Album review: Guitarist Eric Krasno finds his voice
Although the title song didn’t make the final cut, several others on Eric Krasno’s latest solo album could easily imply a pattern. “Torture,” “Wicked this Way” and “Jezebel” may on the surface point to the fact that peace these days is akin to squeezing “Blood from a Stone.”
But then “On the Rise” and “Curse Lifter” suggest a move to the positive, while “Waiting on Your Love,” “Please Ya” and “Unconditional Love” turn the corner completely. That’s all curious conjecture of course, as most of the songs actually tell a unique story about devotion of one kind or another. Maybe the theme is peace and love?
Co-founder of both Soulive and Lettuce, and known for his keen writing and innovative guitar playing amid instrumental jams, Krasno reveals his voice for the first time, singing nine of the 10 tracks present. So, while there’s plenty of great guitar in the house, the album thrives on concise, wildly divergent songs.
Written with longtime partner Dave Gutter of Rustic Overtones and recorded far from Krasno’s Brooklyn home at Gutter’s barn in rural Maine, they’re all raw, super-funky, edgy, and rock and soul-wired to the past and present at once.
Almost all. He wrote the lone instrumental, “Curse Lifter,” alone, but it features pal Derek Trucks next to him on guitar. The patterns they create call to mind the classic Allman Brothers Band twin guitar harmonies, with a little Santana spice sprinkled in the rhythms. It’s quite an infectious piece that breaks the mood beautifully.
“Waiting on Your Love” opens the album on a surge of psychedelic water-logged bass, Krasno eliciting the question as to why he’s waited so long to sing, his voice as tuneful as his guitar notes — in a Jimi Hendrix sort of way.
“Torture” stomps like a prehistoric beast, and “Jezebel” swims in a bubbly vibe, Krasno’s guitar crying out the sorry emotion with as much straightforward passion as his voice. But the true sense of a guy reaching back to the 1960s and ’70s music that inspired him arrives via “Unconditional Love,” a giddy, funky, and uplifting ditty. The album ends with the one-two punch of “Wicked this Way” and “When the Day Comes,” the former a dramatic, atmospheric duet with Alecia Chakour, and the latter offering a gentle sense of relief.
Witness a breathtaking talent here. But mostly, dig these songs, groove to their grooves, and hope for the best.
“Blood From A Stone”Label: Round Hill
ABOUT Tom Clarke
From pre-war blues to the bluegrass of the Virginia hills, Tom Clarke has a passion for most any kind of deep-rooted American music, and has been writing about it for 23 years. He’s particularly fond of anything from Louisiana, and the 45-year timelines and ever-growing family trees of The Allman Brothers Band and Los Lobos.
Tom’s reviews and articles have appeared in BluesPrint, the King Biscuit Times, Hittin’ The Note, Blues Revue, Elmore, Blues Music Magazine, and now, Tahoe Onstage.
Tom and his wife Karen raised four daughters in upstate New York. They split their time between the Adirondack Mountains and coastal South Carolina.
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