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CD Review -- Eric Lindell

 

Eric Lindell

Gulf Coast Highway

Alligator Records

 eric lindell cd art

By Dave Glynn

 

Eric Lindell’s latest release, Gulf Coast Highway, on Alligator Records is a breath of fresh air -- rich in harmonies, strong in songwriting and top-notch in arrangements.  There are some songs on this album that will bring a smile to your face.  This is the third release on Alligator from Eric whose relocation to the Gulf Coast of Louisiana in the late 1990s has instilled a kindred spirit into his music. 

 

Eric played our Blues on the Fox festival in Aurora a couple years back and he was the ‘sleeper’ act.  His vocals, overall performance and strong songwriting dominated the day.  He was the most talked about act at a fest that boasted an extremely strong line-up that was anchored by Robert Cray. 

 

So putting on Gulf Coast Highway was no disappointment.  The solid songwriting, great vocals and the new addition of horns arranged by tenor sax player, Jimmy Carpenter, fill up a terrific collection of eclectic styles.  Everything runs very smoothly and most of the musicians on the album are featured with solos in different spots.  There is absolutely nothing contrived or forced on this CD. The thing I liked most about this album is that each song is unique but everything is tied together. Every time I listen to it I pick up something new as it is heavily textured, but not in a burdensome way.

 

There’s something for everyone on this CD which features 12 originals and three uniquely arranged covers. The uplifting “Turnin’ It Out” has nice contrasting melodies that clearly reflect the theme of the song.  This particular song is reminiscent of Big Head Todd’s “All the Love You Need.” Overall, Gulf Coast Highway is a tasty gumbo with some Stax-style R&B (“Dirty Bird”) , New Orleans-flavored boogie (“I Can Get Off On You”), James Brown style, sax-driven R&B (“The Look”), Otis Redding-like ballads (“Lullaby for Mercy Ann” and “Love and Compassion”) and Delbert McClinton-style country blues (“Here Come the Blues Again”) and Buck Owens’ “Cryin’ Time”. 

 

The musical lineup is highlighted by the rhythm section from New Orleans band Galactic, featuring Robert Mercurio on bass and drummer Stanton Moore, who clearly inject the funk into Gulf Coast’s groove. The rest of the noteable lineup includes:  Eric Lindell on guitar and vocals, Sean Carey on harmonica and vocals, Marc Adams on the Hammond B3 and drummer/percussionist Chris DeJohn.  Other players/singers include Chris Mule on resonator guitar, Sheila Sanders and Tana Doughty on backing vocals.  The horn section includes Jimmy Carpenter (arranger) on tenor sax and Derek Houston on baritone sax.

 

Yep, it’s all on here and more. You know those “As seen on TV” commercials where they keep saying and “If you buy now, you’ll also get…” ? Well, that’s what you get on this recording.  But unlike the “As See on TV” products, you will not be disappointed with this effort.  Eric Lindell’s Gulf Coast Highway is available on Alligator Records.  Support your local independent record store and go out and get this tasty treat!

 

About the reviewer:  Dave Glynn is the leader of the Empty Can Band found at http://www.emptycanband.com.  Dave is also the PR Chair for the Blues on the Fox Festival – set this year for June 19 & 20th featuring Los Lobos and Back Door Slam.  You can visit the festival site at: http://www.bluesonthefoxaurora.com. 

 

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