or Ford do for a very long time! On top of it all, Eric Johnson is one of the nicest cats I've ever met and I hope this record is a success for him cause he deserves it! Buy this immediately.
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I normally wouldn't add a review after 42 others have already been published, but I want to help Mr. Johnson's batting average with my five stars. This album is incredible.

Mr. Johnson is a pop artist at heart, and a guitarist's guitarist. So he doesn't receive the notoriety of any number of hotshot shredders. Like Todd Rundgren, he creates masterpieces in relative obscurity while the cogniscenti favor rougher, hipper fare.

This album is indeed a bloom, of genius, of a musician who lives inside his music, and whose capacity for romantic beauty has made him an American original. Plus, this guy has chops to die for.
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This is an impressive effort. This CD has been played fairly constantly in my car for the past 3 weeks. What impresses me is that I consistently find new bits that stand out depending on my mood. There are some great grooves, brilliant fills, and rocking riffs in classic Eric Johnson style in the first movement, 'Prelude'. The opener 'Bloom' and 'Good To Me' are probably the highlights there. Mr. Johnson then turns it down a bit during 'Courante', the second movement.

'Sad Legacy' and 'From My Heart' are both great introspective songs. 'Sad Legacy' builds a sense of urgency and 'From My Heart' has a mellower, R&B feel and nice jazzy runs. These two are probably my favorites off the album.

The last movement, 'Allemande' starts off with a nice old-school style jazzy number, 'Hesistant'. 'Magnetized' gets things rocking again, before a very good atmospheric classical guitar piece, 'Ciel' ends the ride.

Eric plays an wide variety of styles on this release and manages to keep it all together as one cohesive piece, with one small exception. Tribute to Jerry Reed, while a nice bit of picking doesn't fit on this CD for me, especially after the sitar on 'Cruise The Nile'.

I'd recommend this CD to anyone who enjoyed Ah Via Musicom or Venus Isle. Or, if you aren't familiar with Eric johnson already, then do yourself a favor and pick up a CD. This one is as good as any of his studio albums to start off with.
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Let me preface this review by stating that Eric Johnson is one of my favorite guitar players. I have been following his career since his 1986 Guitar Player magazine cover story ("Who is Eric Johnson and why is he on our cover?"). "Ah Via Musicom" was such a tremendous influence on me personally, and is certainly a seminal album for a generation of would-be guitar virtuosos everywhere. His playing has always connected with me in a way that other "shred" guitar players haven't - his tone, phrasing, those huge intervallic leaps across the fretboard, cascading single note runs, shimmering chords, and his "vibe" have been profoundly influential to me as a musician.

So why don't I love this album?

Because it's hit or miss with this one - some songs are wonderful, others aren't. The guitar playing is fantastic (as any fan of EJ would expect), and there are definitely a lot of cool "new" tones that EJ is working with, but a lot of the songs are just kinda "there". Interesting, but not memorable.

If you listen to this album with reference to his previous studio outings, it is obvious that he is maturing as an artist. That's a good thing. The high points of this album demonstrate this - the slow (and surprisingly authentic) jazz/fusion turns that he takes on "Hesitant" and "Magnetized" are nice harmonic departures from the more pedantic instrumentals such as "Summer Jam", "Columbia", and "12 to 12 Vibe". These later three songs (though amazingly executed) fill me with a sense of deja vu - I've heard this type of thing many times before.
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I agree with the other reviewers that, on his worst day, Eric Johnson turns out better music than the other guitar gods. (And one can only guess at what guys like Clapton make of EJ's rendition of stuff like Crossroads).

But Bloom is all over the map. Its not a totally ripping guitar album like Ah Via Musicom and as a super complex concept album it falls way short of his gorgeous Venus Isle.

The playing is superb and flawless, the vocals ok, the lyrics insipid (as always) but I didn't find one tune that knocked me out. He destroys My Back Pages, sounding even worse than Bob Dylan. He plays it like he's late for an appointment. (Check out Carl Verheyen's version of My Back Pages if you think the Byrds didn't handle it well enough).

Your Sweet Eyes sounds like Fleetwood Mac, harmless and good for the "soft and warm" stations.

So yeah, from anyone else it would be pretty darned good. But I know what he can do! Before they shut Napster down I got several bootlegs of Eric playing Cliffs Of Dover to screaming audiences. People who could not believe what they were hearing; so much beauty, fire and skill. Compared to that, Bloom just doesn't stack up. Sorry.
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