ERIC BOLANDER – POSTCARDS TO MYSELF
Words: Ray Moore
When I sat down to review this album all I could think about at first was soccer, high school soccer. You see I played “the beautiful game” most of my life. And it was in high school that I learned I was never going to be a great player until I learned one simple thing, how to use my left foot. Until that happened I was only going to be good. How does soccer apply to Eric Bolander? Well it’s actually really simple. If you follow Tuned Up, you know I only review certain genres, pop-punk, emo and the occasional hardcore. At this point I’m only a good writer according to my high school soccer coach’s logic. In order to become great I need to review more than what I know. The crazy thing is I listen to almost everything. Those 3 genres are just my favorites. So my journey to becoming a great writer starts in Lexington, KY with Eric Bolander.
I first came to know of Eric Bolander last May. I went to Lexington, KY to see a Nine Bullets showcase that was put on by a friend of mine. One of the artist I was excited to see was Caleb Caudle. Eric played before him outside in the beer garden. So while waiting on Caleb’s set I watch Bolander and it was good, then he sucked me in with not one but 2 of my all-time favorite songs, Jolene and Purple Rain. They were played back to back and after that I was stuck, really stuck, I wanted to hear more, so I stayed. I ended up missing most of Caleb Caudle’s set, I only caught 2 songs. Afterwards I talked to Eric and told him how much I loved his set and how I was looking forward to hearing more from him. Fast forward almost a year later and I’m reviewing his solo release.
This is not Mr. Bolander’s first rodeo. He is also the front man for Alcatraz Shakedown, A blues based rock band from Lexington, KY. His blues roots are also heard on this release. The first thing one needs to know about Eric is he has a very soulful voice. This element shines like a diamond throughout Postcards To Myself, his first solo release. However, we don’t get to hear it until the second track, “Can’t Take Anymore”, as the first track is instrumental. This track starts off like something from A Lynyrd Skynyrd album and I love as they are one of my favorite bands. Then around the 24 second mark we get our first taste of that voice and it hits hard. And this continues throughout the album. The next track, “The Answer” we really get to hear what he can do. This track is one of my favorites on the album. The element that shines here is the music itself. The use of Banjo on this track is outstanding. It’s so clear and dominant. It brings the thought of oak trees, sweet tea, pickup trucks and front porch sitting. All things I enjoy in life. Another track that standout is “Do It Right”. Again we have a song where the music shines. This song makes use of not only the Banjo but also a violin and let me tell you it is something beautiful. I can’t think of the last time I heard those two instruments in the same song and sound this good. I want to hear more of that. The next song, “Think Again” might be my favorite on the album. It features guest vocals from Geordan Brewer and Bryan Minks. These three should do a tour together and pattern it after Chuck Ragan’s Revival Tour.
On his Facebook page his bio reads, “Soulful/bluesy music with emphasis on reaction to life and overcoming.” I agree with this 100 percent. Music has always been that for me and it always will. The music I listen to is a direct reaction to what is going on in my life. If I had a bad day at work, chances are I’m going to go home and listen to something heavy, if I’m happy, something peppy and when I’m sad, well yeah that’s reserved for The Smiths 97.99999% of the time. The point is this, when I listen to this album, I feel good. It makes me think of my time home in South Georgia and that is a good thing. Life is overcoming and we all have had to do it, but it is how we go about that. Eric has made an album about real life and the goings on with it. There is no doubt I will be listening to this album for years to come. This is a singer-songwriter to keep your eyes on.