Real Deal Americana From the Heart of Kentucky.
Hahahahaha…… there was very nearly an embarrassing mix up with this review; as I was reading a Press Release for something completely different as I played the album; and for the life of me couldn’t hear ‘duelling guitars’ or ‘duets of Gram and Emmylou proportions’…….. in any of the four songs I had written about!
Thankfully I’m back on track now; and this album and review are both ‘The Real Deal’!
As soon as you hear Bolander’s ‘world weary’ and greasy voice when it enters the fray on opening track Closer to the Flame you know you are in the presence of a really special singer. A claustrophobic Rock Ballad that straddles everyone from the Allman’s through Fleetwood Mac and Bob Seger with consummate ease; and he even throws in a cello just to give it some double-extra pathos too!
In today’s market Eric Bolander is 100% Americana, with epic tales of life’s struggles, drug addiction, love, losing and winning back, as well as being ‘on the road’ but this guy most certainly has one foot back in the Classic Country Rock world I first inhabited back in the 1980’s and proudly wears that on his big heart.
Bolander’s songwriting is extraordinary at times; as his use of metaphors spun my head at times; but also made me take copious notes for future reviews (wink). Check out Fly and Maybe I and you will hear words and melodies that defy the Kentuckian’s lowly place in the world of Country Music.
While there’s a ‘big production’ on many of the songs here; it only ever supports Bolander’s stories and characterful voice; with The Road and Ghost being perfect examples of a singer and Producer being in perfect tune with each other.
This also gives the album a sense of the highs and lows in his and our lives with some of the simpler acoustic songs really, really tugging on the heartstrings; with Whisper and the brooding and almost Southern Gothic Ghost both being worthy contenders for my Favourite Song accolade; perhaps one will get that title next week, when I listen again.
I didn’t want to do this; especially as Eric Bolander is an exceptional songwriter in his own rite; but the actual winner of the Favourite Track stakes is his adaptation of Purple Rain; turning it into a belting Country Rocker without ever losing or tampering with any of Prince’s delicate nuances. I had been lost in the first four verses before I realised what song I was actually listening to; which is testament to Bolander’s richly expressive voice; and anyone who thinks adding a banjo to a Prince song should listen to this; and realise the diminutive one missed a trick on the original!
There’s not a lot else to say really; I’m so happy that Eric Bolander and his album THE WIND are now in my life and I have the opportunity to share it with you guys and girls……. enjoy; you’re welcome.
Released March 29th 2019