Live By Your Word is a collection by Seattle songwriter Eric Dahl with diverse musical styles and storytelling that reflect the eclecticism of the Austin music scene and the sparse beauty of rural central Texas where the songs were mostly written. The songs combine an existence-questioning urban outlook with a celebration of working people, their loves and troubles and values.
Each song is written in a different musical style, including Country, Tejano, Blues, Folk, Soul, Western Swing and Rock. You'll find the same talented musicians featured on these recordings that you would hear in Austin walking down South Congress, across Sixth Street, along Red River or after a late-night cab ride up South Lamar.
This rhythmic variety is sustained by legendary drummer Ernie Durawa (Texas Tornados)—who is the steady heartbeat behind countless great recordings by Texas writers and performers. The CD was mixed and mastered in Athens, Georgia by John Keane, who was nominated for a 2011 Grammy for “Best Engineered Album.”
Dahl is now living in Athens, where pro studios and an outsider sensibility promise more new material. The sound of his voice, deep and well worn, will grab you and hold your attention. Start with the straightforward language of the first song from this new collection:
If time was made of doors
Instead of walls and floors
There’s one door I’d walk through
To hold the timelessness,
The timelessness of you.
I’d be with you
If time was made of doors.
Eric Dahl is from Seattle and his songs are sometimes somber and moody as the coastal rain, but his roots reach to the sun-drenched orchards of Chelan County, and farther east to the Palouse and Colville, where he was born.
A love of storytelling and poetry took Dahl to Oxford, where he studied medieval literature and was awarded the Isis Poetry Prize. Returning to the Northwest, he drifted from the Suzzallo Library to singing in Seattle bars. After solo acoustic experiments and DIY collections on a 4-track, he found his way to the studio of John Hawk, with whom he produced his first CD, Knack for Negligence, with imagery and stories from both sides of the state, the rural wheat and orchard lands to the east, and the blurry haze of the coast.
Dahl moved to Austin in 1997 and his second CD, Whatever the Jungle, shows the immediate influence of the Texas landscape and its musicians, but still mixed with west coast elements such as a song about Tulare and Highway 101 in California, or a brooding reminiscence about Vietnam (Thunder) set in his home town. Although he moved to Athens, Georgia in 2000, Dahl continued to perform and record in Austin for several years and completed the material that is now available in his third CD, Live By Your Word.
In Athens, Dahl has continued his fascination with American roots music, particularly the deep south variety, while performing locally and working in local studios. He has also become involved in the development of a music documentary about songwriters in partnership with Seattle filmmaker and long-time friend Scott Miller. He has well over fifty other songs of his own that are unrecorded.