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Eric Johnson's still rockin' as 60 looms

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Eric Johnson finds the prospect of turning 60 in the coming month, "just ridiculous."

"I've got to laugh about it at this point," says the Grammy Award-winning, Texas-based guitarist, who hits the big mark on Aug. 17. That said, Johnson views his 40-year career in music, briefly with bands such as Alien Love Child and Electromagnetics but mostly as a solo artist, as "a gift."

"I'm thankful for that," he explains. "If you get to do what you love and you kind of weather through the pitfalls or the ups and downs and realize, 'Wow, I'm gonad do what I love. It doesn't matter if I'm not on the top of the charts or whatever' and get to do what you love for your lifetime, that's pretty wonderful.

"A lot of my heroes got to do that -- or do get to do that, the ones who are still alive. It's such a fickle business, so I'm just really thankful."

Johnson's latest release is a concert set, "Europe Live," recorded overseas with his trio last year. Johnson says a live album wasn't the intent from the tour, but the guitarist says it's a welcome surprise.

"I really wasn't planning on it," notes Johnson, whose next release will be a collaborative effort with fellow guitarist Mike Stern. "My European label just said, 'Do you want to record a few of the shows, just for the heck of it, see what happens.' So I said 'sure' and didn't think much about it; the guys that recorded it were in the back of the venue and just ran some wires back there, so I wasn't thinking about it much.

"They mailed me the tapes when I got back home and I started listening and some of it was not very good. But then I found some stuff and was like, 'This is pretty good' and thought 'Y'know, what, let's put out a record. We might as well put out a documentation of what we've done.' So I'm glad it's out there for people to hear."

Buddy Guy and Eric Johnson

8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6

Meadow Brook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University, Rochester Hills

Tickets are $25-$75 pavilion, $15 lawn with a $44 lawn four-pack

Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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