On the Way by Eric Johnson and the Superficial Costumes of the Tribe

I really enjoy the above piece, On the Way, by Eric Johnson.  I’ve always loved, among a million other styles, fast, melodic, and clean guitar playing in the vein of early Johnny Marr.  Johnson shows on this piece, being a master guitar player, how easily he goes between that kind of British jingle jangle style and American country picking.  As well as being a bass player, I have always played guitar, so just the pure musicality of the piece interests me.  However, I think even as a non-musician there are things that one can find pleasurable and interesting about the piece.  One thing you realize playing music is how many various forms of music are really similar once you get right down to it.  It’s easy to turn a country song into a reggae song or to turn a reggae groove into a calypso by just slightly altering the accents of a rhythm.  I think in this piece it is really obvious how different forms of music are more interchangeable than they let on.  When the song starts out it is pretty traditional country in the chord progression and the note choice.  As it progresses the chord progression and melody get more complex and melodic, and it starts to sound more like something Johnny Marr would have played in The Smiths.  Music is often associated with different tribes within society, although this is less prevalent than in the past.  Country music is sometimes associated with rednecks, reggae with Rastafarians, soul music and hip-hop with black culture.  But really at its core music is just music, in the same way that we all share a common humanity when you look past the superficial costumes of the tribe.


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