Guitarist Eric Johnson turns toward acoustic and piano on new album

Deborah Cannon/AMERICAN-STATESMAN Eric Johnson performs at Fire Relief The Concert for Central Texas at the Frank Erwin Center on Monday, October 17, 2011.
Austin guitarist Eric Johnson. 2011 photo by Deborah Cannon/American-Statesman

A world-class electric guitarist since his 1986 debut album “Tones,” Austin musician Eric Johnson broadens his horizons on “EJ,” playing acoustic guitar and piano on a 13-song set that’s due out Oct. 7 on the Provogue label.

Johnson gave local fans a sneak peek at the album in June when he did a three-week residency at the intimate One-2-One Bar on South Lamar. The big surprise at those shows was his occasional turn at the keyboard, something he explores on a handful of “EJ” originals along with an interpretation of the Simon & Garfunkel classic “Scarborough Fair.”

He also tackles Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson” and Jimi Hendrix’s “One Rainy Wish,” and sprinkles several instrumentals alongside new songs featuring acoustic guitar and vocals, some recorded basically live in the studio. Johnson will feature the new album in a Nov. 19 concert at the Paramount Theatre, after an Oct. 3 in-store signing and performance at Waterloo Records.

Here’s an early look at the track “Wrapped in a Cloud”:

[Note: This has been updated to correct the date of Johnson’s concert at the Paramount, and to add information about a Waterloo Records in-store.]

Author: Peter Blackstock

Music writer for the Austin American-Statesman and austin360.com. Twitter: @Blackstock360

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