Erik Brandt, Green Eyed Alone
Saturday, November 11th
A while back I reviewed one of the most elaborately decorated CDs that contained music by a band called The Urban Hillbilly Quartet. That album, The A List, is the eclectic prairie band Urban Hillbilly Quartet’s “Best Of”, highlighting over six years of music from 1995 through 2001. There were comical descriptions in the liner notes of the album about how the band formed. According to the literature, “Erik Brandt was born Endicott Rasmenclowder, a natural wall-flower whose parents forgot he existed. He changed his name and swore to become a rock star.” The band itself teetered from country to folk with a firm sound of bluegrass always swaying to the beat. The fixture of that group, Erik Brandt (guitar, accordion, piano, lead vocals) recently released a solo album titled, Green Eyed Alone. Over the years with Jeremy Szopinski (electric guitar) The Urban Hillbilly Quartet performed regularly at nightclubs, bars, colleges, festivals, park band shells, coffee shops and anywhere else with an ear for great music. This Thursday Erik comes alone to play music from his new CD.
Green Eyed Alone is contemporary music that falls in the genre of Americana-roots-jam-rock. It begins with an instrumental tune on the piano that Erik Wrote at 18 titled, “Tanz den Dobberstein.” Soft, it opens the album gently and doesn’t force anything onto the listener. “Shooting Star” comes next ushering in a sound that could be best described as Jug band R.E.M. playing a rendition of The Rolling Stones “Wild Horses.” The song is catchy and the best of the entire album. That is not what Erik sounds like though, which is evident in his next song, “Just One More Time.” “Time” sounded like bluegrass country meets 1970s Beach Boys. This is followed by another instrumental titled, “The House On The Hill.” Originally a song with lyrics, it now sounds better according to Erik without the words. “Thousand Heartaches” was written after Erik toured the U.K. with Irish troubadour Brian Houston. He suggests the song be played while driving. If you take his advice it will feel like TBT are playing in your backseat with a touch of country. The album’s namesake, “Green Eyed Alone” takes the listener back to another time. One of those simplistic ballads that were popular after Urban Cowboy came out in the late 1970s.
Other artists and musicians who joined Erik on the album are Luke Jacobs (bass & harmony vocals), Peter Karman (harmony vocals), Milo Mietzner (washboard), Alex Oana (studio mixing & artistic mastermind), Tim O’Reagan (harmony vocals), Peter Rasmussen (harmonica & studio engineer), Greg Reierson (mastering), Rick Risch (harmony vocals), Dave Strahan (banjo), and Jeremy Szopinski (electric guitar & producer). Together these artists came together to create and easygoing country album that is fresh bluegrass artistic music. Check out Erik’s web site to learn more: www.ErikBrandt.com.