Eric Woodring – The Upside of Lonely
With a retro country deep baritone like the late Jim Reeves after a few shots of moonshine, Eric Woodring has a nice back-country authenticity to his upbeat repertoire. There are so many old-school country singers & outlaws who would be comfortable on this South Texas singer’s front porch.
It would be easy to say some songs are hokey but that may be for a city boy’s ears – the instrumentation here is too fiery & proficient to dismiss. Then if you listen to the lyrics they’re pretty well damn country-poetic. He may be cut from the same cloth as a Waylon, Merle, Billy Joe Shaver but he’s closer in tradition as a songwriter to Roger Miller (his more serious material like “River In the Rain”) & Chip Taylor.
The Upside of Lonely (Drops May 6–Independent) is not Eric’s first LP but this new CD offers 7-cuts produced by Jack Saunders (guitar/bass/percussion & background vocals) wrote one cut for the LP — the excellent “Someone Made For You.” It’s a somewhat ass-kicker on fiddle & drums, sung with a rootsy dynamic voice that many would kill to have.
There isn’t much Eric sings about that’s cliched. If he sings about trucks it’s just an ingredient as heard on “Anywhere The Highway Goes.” While he follows the traditional retro country line Eric manages to make these songs stylistically original & he shows some teeth when he performs these pieces.
“Fall,” is superb with the fiddle strains that pour over the whole of the tune. Then he comes up with “Just a Waitin’” in the tradition of upbeat Buck Owens tradition with Lee Hazelwood singing lead. Quite imaginative.
There’s something special about a good singer who can summon the ghosts of old country giants & still effectively inject his own personality & character into each. As if he always belonged among them.
“This Cowboy,” is pretty standard fare until the band kicks into their sizzling instrumental break. Eric’s voice fits with them perfectly within this framework. Believe me, the late Boxcar Willie, Jim Reeves & Sonny James are smiling somewhere…proud of this Texan.
The stories, characters, the shenanigans & performances are all solid. The band is – Rick Richards (drums), Lloyd Maines (pedal steel), Eleanor Whitmore (fiddle), Geoff Queen (pedal steel/guitar), Robbie Saunders (pedal steel), Bart De Win (piano), Paul English (piano), & Kristi Grider (background vocals).
They are songs about hard living, heartbreak & living on the edge – what’s basically a good country song. Eric paints everything broadly & instinctively rootsy. Color image courtesy of Eric’s website. The 26-minute CD @ https://www.ericwoodring.com/#home-section