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Eric Lindell - Gulf Coast Highway

Alligator Records

15 songs; Time 46:14; Splendid

Styles: Roots Rock; New Orleans flavored R&B; Soul ballads; Country Rock

“It’s not blues, but it’s music that will appeal to almost every blues fan,” Bruce Iglauer, President/Owner Alligator Records. On that knowledge, Iglauer took the chance to bring Eric Lindell into the Alligator fold anyway.

This is Lindell’s third album for Alligator since his debut “Change in the Weather” in 2006. In the short years since he joined Alligator, and with their public relations machine behind him, Eric Lindell has emerged from a regional cult artist known, first, only to a small but enthusiastic group of fans in his native Northern California and, next, his adopted home town of New Orleans. Today he is a popular singer/songwriter/guitarist with a national fan base. He has cut off his shoulder length hair, but his distinctive music is still intact.

Richly talented, his songwriting originates catchy love and lost-love songs. Eric’s voice is an instantly pleasing mid-register voice reminiscent of Van Morrison or a young Delbert McClinton. His laid back vocals have the slight lazy slur of an unintentional hipster. Critics and fans have acclaimed the arrival of a roots rocker who combines sweet, blue-eyed soul with groove-laden R&B, swamp pop, and funk, all incorporated into dozens of enjoyable original songs. “Gulf Coast Highway” is an album that will most likely boost his popularity even further.

With musical help from some of the Crescent City’s finest players, including the Galactic rhythm section of Robert Mercurio and Stanton Moore on some tracks, Lindell has created an entertaining set of soul-infused roots music including some heartfelt ballads and funky second-line rhythms. Other guests are Sean Carey on backing vocals and harmonica and Chris Mule on resonator guitar.

Recorded at Balance Studio in Mandeville, Louisiana, the CD features twelve original songs and three inspired covers featuring a hint of honky-tonk on new versions of Buck Owens, Delbert McClinton and Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson songs, respectively “Crying Time,” “Here Come the Blues Again,” and “I Can Get Off On You.” Lindell produced the album while Drew Vonderhaar recorded and mixed.

Do the math: fifteen songs in forty-six-plus minutes means they are coming at you pretty quickly. The first eight are originals all in Lindell’s distinct style. The real fun begins with track 9, the Waylon and Willie song, where Eric sings put the drugs away, “I Can Get Off on You.” Now, that’s as Country as a meadow muffin.

If you believe, as Chip Eagle wrote, that “Blues” is a big house with many rooms, you’ll make room for this latest roots rocker from Eric Lindell.

Reviewer James “Skyy Dobro” Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show “Friends of the Blues” can be heard each Thursday from 4:30 – 6:00pm on WKCC 91.1 FM in Kankakee, IL
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