Eric Johnson

Texas doesn't have a ton of natives with Grammys on their shelves--especially not 50+ year-olds who are still turning heads with their tasteful guitar chops. But that's what you can expect from Eric Johnson, a man whose ear is so well-trained he can tell when a roadie puts the wrong type of battery in an effects pedal. Out on his harder-rocking cohort Steve Vai's label, Favored Nations, Johnson's new album, Bloom, adds another slew of melodic solos, lush instrumentals and lyrics intoned by his under-appreciated tenor to an already formidable catalog.

:"I've been around awhile, but I think there's still a lot to do with the guitar," Johnson says. "There's a tendency to get comfortable with what's already been done on it so many times, but you just can't get on the guitar and bash out what's been done for 40 years. If you do want to keep the guitar in the forefront it's the responsibility of the musician to make sure it warrants being there." It's something Johnson takes seriously, and with a goal of always producing "something people are touched by instead of something that just impresses them," it's no wonder that he's reaping the rewards.