When Eric Lindell was signed to Alligator Records, some fell into the trap of conveniently dubbing him a bluesman. That’s only one of the styles this genre-defying artist is adept at. Throughout his 20-year recording career he’s touched on soul, country, doo-wop and authentic roots music, too.
This, his eighth album, continues that legacy. The respect that fellow players have for him is reflected in the guests he brings aboard for his albums. This one features the clean smooth electric guitar of his long-time cohort Anson Funderburgh (ten tracks) and the acoustic resonator guitar of friend Luther Dickinson (four tracks). Musicians love playing with him as evidenced by the credits that list 20 musicians on this album.
The album photo of the blissfully content Eric and his wife Sarah is perfectly reflective of the loose, upbeat music that, like Van Morrison’s, seems easy to play but proves to be deceptively challenging to create. Lindell’s many short crisp tunes in the 2-minute to 4-minute range put the onus on the musicians to state their messages emphatically and quickly. Funderburgh, Dickinson, and several keyboardists do just that.
Although he originally hails from California, Lindell’s soulful vocals are right there with other rootsy singers from Louisiana like Marc Broussard and Anders Osborne. The one blue-eyed soul singer that comes to mind most when listening to Lindell is Delbert McClinton. This disc is a welcome addition to his catalog.
When not on tour with his own band he plays with Dragon Smoke, the New Orleans supergroup he co-founded that includes Ivan Neville and Galactic’s Robert Mercurio and Stanton Moore. Lindell’s sets at the upcoming New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival have earned him legendary status. With this new material, he’ll surely be thrilling those audiences again.