Archive for August 15th, 2012

Eric Essix – Eric Essix

Essential Recordings presents the new self titled release by Eric Essix, his first set of brand new music and arrangements following the success of 2009’s “Birmingham”!

It’s a new sound and a new direction for this southern styled guitarist whose soulful licks and phrasings are drenched in gospel and blues, but tinged with a generous portion of rock and neck bobbing funk. On this outing, those core characteristics of his sound remain, but compositionally he has broadened his horizons and embraced some country and folk music textures that happen to blend nicely with his southern sensibility and laid back approach. It is a natural progression for him as a writer after songs like Brother Bryan, Miles Away, Big Valley and his very “churchy” rendition of the civil rights anthem, We Shall Overcome from the Birmingham album. The record definitely seems to further define his identity for his listeners and even for himself.

“I have never personally considered myself to be a jazz artist in the truest sense of the word as it relates to the tradition of the music. But, I think because my music is predominately instrumental, I have been labeled a jazz guitarist; which is fine…I get it. However, I also understand that jazz requires a certain amount of study and discipline and, for guitarists, there is a very distinct vocabulary and sound that I have not put in the time to master like so many of my contemporaries like Russell Malone, Mark Whitfield and others. From my first album to this newest one, the voice that has been the most expressive for me on the guitar has always had an edgy, overdriven crunchiness which is the sound I love more than any other. I have not used that voice as much as I would have liked over the past several years in the studio and it’s exciting to explore it a bit more on this new project.”

Eric does not waste any time going there on the album’s opener, his cover of the Tom Petty hit, Free Fallin which ends with wailing Strat tones soaring over a bubbly organ pad and soaring background vocals. Except for the angular B-3 solo on the next song by the records producer and keyboardist Kelvin Wooten, on a funky Essix composition called Gravitate, the album contains nothing but extended guitar solos with Eric taking his time to make a clear statement on all of the albums ten tracks. “I got a lot of encouragement from Kelvin to ‘just play’ and even the songs we had originally planned to fade, ended up rolling out to the very end of the track with guitar solos.” A lot of listeners who have followed Eric since his debut recording in 1988 will probably say, “It’s about time!”

Eric’s album is available at CDBaby.