Ah Via Musicom


Ah Via Musicom is the second studio album by guitarist Eric Johnson, released in 1990 through Capitol Records.[4] The album reached No. 67 on the U.S. Billboard 200[2] and remained on that chart for 60 weeks.[5] All four singles charted on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart, with three of them being top 10 hits: "High Landrons" at No. 31, "Righteous" at No. 8, "Cliffs of Dover" at No. 5 and "Trademark" at No. 7. "Cliffs of Dover" went on to win the Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance at the 1992 Grammys.[6]

Ah Via Musicom
Eric Johson Ah Via Musicom.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 28, 1990 (1990-02-28)
RecordedMarch 1988 – June 1989
StudioRiverside Sound, Arlyn Studios, and Saucer One Studio in Austin, Texas; Studio Seven
GenreInstrumental rock, rock
ProducerEric Johnson, Richard Mullen [1]
Eric Johnson chronology
Ah Via Musicom
Venus Isle
Singles from Ah Via Musicom
  1. "High Landrons"
    Released: 1990[2]
  2. "Righteous"
    Released: 1990[2]
  3. "Cliffs of Dover"
    Released: October 1, 1991[3]
  4. "Trademark"
    Released: 1991[2]


Several songs are dedicated to fellow guitarists: Johnson stated in a March 1990 interview with Guitar Player magazine that "Steve's Boogie" is dedicated to Austin-based pedal steel guitarist Steve Hennig, while "Song for George" is dedicated to an 80-year-old guitarist friend of his named George Washington. Furthermore, "East Wes" is dedicated to jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery, and takes its name from the 1966 album East-West by The Paul Butterfield Blues Band.

A DVD-Audio edition of Ah Via Musicom was released in 2002 through Capitol Records, but without Johnson's input. After he expressed disappointment in the sound quality and mixing, it was soon withdrawn by the label after 2500 copies were sold.[7][8] In an August 2005 issue of Guitar Player, he confirmed that an authorized 5.1 DVD-Audio edition of the album was in the works, but as of 2022 it has not been released.[9]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [4]

Robert Taylor at AllMusic gave Ah Via Musicom 4.5 stars out of 5, saying that it has "reached near-classic proportions within the guitar community" and highlighting the varied styles present, namely rock, pop, blues, country and jazz. Praise was given to Johnson for his "excellent chops and a clear tone" as well as his singing, which was described as "not quite as interesting as his guitar playing", but also for being "not obtrusive and ... at times quite pleasing".[4]

"Cliffs of Dover" has endured as Johnson's best-known song and is a mainstay at his concerts.[10][original research?] It was ranked No. 17 in a list of "100 Greatest Guitar Solos" by Guitar World magazine,[11] No. 34 in a list of "50 greatest guitar tones of all time" by Guitarist magazine,[12] and remains a highly regarded staple within the guitar community.[13]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Eric Johnson, except where noted.

"Part 1"
1."Ah Via Musicom" (Johnson, Steve Barber)2:05
2."Cliffs of Dover"4:10
3."Desert Rose" (Johnson, Vince Mariani)4:57
4."High Landrons"5:46
5."Steve's Boogie"1:52
"Part 2"
7."Nothing Can Keep Me from You"4:23
8."Song for George"1:49
10."Forty Mile Town"4:13
11."East Wes"3:30
Total length:40:58


Chart performanceEdit


Year Chart Position
1990 Billboard 200 67[2]


Year Title Chart Position
1990 "High Landrons" Billboard Mainstream Rock 31[2]
"Righteous" 8[2]
1991 "Cliffs of Dover" 5[2]
"Trademark" 7[2]


Title Event Award Result
"Cliffs of Dover" 1992 Grammys Best Rock Instrumental Performance Won[6]


  1. ^ "Eric Johnson Says He 'Just Killed' Himself Making Breakthrough LP".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Ah Via Musicom - Eric Johnson | Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2014-11-11.
  3. ^ "Cliffs of Dover - Eric Johnson". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2014-03-27.
  4. ^ a b c Taylor, Robert. "Ah Via Musicom - Eric Johnson". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2016-02-25.
  5. ^ "Eric Johnson - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2014-03-27.
  6. ^ a b "34th Grammy Awards - 1992". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2014-03-27.
  7. ^ Lieck, Ken (2002-03-29). "Dancing About Architecture". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2014-11-11.
  8. ^ Lieck, Ken (2002-06-21). "Ah, DIY DVD". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2014-11-11.
  9. ^ Leslie, Jimmy (August 2005). "Obsessive Perfectionist Eric Johnson Is Trying Go With the Flow". Guitar Player. NewBay Media. Archived from the original on 2008-01-03. Retrieved 2022-04-23.
  10. ^ "Eric Johnson Concert Setlists & Tour Dates". setlist.fm. Retrieved 2014-03-27.
  11. ^ Guitar World Staff (2008-10-21). "100 Greatest Guitar Solos: No. 17 "Cliffs of Dover" (Eric Johnson)" Archived 2012-05-23 at the Wayback Machine. Guitar World. NewBay Media. Retrieved 2013-09-16.
  12. ^ "The 50 greatest guitar tones of all time... ever!" | Eric Johnson - Cliffs Of Dover, Ah Via Musicom (1990)". Guitarist. Future plc. 2010-11-02. Retrieved 2013-09-16.
  13. ^ Stone, Doug. "Cliffs of Dover - Eric Johnson". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2013-09-13.

External linksEdit

  • In Review: Eric Johnson "Ah Via Musicom" at Guitar Nine Records