Eric Johanson is a multiple Top 10 Billboard-charting guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter whose original music stretches beyond traditional genre lines of blues, rock, and progressive Americana, all while feeding off the groove and history of his home in New Orleans. His four most recent solo releases – Live at DBA: New Orleans Bootleg, Covered Tracks: Vol. 1, Covered Tracks: Vol. 2, and Below Sea Level – all reached top-ten positions on the Billboard blues charts, and Guitar Player Magazine recently listed him as one of 25 Top New Blues Guitarists (Jan 2023 issue).
As a touring performer, Johanson’s solo festival appearances include the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, Las Vegas Big Blues Bender, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Crescent City Blues Fest, and others. He and his band have appeared in more than 100 cities across the United States. As a guitarist, Johanson has been a special guest to artists such as Cyril Neville, Anders Osborne, the Neville Brothers, Samantha Fish, Tab Benoit, JJ Grey, Eric Lindell, and a host of other torch-bearers of modern roots music.
A self-taught child prodigy, Johanson grew up in Louisiana, where he was gifted his first guitar at age five. By his pre-teen years, his love of the blues records played in his childhood home, by artists like Freddie King, Robert Johnson, and Buddy Guy, merged with his love for hard rock records by the likes of Metallica, White Zombie, Soundgarden, and Nine Inch Nails. Throughout his teenage years, he frequently performed with older blues musicians, generating for himself considerable acclaim as a budding regional star. What would prove to become a lifelong exploration of his varied musical interests began in his college years in New Orleans, where he delved into progressive rock and beat-making while simultaneously developing his blues voice. After graduating from the University of New Orleans, Johanson spent several years in New Zealand before being called back to his home and the improvisational, extemporaneous nature of roots music in the Crescent City.
Johanson has since established himself as an in-demand guitarist and guest performer for some of the most prolific names in New Orleans’ diverse roots music scene. In 2017, blues rock icon Tab Benoit took notice and signed Johanson to his Whiskey Bayou Records label. That same year, Johanson released his Benoit-produced debut solo album, Burn It Down, which led to two years of national touring with Benoit.
In 2019, following an appearance at an all-star jam during the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Eric caught the ear of North Mississippi Allstars’ Luther Dickinson, who expressed interest in producing Johanson’s next record. In 2020, Johanson signed with Nola Blue Records and released Below Sea Level, which was recorded at the Dickinson’s Zebra Ranch and includes contributions from Cody Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars) on drums, Terrence Grayson (Victor Wainwright) on bass, and Ray Jacildo (JD McPherson) on B3 organ. The album features 12 original songs penned by Johanson and was mixed by Dan Auerbach’s head engineer at Easy Eye Sound in Nashville, M. Allen Parker.
Johanson’s fan base grew extensively during the pandemic and ensuing shutdown of live music due to his successful acoustic live streams, during which he mixed original songs with covers of artists representing a variety of genres. Popular demand led to the release of Covered Tracks, volumes one and two, in the spring of 2021. In early 2022, Johanson released Live at DBA: New Orleans Bootleg, his first live album and a double-disc raw and unfiltered snapshot of his live band in action.
In late 2022 & early 2023, Johanson has been burning up the road supporting Samantha Fish on cross-country tours, and summer 2023 will see the release of Eric’s highly anticipated third studio record.
Live at DBA: New Orleans Bootleg (2022):
“EJ is one of the most vital roots musicians working today, and every note of Live at DBA: New Orleans Bootleg proves why.” - Rock and Blues Muse.
“It incarnates all that I love about this scorching show – the coalesced backing, the blistering, soulful fretwork, the improvised ebb and flow, and of course, the sheer intensity and passion that is the heartbeat of any unforgettable live blues rock show.” - Blues Rock Review.
Below Sea Level (2020):
“Johanson’s penchant for creating inventive, bluesy riffs.. really make the album pop.” - Relix Magazine.
“This is a masterpiece from a blues musician who shows great artistry.” - Blues Matters.
"Next time out, Johanson better be skilled at pole vaulting to hurdle over the high bar he’s set for himself. A crowning achievement." - OffBeat Magazine.
Burn It Down (2017):
“An earnest blend of roots-Americana singing and brawny, backwoods guitar grooves” - Sacramento News & Review.
“Along with his solid playing and singing, Johanson’s willingness to write Blues music without adhering to the genre’s traditional structuring makes for a compelling listen, as does his deeper examination of the emotions that the Blues were built upon” - Cincinnati City Beat.