When it comes down to it, there are very few people that have such an incredible guitar sound. Eric Johnson is definitely one of those people. Voltage sag or no, his sound is almost always perfect, and on "Live and Beyond" he is a lot more raw than his studio albums. Yet, he still has that perfect tone. This is a fun album. One, because it came out a little quicker than the last one, and because of it's rawness. Johnson should be heard and seen live to really appreciate it, and this does a good job of it. He has an amazing bassist in Chris Maresh and Bill Maddox pounds on the skins.
This album is a little different than classic Johnson due to the rawness of being live, but his sound is still exceptional and his speed is still blinding. Solos on "Zenland", "Once a Part of Me", "Last House On the Block" and "Enzo Shuffle" will leave your jaw bouncing off your lap. Malford Milligan steps in to sing a couple of songs including Jimmie Vaughan's own "Don't Cha Know". His voice is a little more fitting for the blues than Johnson's own. He gets a little airy on "Elevator Sky Movie" with long delays and repeats before kicking it into a countrish overdriven speed workout. He segues into "Shape I'm In" which is very classic Johnson sound. As usual, it's on the instrumental numbers where Eric truly shines - "Boogie King," "Rain" and the superb "Zenland" especially stand out. The jaw-dropping instrumental wizardry is still there. For those who worried about the somewhat 'sterile' sound of Venus Isle, this will be a refreshing jolt of energy. Not only do Eric and the guys pull this off on stage, but the live situation commands a spontaneity that was somewhat lacking on the last album. Melody, not flash, is the order behind these songs. When it comes down to it, Johnson is an incredible axe player. A joy to listen to, and watch (although guitar players find him quite frustrating). His speed and sound are amazing, and he uses both with an elegant ease. And when Eric plays his guitar, it's a sweet sound indeed. Enjoy.
1. Zenland 2. Last House On The Block 3. Rain 4. Enzo Shuffle 5. Once A Part Of Me 6. Don't Cha Know 7. The Boogie King (Tribute To John Lee Hooker) 8. Elevator Sky Movie 9. Shape I'm In 10. World Of Trouble
Get more Eric at Trustar Vibrations - see links.
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