Mark Erelli is an artist that may not be a household name. Still, once you realize the scope of his work, it’s hard to imagine why he’s not a household name. He has worked with Paula Cole, recorded with Rosanne Cash and Sheryl Crow, and produced albums by Lori McKenna. Oh, and he was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2019 Americana Music Awards. On the new album Blindsided, Erelli shows his strength as a songwriter regardless of how familiar you are with his work.
Erelli has a way with words that really hits in the world we live in now. One example is in “A Little Kindness.” “I’ve been looking for a little kindness, and it’s hard to find these days” is something of a battle cry for all of us at the moment. “Rose-Colored Rearview” is another good example of lyrics that hit hard. “Was there a time, or was it only in my mind, when everything seemed simpler?” He obviously couldn’t have envisioned how heavy those words would seem when he wrote them, but they take on an entirely different meaning in this time and place.
This album encompasses so many different styles that it’s hard to place Erelli into any one genre. One of the styles you hear throughout the album is soul. “Stranger’s Eyes” is a song that brings Marvin Gaye to mind. You can hear it especially in the bass line – to the point that you might start singing “Let’s Get It On” when you listen to this one. “Careless” also has a soulful feel, but in a different way. When you hear the piano and the vocals bolstered by the strings, you can’t help but think of Marc Cohn.
While Erelli will likely never be labeled purely as a rocker, he does embrace old-time rock and roll on “Can’t Stand Myself.” When you hear the guitar and the rhythm of this song, it’s pretty easy to tell that it was influenced by Bo Diddley – to the point that you imagine the song was played on a square guitar. You can hear the rock and roll in the piano and the harmonica in the instrumental break, which brings The Knack to mind. To add to the rock and roll mix, there are times during this song when Erelli does a bit of howling that brings John Hiatt to mind.
This album is very well done, and Erelli shows that as a songwriter, he is worthy of emulation. His lyrics present vivid stories while the melodies range from Americana to rock and roll. Blindsided will be available everywhere on March 27. Order your copy here. https://www.markerelli.com
Sadler Vaden – guitar
Jamie Dick – drums
Kai Welch – keyboards
Zachariah Hickman -bass