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IndiePulse Reviews “PAIN BY NUMBERS”, The New Album by Eric McFadden

Whiskey Bayou Records proudly releases Pain By Numbers, the new album by acclaimed guitarist-vocalist, Eric McFadden.

Guitar Player Magazine writes, “If San Francisco is home to anyone approaching the abilities of a modern Jimi Hendrix, it’s Eric McFadden.”  Produced by famed musician (and Whiskey Bayou Records co-owner) Tab Benoit, “Pain by Numbers” is twelve tracks of dark gospel, compelling rock, and dirty blues.

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In Review: “PAIN BY NUMBERS”, The New Album by Eric McFadden is a masterful collection or power-plays, each song in itself is wild and engaging, but together the album as a whole is a blast, and beyond description. what I find most alluring about this album is the diversity of styles performed, soft and hypnotic, Latin inspired guitar work, like in the song “Cactus Juice” that brings images of south of the border or of the beaches of Spain, and then more Blues Driven styles like found in “Fool Your Heart“, down and dirty blues riffs and massively talented string work. “I Never Listened Too Good” is a track that smacks of life’s regrets and lessons learned the hard way, while “The Girl Has Changed” is an ode to Bar Room Rock and Power Chords, “PAIN BY NUMBERS” has something foe everyone.

Encompassing three decades of recording and performing live, McFadden has created his own original style. His  music is dirty, his guitar is dirty, and his attitude is dirty. Not in a “screw you” way but in the gut-wrenching, no-holds-barred, breaking-all-the-rules way. This all brings an unleashed passion to his song writing, guitar playing, and his endless, creative Pain By Numbers journey.

McFadden enlists some renowned musicians on Pain By Numbers: Doug Wimbish (from legendary rock band Living Color) on bass; Terrence Higgins (Warren Haynes, Ani DiFranco) on drums; and the aforementioned Tab Benoit on keyboards.  Pain By Numbers represents an artist exposing his own vulnerability with unmatched expression, style, delivery, and above all, originality.

Who can say what Blues really is when the music and lyrics gush out like a river of pain from one’s personal experiences? The Blues comes in many shapes and sizes. We often try to put our finger on it but it easily slips into another form keeping the music relevant and forever alive. While delivering the goods with the same energy as the Clash and the Ramones, Eric McFadden’s Blues seek its own musical footprint on Pain By Numbers.


In Eric’s Own Words: About Some of the Tracks on ‘Pain By Numbers’

THE GIRL HAS CHANGED : “This song will likely speak to anyone who has witnessed a friend or family member become consumed or transformed by drugs, fame or whatever else might potentially compel someone to lose themselves. I was walking around with this riff and a partial chorus. Seeing as how I was at Steelbridge Songfest at the time, an amazing songwriting festival that takes place in Sturgeon Bay every June, I grabbed a couple of brilliant songwriter friends, James Hall and Gary Wertz, and we hammered out the song in about an hour. Three heads are generally better than one when you want to get a song written fast. The song has been hanging around for a few years, but finally found a home on this record. Definitely a bit of Rolling Stones in there.”

SO HARD TO LEAVE : “This song is more of an emotional reaction than a composition. What you’re hearing here is the first thing thing I played and sang when I picked up the guitar in that moment. This one was practically finished before I wrote it. As with so many songs, this one is born of pain. It’s pretty self-explanatory. Wrote it in two days before the recording of the album.”

LOVE COME RESCUE ME : “This song was initiated by James Hall, who had a good deal of the music and the hook already written. James and myself, along with Andrea Wittgens and Liv Mueller, hashed out the rest of it in a room at The Holiday Motel in Sturgeon Bay, WI. The first three verses obviously pertain to biblical stories. There are some rather savage tales in the Holy Book, as we know. There’s murder, betrayal, jealousy, etc. There’s a lot to be learned about human nature in there. What are we seeking or needing in our most profoundly desperate moments? In our confusion, in our longing, in our suffering? No mystery here. Everybody knows the answer.”

IF I DIE TODAY“A fast-tempo John Lee Hooker-meets-Gospel inspired feel. It’s alright if I die today. Perhaps I can no longer bare to witness the tragedies and injustices of life…the suffering and inhumanity. Maybe I feel I’ve done too much damage…I fear I may continue to cause pain and suffering to others in my life, or perhaps I’ve lived such a full life and have witnessed so much beauty, received so much love that I’m good to go. ..maybe I just want to see what’s on the other side…maybe I’m just tired. This one was written a couple of weeks prior to the recording.”


Eric McFadden: Some Background

Eric McFadden has a great musical pedigree that has allowed him to master many styles and genres of music. He refers to his own performances as a “therapeutic musical experiences for the audience and himself.”  He’s brought that experience to the music of others – most recently as the featured guitarist in Anders Osborne’s Band; and prior to that, stints with the legendary George Clinton (Parliament-Funkadelic) and Eric Burdon’s bands. McFadden has collaborated on stage and/or in studio with the likes of blues great Bo Diddley, Keb Mo’, Living Colour, Joe Strummer (The Clash), Nels Cline (Wilco), Les Claypool (Primus), The Meters, Pat MacDonald (Timbuk3), Robert Walter, Bernie Worell (Talking Heads/Funkadelic), Bonnie Rait, Bill Kreutzman (Grateful Dead), Ron Wood & Chuck Leavell (Rolling Stones), Pink, North Mississippi All Stars, Juan Nelson (Ben Harper), Pete Sears (Jefferson Airplane, Rod Stewart), Carla Bozulich, Joe Santiago & Dave Lovering (The Pixies), Widespread Panic, Jackson Browne, Fishbone, Mike Watt (Minutemen), The Reverend Horton Heat, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Grace Potter, Galactic, Jack Johnson, Boots Riley (The Coup), Steward Copeland (The Police), among others.

McFadden is a member of the supergroup, T.E.N., alongside Thomas Pridgen (Mars Volta) and Norwood Fisher (Fishbone). Eric has also collaborated with Fishbone front man, Angelo Moore and Queen delphine on a project called Tasty Face. In the past, McFadden toured extensively with the Eric McFadden Trio (EMT), which featured bass phenom James Whiton (Tom Waits) and the great Paulo Baldi (Cake, Les Claypool). Eric was also a member of the all-star band, Stockholm Syndrome, which included notable players such as Dave Schools (Widespread Panic), Jerry Joseph (Jack Mormons), Wally Ingram (Sheryl Crow) and Danny Louis (Govt. Mule).

Eric McFadden – Make it Mine from Eric Loy on Vimeo.

The Eric McFadden discography includes several independently- produced solo and band albums on such labels as Terminus (Atlanta), Fortune (San Francisco), Bad Reputation (Paris), Response (USA) and phYne Entertainment (USA), many regarded as undeground classics by critics and fans alike. McFadden’s 2011 release Bluebird on Fire received much acclaim, including a 5-Star review in Crossroads Magazine.

Having the opportunity to play music & benefit from a creative outlet inspired Eric to co-found the 10-Star Program, alongside his partner in crime, delphine de St.Paër (a/k/a Queen delphine). The 10-Star Program provides avenues for artists to work with troubled youth and communities to encourage personal empowerment through music and the arts.



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About Joseph Timmons (9898 Articles)
I am the Father of 5 and a "Would Be Philosopher of Idiocy" - Author and Writer for several Blogs and Online Magazine. Review Journalist, Musician and Audio Buff. Follow Me and I'm Sure to Entertain.

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