Chip Withrow (Muse's Muse)
A singer/songwriter worth checking out...
Like Eric Jackson, I am a recent transplant to southwest Florida – with the exception of the Keys, we’re about as far south as you can go. We come for the weather, not the money (I’ve never met him, but I bet Eric, a fellow teacher, understands).
And therefore I know that down here, adventurous music fans have to get their new and unusual music from the Internet or satellite (or by becoming a reviewer); you probably won’t find what Eric is doing on local radio, and that’s a shame. This inspired keyboard-centric five-song EP veers toward the Bruce Hornsby/Ben Folds style of jazz pop, then twists and turns in many other cool directions.
The first cut, “Open Road,” is arresting. It starts with uniquely-syncopated, pounding piano that inspired me to try out my old hippie shimmying (with no one watching, I hope).
The chorus of “Panoramic Future View” is close to anthemic, and the song also has a funky bridge and piano solo that bring to mind Blood, Sweat, and Tears. “The Same” also has a powerful chorus; it’s a sweet, close-to-pop ballad accented by Shawn Yeager’s eerily echoing guitar.
Eric shows his keyboard chops best on “You Were Wrong.” As a kiss-off song, I rate this right up there with Billy Joel’s “Big Shot.” Eric has a gift for placing unusual and effective bridges and breaks in his songs – this one nicely counters the urgency of the rest of the tune.
The disc closes (too soon) with the aching “Nameless.” Eric’s has a nice range as a vocalist, and the minimal accompaniment here allows you to notice his singing...
Eric Jackson reminded me that my first real musical hero was Elton John, and that sophisticated singer/songwriters of any style are worth checking out.