My Brotherís Keepers
Independent release, 2012
REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/27/2012
I can be pretty ruthless when I’m culling through the submissions pile. There’s so much out there, and so little that makes it past the five-minute mark in my player when the stack gets high. Something has to catch my attention, whether it’s a line or a melody or an arrangement, or in the case of Eric Erdman, the simple honesty of his voice and these songs.
Singer-songwriter Erdman comes out of the gate calm and confident, with sophisticated but not overcomplicated arrangements for these mature, thoughtful songs. Acoustic guitar, bass and drums form the core, with half adding violin, plus the occasional electric guitar, piano or B-3 decorating the fringes. The music is a down-home mélange of Jack Johnson, Jon Troast, Keb’ Mo’ and Jimmy Buffett; in other words, earthiness, simplicity, sincerity—and punchlines.
Of the several standout tunes on this disc, one that makes me smile every time is “If Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right,” a song about lovers who do each other wrong but just can’t seem to say goodbye, featuring this delicious chorus: “We’ve been down this road before / But I don’t mind the drive / If two wrongs don’t make a right / What about three or four or five?” The second half of the chorus (which I won’t spoil for you) is just as witty.
“If Alabama Is Not Good Enough For You” adds a bit of a country-folk flavor with fiddle and a Deep South story-song. Soon afterwards, “I’m Through” brings more of a blues feel to the mix with a bit of swampy electric guitar and more of a soul groove to Erdman’s vocals. “Nothing Personal” is a sort of nightclub-blues corollary to Ben Folds’ “Selfless Cold & Composed,” a cut about a character so cool that he just can’t seem to give a damn.
A second highlight is closer “Peanut Butter And Jealousy,” about a guy who’s in love with a good cook but holds on too tight and is left to deal with the cleverly-rhymed consequences. (And yes, it was probably the song about food as much as the Alabama references that made me think of Jimmy Buffett…)
There’s nothing fancy or fussy about these tunes, all co-written by Erdman with his brother Wendell; it’s all about the quality of the songs themselves and the genuineness of Erdman’s delivery. My Brother’s Keepers is as comfortable and inviting as the old recliner you stuck out on the back porch because you couldn’t possibly let it go. Come by and sit a spell.
|Jason, not only do I appreciate the extremely nice and wel thought out review but I respect the style and skill with which you wrote it. I really like that you partially described the songs without "giving away" the entire thing. Very well done. |
In conclusion, as an indedpendent artist, I thank you for taking the time to listen to and review my music. I don't have a huge corporate machine behind me and that sometimes limits the avenues I'm able to go down. People like yourself that actually care about music and are willing to listen honestly to independent artists, are the only chance I have (and artists like myself have) of getting heard by the masses. Thank you.
|This is a well written review of Eric Erdman's new CD. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks!|