American Idol, Guitar Player Style

In a rare meeting of Texas and Wisconsin, two of my favorite guitarists will be playing at the Boulder Theater in a few days. Willy Porter will be opening the show for Eric Johnson in the same small venue where E-Town is taped every week. I’ve seen both of these artists at this venue before, and both shows were excellent.

Willy Porter is a phenomenal guitar player and songwriter, and it stuns me that he hasn’t gotten the national recognition that he deserves. I think part of the problem has been that his studio work is much more toned down than his live playing. When he plays live, he covers all the parts that are covered by other musicians on the studio tracks. With intimate knowledge of the fretboard and alternate tunings, Willy is able to adjust his guitar during the show to play any of the tracks off his albums, and usually throws in a unique cover or two.

Eric Johnson, while not a household name, is at least well-known in the guitar player community, and has been since he appeared on the cover of Guitar Player magazine in 1986. (The cover caption said, “Who is Eric Johnson, and why is he on our cover?”) A veteran of the music business and its contract pitfalls, Johnson has somehow managed to stay at the forefront of guitar virtuosos for the last twenty years, despite sparse album releases. In recent years, his album output has increased, in part due to a relaxing of his legendary perfectionism.

I’m very excited about the show, and will report back about it when it’s over.

Oh, the Important Advice for the Day: Always open Yoplait yogurt containers away from your body.

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