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Showing 1-1 of 1 reviews(2 star, Verified Purchases). See all 61 reviews
on December 14, 2010
I've been a fan of Eric Johnson's since "Tones" and have followed every move he has made since. This new recording is his first studio recording in five years, which I suppose is not too long considering fans had to wait six between "Ah Via Musicom" and "Venus Isle." "Up Close" doesn't really mark any new territory for Johnson and, overall, I found it to be mediocre compared to 2005's "Bloom," which was a true departure in terms of style and the presentation of the music.

It seems to me that Eric Johnson has lost his touch. Not only in regards to his tone, but also guitar technique. The thing that is interesting, but true, with players like Johnson is they don't get better with age, in fact, I find that his playing isn't nearly as accomplished as his earlier work. Things seem to change as artists get older, they slow down a bit, but with Johnson, not only did he slow down, but his technique and tone has suffered in the process. Since "Bloom" his guitar tone hasn't been very appealing to me. Gone is that violin-like tone he captured in "Ah Via Musicom" and "Venus Isle." Johnson's biggest problem is he has listened to what people have said about him and in the process has tried to nail down the essence of his sound. Once he figured this out, his tone and technique died. He hasn't done anything to ignite an interest in finding or searching for new sounds. He continues to rely on the same methods, which I think by now are as cliched as a Disney film.

The songs on "Up Close" just didn't do much for me. I like EJ's voice and found it disappointing that he has brought in other singers like Steve Miller and Johnny Lang to sing on his songs. Also, there aren't any standout guitar melodies, improvisations, rhythms, or harmonies. He keeps stepping back and relying on the same old tricks that he used in "Bloom," but the results are unsuccessful this time around.

Not all of the songs are terrible. I just found this album to be weak in musicianship, songs, and nothing really inspired me.
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