Eric Ambel – You Asked For It – The Shut-In Singles Collection
This collection by NY-based producer, guitarist & songwriter Eric “Roscoe” Ambel (The Del-Lords) appears to be his answer to being locked up during the pandemic. While other artists labored over writing songs that if specifically, are about the pandemic they’d date quickly. You know dated, like songs with the old 60s lyrics – “sock it to me & here comes the judge, even “Woodstock” can be hippie-dippy cringe-worthy.
The prolific Eric smartly decided to do something optimistic & allow a listener to come away with ear-caressing music courtesy of his shut-in time. While laboring over every detail Eric’s crew made sure it worked with a tint of fun. As evidenced in his video for the cover of The Rolling Stones’ classic “Honky Tonk Women” below.
So, while some music is covers – smoothed over & sculpted with an Ambelicious sound, there’s no big production because the music provides ample satisfaction with its precision & confident playing. It’s like a dark Maduro cigar with a bottle of Balvenie Doublewood whisky (no “e” in whisky — it’s Scottish) — that’s how I’d describe Eric Ambel’s new singles music. It has a kick.
The 11-tracks on You Asked For It – The Shut-In Singles Collection (Released May 20–Lakeside Lounge) are a singles collection, mostly unreleased. Some Ambel originals with covers from the pens of Neil Young, George Harrison, Creedence Clearwater Revival (“Run Through The Jungle”), a few by the Rolling Stones, JJ Cale (“Sensitive Kind”), & Nick Lowe.
Produced primarily by Eric Ambel, Jimbo Mathus and others, much of it is light-hearted with an edge but nothing is done with novelty or humor. It’s serious. Songs at times cruise the rim of retro with a Duane Eddy guitar fuzz but the deep basslines are solid throughout. It works & it’s exciting. If we were in another era, jukebox fodder.
The cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women,” is laid out in honky-tonk style. Credit the Stones for having written a song that could be interpreted easily into what it actually represents. Credit Eric for actually making it happen. Nothing in the song is forced, it simply follows its natural progression. Great songs usually do. Joining Eric in the video — Mathus, “Captain” Kirk Bowie Russel, John Kveen & Memphis singer Amy LaVere. (Keith Christopher plays bass on the track but doesn’t appear in the video.)
In order for a cover song to work properly, especially a famous one, an artist has to have the musical personality & character to imbue it with their own signature style. Eric Ambel succeeds throughout this shut-in collection.
The set should be available on CD also, with a 28-page stitched booklet, share it with the whole family @ https://ericambel.com/