Rockin' the Region DJ Dave Hoffenberg
The Mountain Times, Oct. 9-15, 2019
I've only seen Eric King live for a minute but after listening to his debut CD, I want to see him for hours. I thoroughly enjoyed “30 Days to 50”. I was three tracks in before looking at the credits to see his band on the CD is an all-star Vermont band. He is the only vocalist but I heard female backing tracks and learned those are Jenny Porter. Half the musicians have been featured in my articles. Besides vocals, King is on rhythm guitar. Joining him and Porter are: Rick Redington (Lead Guitar, Ukulele), Jared Johnson (Bass), Chad Hollister (Drums), J.D. Tolstoi (Keyboards), Barbara Smith (Saxophone, Flute), Mike Connerty (Trumpet), Danielle Connerty (Trombone) and Liam Gentry (Trombone). King's also launching Groove St Records, his own independent label. You can get the CD on that site, CD Baby and The Howling Mouse record store in Rutland.
The CD hooked me right from the beginning. Track one, “Slow Mellow Burn”, starts out just that with a mellow, jazzy feel then King's vocals kick in. It picks up and becomes a catchy lyrical tune. You hear the horns and a nice keyboard solo. Track two, “Take Me Away”, I played a couple times in a row I liked it so much. It starts off with nice Porter and King harmonies and then into King's sweet vocals. I like music that moves you and this is one of those songs that does. Track three, “You Meant The World To Me”, is a rocking bluesy tune that made me take notice of Porter's vocals. The band really shines in this one. Track four, “You Want This”, you want to sit back, chill and dig into King's vocals. Track five, “What's Stopping You”, is a perfectly blended song with more of those great Porter and King harmonies. Track six, “Eyes to Eyes”, starts the second half of the CD. I'm really liking these tracks and was trying to figure out who King reminds me of? Nobody, because he's an original who others should emulate. Track seven, “Gypsies”, has that good feeling that reminded me of “Take Me Away”. It's not the same song by any means but it made me feel good because of it's catchy lyrics. King does all the music and words except for Track eight, “Earth”, co-written with Rowan Stone. If planet earth had a theme song, it should be this. Track nine, “I Will See You Again”, is a rocking, upbeat song from start to finish. The horns shine and so do Porter and King. Track ten, the title track, “30 Days to 50”, is a nice instrumental jam, showcasing all the instruments. I was disappointed to have this end. You know when you go to a concert and it's so good, you want encore after encore? That's what this did for me. I wanted more and more so I started it over and played it again.
The CD was recorded and engineered by Jeremiah Bindrum at Bullfrog Audio Productions in Rochester. It is perfectly mixed by Bindrum and King. You always have a nice blend of the instruments. Nothing is ever overbearing. King is a great singer and songwriter. His lyrics are easy to understand and his vocals are always easy to hear. The band really compliments the CD because every song is different but great. They really shine and accompany King beautifully.
He had everyone in mind from seeing them play out. He sent the material and gave them the option to pick a song or play on the whole album. He hoped it was the latter and it was, everyone was on board from the get-go. King said, “If you're on the playground and you're the captain of the kickball team, you pick the best players. There was just something about them that I wanted to work with them.”
King (52) hails from Colchester, CT but came to VT ten years ago. His first mentor was Jenny's father Jeff Porter who got him playing live. They did some duos together at local farmers markets. He introduced him to the late, great Steve Audsley who encouraged King to keep playing at open mics. He did his first real gig with Audsley at Killarneys. He knew that he wanted to play his own tunes and not just covers, so he started writing a few years ago. He eventually had enough for an album and this project took him a year.
King said, “This was an amazing learning experience. It's my first time in a studio, arranging for other instruments and working with other musicians.” The writing process for him is filled in a notebook. He said, “Sometimes I'll jot down these little things going on in my head and sometimes I'll write down a whole song.” Ideas pop in his head as he's laying down in bed and he'll jump up and write a song.
He's been writing all summer and is going back in the studio in January. He started playing piano a year ago and has written some songs for that. His goal is to do a show of all his own music. For now it's a mix of great covers and awesome originals. The good reactions he gets from people is the icing on the cake. You can catch him October 12th, 7 p.m. at Du Jour VT and Oct 25th, 2 p.m. at Outer Limits Brewery.