Time/Distance is the second release from Eric Athey, whose 2004 debut Open House had critics praising the Lancaster, Pennsylvania newcomer for his "persuasive four-pack of melody, crunch, and brains, plus vocals with the right amount of spit and unpolish" (No Depression). "Five stars -this is winning roots rock music at its best," wrote The Roots Music Report. The driving, engaging music continues on Time/Distance, a concept record with characters finding their way on the roads of hope and heartbreak - moving ahead and falling behind.
Backing Athey on Time/Distance is Dave Boquist (Son Volt) on guitar, lap steel and fiddle and Mark Boquist (Mark Lanegan) on drums. Mike Santoro (Whiskeytown) played bass while Mike Stark (Johnny Dowd Band) added piano and organ. Matt Saccuccimorano engineered and produced along with Athey and Mark Boquist.
Time/Distance opens with "Angel On Your Shoulder" - a rocking number with a chorus that simultaneously extends an invitation and sounds a warning. The Rock vibe of the record is steered through power-pop with "Light Inside Your Room," the nasty southern rock of "Route Driver" and the raucous title track. The lights come down for the confessional ballads "She Waits for Me" and "Gone Again," two songs from both sides of hope. Athey is joined by Kim Sherwood-Caso (Johnny Dowd Band) for the tender duet "Happiness." The 14 song disc has two covers: a haunting update of Gordon Lightfoot's 1974 AM radio staple "Sundown" and a faithful rendering of The Kinks' little-known 1971 jewel "The Way Love Used to Be."
Time/Distance looks back over years and miles and resurrects characters that come, go and stay - all rendered vividly in dynamic songs played by a stellar band. A trip well worth taking.
4 1/2 Stars! - - AltCountry.NL (Netherlands)