Guitar Greats Eric Johnson and Mike Stern to perform in Newton.

eric-johnsonGuitar legends Eric Johnson and Mike Stern will perform together at the Newton Theatre on Thursday, Nov. 20 at 8 p.m. Grammy award winner and preeminent contemporary guitar player Eric Johnson is esteemed for his stunning guitar mastery. Six-time Grammy nominee Mike Stern has established himself as one of the premier jazz/jazz-fusion guitarists of his generation. Together the dynamic duo are compelling with their guitar prowess, musical artistry, and riveting live performances.

Eric Johnson’s stature as one of the premier guitar players in contemporary music is his artistic trump card, backed by a Grammy Award and five nominations, platinum album, Top 10 hits like Cliffs Of Dover, praise from critics and the esteem of his peers. But the full hand of his talents marks him as well as a gifted songwriter, dynamic live performer, singer, pianist, song interpreter, and creator of a rich and diverse musical legacy.

Johnson’s success over the last 20 years was presaged by a grassroots rise in which he made his reputation as a formidable musical talent since he first became a local sensation in the Austin clubs as a teen with the psychedelic rock band Mariani. Trained on classical piano as a youth, he switched to the guitar after the stateside arrival of the Beatles in 1964.

As a young player he delved deeply into blues, jazz, country and other styles that inform his music. By the mid-70s, Johnson began touring and sparking a buzz about his astonishing talents in the jazz-rock outfit Electromagnets, whose recordings from that era were released in the 1990s to critical acclaim. He cut his teeth in the studio on sessions for Cat Stevens, Christopher Cross and Carole King, and by 1984 his stature was so strong that the unsigned artist was tapped to make his first appearance on the prestigious PBS concert show “Austin City Limits.” At the urging of such stars as Cross and Prince, Johnson was signed to a major label deal with Reprise Records and emerged onto the international recording scene.

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