Watch: Fan Video of Eric Johnson Folk Jam

11 Mar

Eric "The Triumphant Troubadour" Johnson

Local singer-songwriter Eric Johnson (also a member of the acclaimed Pick Six Jazz Sextet) has slowly been cultivating a devoted following over the past couple of months, especially thanks to numerous performances at the hipster enclave Kafein. Drawing on influences like Andrew Bird, The Tallest Man on Earth, and M. Ward, Johnson’s songs make ample use of flowing chord progressions, soaring melodies, and his technical mastery with a loop machine to bring beauty and texture to his music, which then become irrevocably intertwined with his poignant lyrics. Needless to say, he’s pretty damn good on his own.

But recent evidence leaked to Sherman Ave suggests that Johnson has began work on a project of even grander proportions.

A fan video, taken last night in the Willard Rat Trap by Friend of the Ave Katie Chilton, captured an open rehearsal with Eric Johnson on guitar and vocals, Charlotte Malin on violin, and a mysterious mandolin player. The leak has led to intense speculation about what the future holds in store for Johnson and his music, including rumors that he is planning on fronting what could perhaps become one of the greatest folk bands of the modern era. But whatever the future holds in store, be sure to check out last night’s fragmented performance of the Johnson original “Garrison Slaves,” and try not to shout out in delight at its bucolic beauty.

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2 Responses to “Watch: Fan Video of Eric Johnson Folk Jam”

  1. guy olson July 10, 2011 at 8:10 pm #

    Hi my name is guy olson could somebody please help me 20yrs ago i pursched a real old mandolin their was a piece of tape inside that says 1896 eric johnson could this be a mandolin that he played and is there more than one eric johnson thankyou

  2. JMAC August 17, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

    I read decent reviews of this guitar on other sites and decided to give it a try. I ordered the JR-550-FEN version – same guitar but (allegedly) has a Fishman pickup installed. (Another online sells this same guitar branded Rogue. They are made by Axl in China.) I know my way around resonator guitars – I own a couple of National Resophonics, and a Regal tri-cone and Duolian have been playing more than 30 years. I have owned many similar guitars including a ’33 National Duolian. I play mainly fingerstyle and slide and was looking for a lighter, softer sounding resonator. Sadly, I’m still looking.

    Out of the box it looked okay. A little minor QC oversights but finish was decent. Most guitars come with cheap strings installed (the manufacturer assumes players will change to their favorite strings) but those on this guitar set a new low. Tarnished in the box, I never could get them to play in tune. New strings helped a little. The mahogany body has a thick, shiny finish but they wisely gave the neck a lighter satin finish. I like the old-fashioned slotted headstock and that the neck joins the body at the 12th fret like the old guitars. So far, so good…

    The first and worst thing wrong was the pickup. 60 cycle hum blasted from the amp the instant I cracked the volume knob above zero. The “Fishman” pickup is shorted right out of the box! It could not have been tested at the factory. I have genuine Fishman pickups on other guitars and have never had a problem so I question if it’s a real Fishman pickup. But I’m not about to take a brand new guitar apart to find out!

    I sent the seller a note about this and they replied that they would contact the QC department of the factory and let me know what they said. So much for standing by what you sell! Caveat emptor!!!

    Tuned up to Open D (6th, 5th, and 1st strings a full step low) the action at the 5th fret was uncomfortably high and really bad at the 7th fret. Tuned to concert pitch it was unplayable at or above the 7th fret. The JR-550 uses a National-style cone and biscuit bridge but the bridge saddle is much taller than needed. If you are patient and know how it’s not terribly difficult to sand it down but, because the strings pass through the cover plate, getting it right is a tedious process.

    The neck is reasonably straight and the body-neck angle isn’t bad so the terrible action out of the box is poor design and/or QC. Other Johnson owners tell me the best thing they did was replace the cone with one from National. The 9.5″ National cone comes with a bridge that uses a thinner, stiffer biscuit which makes the action lower and the tone better. I wasn’t expecting the quality of a National but the stock action was worse than expected.

    The tone is okay but not as rich or as loud as you would expect from a resonator. It’s also much less “woody” sounding than a Dobro but that may have more to do with the biscuit bridge instead of the spider bridge and inverted cone on wood body Dobro’s.

    If you want a light resonator, only play slide (i.e., never make a chord above the 3rd fret), and get a great deal this may not be a bad guitar for you. If you get one for next to nothing and are after a cool-looking “wall hanger” then go for it. But if you actually want to play the thing I strongly recommend you try one before ordering online. I have played metal body resonators (single- and tri-cone) made in the same factory and they were passable. This guitar leaves a lot to be desired.

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