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Eric Lindell
Low On Cash, Rich In Love

Alligator Records

By James “Skyy Dobro” Walker
12 songs; 46:18 minutes; Suggested

 The top surprise of 2006 was the biggest Blues record label, Alligator, signing and promoting a non-Blues artist, Eric Lindell. In founder and president Bruce Iglauer’s own words, Lindell is “more roots rock than blues, with plenty of the musical flavors of his adopted hometown of New Orleans.” Iglauer began, “I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the way the blues community has embraced Eric Lindell.”

On a side note, indicative of “Blues’” niche in mainstream music, even though Alligator is the biggest label, it is still called an “indie” (independent) label among the legion of unincorporated indies.

Many bands have sent promo CDs to Iglauer hoping to get his label’s support machine behind them. As the New Orleans Times-Picayune pointed out, “Lindell has witnessed the impact a motivated record company can have on a musician's career. After years of ... little or no promotion, his songs are getting airplay on Triple-A and community radio stations and the Sirius and XM satellite networks. Airplay translates to paying customers at gigs.”

Richly talented, Lindell created a slightly Bluesier album for his second Alligator release, and songwriting continues as a forte as he originates simple but catchy love and lost-love songs. Lindell plays guitar and even plays Junior Wells inspired harp on a couple of songs. Eric’s voice is rough hewn, but it 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.

Lindell described his music thusly to the Times-Picayune, “Chris Mule (the band's guitarist) dug up this old Delbert McClinton CD called Delbert and Glen [Clark], from around 1972. It's this rootsy, bluesy, soul country. It reminded us of what we do, but with a country feel to it.... "It's not a far stretch from what we're already doing.”

Recorded at Piety Street Studio in New Orleans, the CD is all originals save one cover, a totally reworked version of Gil Scott-Heron’s “Lady Day And John Coltrane.” Saxophones have been added to the hook-laden melodies, grooves build on top of each other, and there’s full and thoughtful professional studio production. Bottom line:  Iglauer has scored another success – this time through Blues’ roots rock side door.

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