ERIC WILLIAM JOHNS - SMOKE IN THE SKY (Leviathan Records)
I suppose most of you out there are not familiar with the name Eric William Johns, in fact that’s a shame because this guy is regarded by me as a great vocalist. The many metamorphoses in his voice speak to the imagination, as producer David T. Chastain once said: “ Eric is a very versatile vocalist. He has the ability to do justice to a wide range of styles from Dio to Janis Joplin. I have heard him sin Dio’s ‘Gates Of Babylon’ and Janis Joplin ‘Piece Of My Heart’ with equally mastery. These words come from the mouth of a very wise musical brain so you better can assume David’s statement for truth!
During his musical career as singer, Eric William Johns teamed up with Metal bands like Simple Aggression and Human Cometh. He was also the frontman in Southern Hard Rock formation Southern Gentlemen (featuring D. T. Chastain) and to make the list complete, Eric offered his talented vocals to an Americana styled band named Rail Council. From this you can deduce that he’s is a singer of all trades who’s has never been afraid to show his own inner self by wearing t shirts from bands he really likes, no matter the style. According to myself, that’s the right spirit. Do not pretend to be someone else because sooner or later, the hammer will hit your face for sure. Just cherish the music (irrespective the style) that touches your heart is my motto !
For Eric WJ, the time has come to create his own solo album which is meanwhile released through legendary label Leviathan Records, led by the fabled guitarist/producer David T. Chastain. Eric has decided to make a CD filled with solid Hard Rock tracks with a bluesy touch. He got company of some real brothers/musicians Dave Swart on bass and Southern Gentlemen drummer Mike Haid joined forces on drums. The guitar assignments has been delivered by Steven Taylor while Eric followed his own heart writing the lyrics. Entitled “Smoke In The Sky” comes loaded with 11 smoking rockers, played straight from the heart without beating around the bush... this is the perfect reflecting to which style of music I grew up with back in the 70s/80s period of time. A wonderful era to cherish deep within my heart !
Right from the start, it’s obvious these guys really know how to deliver a style of music I actually grew up with. I’m talking about an era more than four decades ago. Back then, Classic Hard Rock came into my life due to listening to my older brother’s vinyl albums and I still remember there was a radio program named Stampij on a Dutch station called Hilversum 3. Hosted by Hanneke Kappen, every week I was glued to my radio to hear all the great stuff the program played. It definitely changed my way of living, I was hooked on the mighty forces of Classic Hard Rock & Metal and won’t let loose until the day going 6 feet below.
Listening to Eric William Johns these days, well I got that same old, good feeling again. His perfect controlled, solid as a rock, high and mighty throat makes the man a real pleasure to listen at definitely. He’s got the ability to use his very clear voice in a very special, original way, Eric’s just a very talented frontman born to be a unique Rock Star. I’d like to describe him as a mixture of Sammy Hagar in days of Montrose, David Coverdale (Whitesnake), Darren Amos (Thunderbrew) and the one and only, Mr. Zakk Wylde !
About the songs on “Smoke In The Sky” I can be short and concise, they’re all straightforward and pure to the bone, this is a remembrance of bygone times which continues to exist forevermore. In other words, Classic Hard Rock that’ll never dies ! The guitar lines kick me in the head all because of the pureness the riffs and solo’s are offered. Old rockers on the hunt for some good nostalgic moments, this effort has been influenced classic greats in the likes of Pat Travers, ZZ Top, Thin Lizzy, Bad Company, Ted Nugent, Frank Marino, Montrose as we know all of them from their early days of existence. What makes all the eleven songs so attractive? True fact is that the entire cut has been worked out in a pure and simple, so called classic rocking way with straight from the heart lyrics I can enjoy to the fullest. I let the good old days roll again while keep on increasing the volume up to the maximum! Eric William Johns’ “Smoke In The Sky” has become an excellent album for all aficionados of high-level Classic Hard Rock seasoned with hard hitting, Blues Rock ingredients. When you’re hanging out at one or another smoke filled bar pouring down a few shots of alcohol, ask the man behind the sliders to play some Eric William Johns stuff… in no time, the place will be on fire. Order at: http://www.leviathanrecords.com/ EWJ official homepage: http://www.ericwilliamjohns.com/
My Points: 87 / 100
95+ : Outstanding, high valued albums & Classic Ones… a direct purchase is advisable !
Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan
Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it
Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing
Between 60 and 69: Rather moderate
Between 50 and 59: Bad, substandard
50- : Rubbish