interview & review
The wait is over.
Stereomaid's studio debut album released Dec. 9.
The depth of “The Little Things That Come Between Us” is unquestionable and the celebration is most deserving. As a “gift to the people,” a free show will unveil the new CD.
Singer/songwriter Eric Olson lists heartache among his influences, as well the bands Bread, Wilco and Temple of the Dog.
“Everything good or bad influences me in some way,” he said.
The multi-instrumentalist (guitars, percussion) known as “Oly” around the Fraser Valley, has been working to refine the CD songlist since 2004. That's when the band formed, but a revolving door of members stalled the project.
Like the title from a song from his first album, it's “All What You Make of It,” and he could “only keep moving forward.” He finished the songlist while searching for new talents to match his original vision.
“(Releasing the CD) is like closing a chapter in a book,” he said. “Now I can move on to something else.”
One of “a lot of people” who helped him out on the project was producer and guitarist Greg McRae, the sound guy for the band Sponge Kingdom.
Other talents include McRae's brother Brian (drums), Mik “The Stick” Messina and Peyton Langford (bass), and Beau Skogen and Daniel Sproul (electric guitar).
Listeners may recognize “Responsible,” “Holly Would” and “Pocket Knife” off Olson's solo album “Holly Would,” written with a band in mind.
“Responsible” pops with an upbeat tempo, Oly countrified “Holly Would” with guest artist Eben Grace, showing great skill on pedal steel. This time around, “Pocket Knife” now has a serrated edge.
A majority of the other nine songs are also sure to be hits with Oly fans. Standing out among them are “Someday,” “In a Lifetime (with music by Oly, Brad Witham and Greg),” “You Don't Want Me,” “Better than Today,” and most recent song “Hello,” which appeared on the Grand County collaborative album “This Side of Berthoud.”
Oly's lyrical mastery shines of “Over the Edge,” “Around Her” and “Shine on Me.”
He breathes life into the songs with a richly textured voice and bravado to spare. Most of them pliant and searching, the songs are about him more than anybody, he said. “I can only write about my experiences. There are part-truths in all the songs.”
He goes for timelessness when he writes, leaving the meaning to his audience.
“A good song is good all the time,” Oly said.
Those lucky enough to have a sneak peek at the album “seem to like it,” but the bottom line, he said, “is you write the songs and if people like it that's a plus.”
Take Bread's “Mother Freedom” by David Gates, he notes - the album's only cover.
He always wanted to record it, and it is as “cool” today as it was when Gates wrote it.
“When it comes to love songs, that guy's a genius.” Its relevance certainly applies to this year, he said, “with all the elections and what's going on in the world.”