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Eric Johnson - Bloom Review
by Gary Schwind

Bloom is divided into three movements: "Prelude," "Courante," and Allemande." Since that's how it is divided, that is how I will address it.

"Prelude" is full of the guitar chops that made Eric Johnson part of a tour with Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. The title track begins with a riff that sounds like ZZ Top. Granted, the similarity to ZZ Top starts and ends there, but it's a good way to kick off the album. This movement also contains a very solid cover of Bob Dylan's "My Back Pages" and a song called "Columbia," a requiem for the astronauts. "Columbia" is a heroic-sounding anthem to the fallen Columbia astronauts. It could just as easily be featured in a Star Wars movie. "Prelude" is six solid songs to get the album going.

Unfortunately, the album goes in a completely different direction after "Prelude." Aside from "Tribute to Jerry Reed," "Courante" is filled with smooth jazz and distinctly soft rock songs. "Sad Legacy" and "Your Sweet Eyes" are, let me put it this way: if you played these songs for someone and asked them to identify the artist, there is a good possibility they might guess Richard Marx. "From My Heart" sounds like the kind of music (Muzak?) you might hear as you walk through a local department store. I realize the songs probably mean a lot to Eric Johnson, but I couldn't even get through some of these songs.

"Allemande" is basically a continuation of "Courante." It is four more treacly smooth jazz songs. The deeper I got into this album, the more I felt the first six songs were just a tease to draw the listener in.

Eric Johnson is a very good guitarist. He plays a really clean style and is pretty amazing technically. If the entire album had been like "Prelude" I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more. But all that smooth jazz and soft rock stuff just didn't do it for me.

CD Info and Links

Eric Johnson - Bloom

Label:Favored Nations Records (USA)

Track Listing:
1. Bloom
2. Summer Jam
3. My Back Pages
4. Good To Me
5. Columbia
6. 12 To 12 Vibe
7. Sea Secret
8. Sad Legacy
9. From My Heart
10. Cruise The Nile
11. Tribute To Jerry Reed
12. Your Sweet Eyes
13. Hesitant
14. Sunnaround You
15. Magnetized
16. Ciel

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