“The musical style of Eric Johnson…features electric rock instrumentation, blues influences, great musicianship, mild rhythmic syncopation and demanding instrumental part writing.”
That’s how Pandora describes the music currently filling my ears (and those of any patrons of our music store, since I’m minding the counter this evening. And blogging. It’s a slow night…)
Last weekend I saw Eric Johnson play live at the Dallas Guitar Show. It was the third or fourth time I’ve seen him in concert; the first being way back in the early 80’s at Fat Dawg’s in Lubbock, Texas, when he was just a young – and incredibly talented – musical brat with a bad mullet.
Then again, so was I. A musician with a mullet, that is. Not even in the same league with the talent level. But oh, yes; I had me a mullet.
We sat in a small hall Saturday afternoon and watched Eric Johnson play an hour’s worth of Jimi Hendrix tunes with two other exquisite musicians who lived and breathed every nuance with him.
Watch his hands, the fluidity of his phrasing, the precision of every accent. Close your eyes and feel the simmering purity of his tone. Follow the arc of the melody he shapes, beyond just a formatted verse/verse/chorus/verse/bridge/chorus line.
It’s otherworldly. It’s just so much more.
But here’s the thing: I’ve watched my boys master “Cliffs of Dover” on Guitar Hero. I’ve listened to “Bristol Shore” and made note of the solos. I can crank it up loud and experience the precise execution of his craft with time to soak it all in.
And yet, I don’t. Hardly ever. Quite honestly, I’m not much interested in listening to his recordings. I don’t own any of his cds.
But I’d drive three hours to see him twice a week if it was possible.
It’s the experience. Hearing the music as I watch his fingers fly across the frets, seeing his lithe body twist and snap as he punches the beat, noticing the nod he offers to his band mates when he’s winding up the tune. Hearing. Seeing. Noticing.
It’s not a far stretch to see how this applies to life; to my family, to the community I find in my church, the working relationships at my job and the connection I feel in my own musical pursuits.
It’s how I want to live, with just a bit more intentionality and a lot more awareness. It’s what I want to create, how I want to engage. In this day of instant digital memories and mp3s you can create in your spare bedroom in 30 minutes, I want to be part of something otherworldly. Whether part of the creation process or just engaged in the experience, I want to be part of something that is more.
Do you? I mean, really; how and when does this come to you? What is the more that strikes your heart and stirs your soul?