Every now and then I get a CD to review, which is why I still have a CD player. And every now and then I take a look at a re-release, which is almost always a CD. I recently saw a live performance by Eric the Fool and Ocean Sun accompanied b y Gilberto Rios on bass and Miguel Soto on drums – a formidable combination. Afterward, Eric handed me a CD and said he was re-releasing his 2011 album Meet Me by his earlier band, the Brooklyn-based Truthseekers.
I was intrigued because up until then I had heard the ethereal electro rock he and Oceana create with her magic synths and his keyboard and guitar. The live performance that night at Meraki’s, the new in-place for hip music in Lake Chapala area, was gospel -like blues with some rock thrown in – and all originals in the first set. Wow – a whole new Eric the Fool. So I put the album on my CD/radio player and checked out where that all came from.
Meet Me is gospel-style (but not gospel), rich soul blues so slick that it is completely downhome. Kicking off with the title song, “Meet Me, the band intros with some effects and then moves into:
Once I thought I could lead the revolution/but now I’m doing fine just believin’ there’s smore than one solution.
Sounds like good advice for our times, especially when it is delivered with his Dr. John-like voice, a set of well-tuned gospel backup vocals and a steady truckin’ blues beat.
From there he moves into a high energy blues rock number with horn accents, “On the Rise”, a workin’ song that tells us When you laugh to the music/Nothin’s gonna get you down. More good advice for our times. ”Dumont” follows and drops down a couple of notches on the tempo as Eric’s voice goes falsetto, delivering the hooks like a 50’s R&B romantic.
The band moves on to “Participate”, with a heart-tugging melancholy guitar riff and a story asking a brother to rejoin life. “Weatherman” with K. Karlos moves into fast tempo on the snare and the solid blues/R&B voice of Kristen Karlos, who does what the lyrics command: I got to keep movin’, movin’ – just what you want to do when you play it.
“What’s Mine is Mine” moves back into blues rock territory and Eric’s conversational blues voice, with Maximillian DeArmon talking/rap lyrics– framed with the gospel backup vocals. But from the rockin joy of “What’s Mine is Mine” we go to busy sidewalk sounds and distant vocals in “Things Fall Apart”, an interesting title for a call and response song about the beginning of love, or maybe not.
The album wraps up with “Brightest Star, a bongo-led line-dance rock and roller laced with astrological references to Virgo and great lines like I am a vulture for your love, and “Greatest of the World”, a completely different environment led with an Irish flute celebrating the message that if humankind is the greatest of creation, should we love each other. The pace is slow, so you can think about it.
The ultimate measure of an album is that it is fun and pleasurable to listen to. Meet Me meets and exceeds that standard with excellent writing, musicianship, creativity, and production. But it stands out because even more because each of the songs is a capsule of music and message; it hangs together and takes the listener on a journey that is fun and ends in a thought. And I loved opening the CD and seeing the lyric booklet and the inner artwork. Spotify just can’t do that, but Eric and the Truthseekers can and did.
Meet Me. By The Truthseekers (Eric DeArmon)
Release 2011 on House of Bread Records.
Re-released nd available on Apple Music, Bandcamp .
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