Guitarist, singer and Louisiana native Eric Johanson makes music with authentic roots in the dynamic tapestry of New Orleans. Putting the vivid personality of the guitar at its center, his work is inspired by the blues, Americana and straight-up rock n roll. He transforms improvisational riffs, harmonies and rhythms and his up-front vocal style into a sound that evokes the mysterious hidden wonders of the Louisiana bayou, the vibrant heat of the city and all the lively spaces in between. Performances showcase Eric on slide guitar and bluesy lead guitar, backed by his energetic rhythm section; together, the power trio reimagines tunes each night, creating a communal experience for audiences. Lyrics unfold as shared conversations about relationships and the challenges of the human journey that are both universal and personal to his own life experiences and embody his belief that music has the power to forge meaningful and enduring relationships between people.
Eric’s latest album, Below Sea Level is a modern southern blues-and-rock-infused album that showcases the artist’s earnest songwriting, inviting voice and formidable guitar skills, capturing a bombastic live sound and his raw, genuine approach to music making. Eric explains, “The songs deal a lot with rebuilding and reorienting the mind and one’s relationship to the world … With this album I was finally able to bring my blues and rock influences to a place of more imagination and creativity, while keeping it organic and honest. It’s contemporary music naturally grown from the roots of southern blues and psychedelic inspiration.” Co-produced by Luther and Cody Dickinson, Below Sea Level was mixed by M. Allen Parker (Marcus King, Dan Auerbach) recorded at the famed Zebra Ranch Studios in the North Mississippi Hill Country and features Cody on drums along with Terrence Grayson (the Victor Wainwright Band) on bass.
Eric’s spark for music was ignited by the contagious energy of emotionally-driven blues and rock music with big, soulful guitar sounds that surrounded him as a young boy in the south. The moment he got his first instrument, he was fascinated by its ability to become a part of his body and mind and experimented with it as a vehicle for deep expression. By the time he was 10, he was writing his own melodies, harmonies, lyrics and transforming them into sophisticated songs, already familiarizing himself with big stages throughout Louisiana before he graduated from high school. His talent caught the attention of well-known blues artist Tab Benoit, who signed him as the first guitarist/singer to his label, Whiskey Bayou Records. Benoit produced, engineered and played drums on Eric’s 2017 debut album, Burn It Down and invited him along as the opening act on a two-year-long nation-wide tour.
A growing force in the blues and southern rock scene, Eric has also toured worldwide as the lead guitarist for the renowned Cyril Neville, Grammy-winner Terrance Simien and has also been a featured special guest with JJ Grey and Mofro, Eric Lindell, Mike Zito, Anders Osborne, the Neville Brothers and many others. Burn It Down was followed in early 2019 by the duet “Blues in my Blood” with New Orleans blues and jazz vocalist Tiffany Pollack. The track stayed at the top of Roots Music Report’s Blues Rock chart for many months after its release and won an Independent Music Award for Best Blues Song as well as a Blues Blast Magazine award for Best New Artist Debut Album.
Eric brings a fascination with the puzzle of existence and an appreciation of the beauty that lies within the simple details to his work as he continues to evolve as a musician and songwriter. Below Sea Level is out September 18, 2020.