Tones Album Review

Warner Bros.

To those in the know, Texas virtuoso Eric Johnson was a guitar legend even before his first legit long-player, Tones. Though it took sophomore stunner Ah Via Musicom to make the axe ace a superstar, this release nabbed radio attention (sharp Yardbirds-quoting single "Off My Mind") and a Grammy nod (blasting instrumental "Zap"). Like "Zap," the shimmering "Emerald Eyes" is rescued from aborted early sessions. More beautiful movements await at "Bristol Shore" and "Soulful Terrain" which settle into smooth, tight jams that transcend places you dream of. Nothing here ascends quite as miraculously or infectiously as the second record's "Trademark" or "Cliffs of Dover," but Tones still glistens in a purely natural manner: Johnson's amiable vocals settle over melodic textures, top-notch musicianship, and wonderful heaps of luscious licks. There's really nothing wrong with this excellent debut.

-STONE, Cheap Trash NYC
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