As I eased this album into the CD player, I half-expected an hour of (immaculate but monotonous) guitar noodling.
Eric Johnson is a highly-regarded session player and musician in his own right. Captured on album, Johnson for some time trod the smooth jazz to funk path and whilst this is evident on the latter part of 'Bloom' , thankfully this latest
offering rings the changes.
Split into three 'suites' the first part is essentially rocking. It's all very controlled and very well produced, and it is highly unlikely Eric breaks sweat when playing this live. However, it is
listenable, essentially because Johnson composes good tunes that take you somewhere. This cannot be said for many of his contemporaries who adopt the flash harry technique of more twiddly-diddlys per minute and time changes that would
confuse even Dr.Who.
There are several vocal tracks, including a Dylan cover - which are pleasant enough - Eric sounds like a funky Al Stewart or a more sublime Robben Ford - and make for a rounded palette. 'Sad Legacy' and 'From My Heart', in particular, are goodies.
If 'Bloom' is unlikely to set the world on fire, it makes for very pleasant summer listening, will appeal to die-hard fans, and reinforces Johnson's claim as one of the true guitar greats of the moment. In short, ahem, it's 'bloomin'' marvellous.