He's one of the hottest guitar players you have probably never heard of. With over 11 national releases in the past 17 years, non-stop touring and extensive airplay on contemporary jazz radio, chances are you have experienced his music and wondered who was behind that warm, classic guitar sound. With his latest album "Retrospective", Eric Essix hopes to finally let the world know!
Eric is most likely not a household name because of the path he has chosen as an artist. He makes music on his own terms, he follows his heart. Six years ago, the road less travelled led him back home to the deep south where he was born and raised surrounded by gospel, blues, country and soul music influences. His past 3 releases, "Southbound", "Somewhere In Alabama" and the spirit filled "Abide With Me" pay homage to those influences and show Eric's deep affection and respect for his southern roots.
The new CD, "Retrospective", is a collection of recordings that chronicle Eric's journey from his early years as a solo artist to present with 13 songs that showcase his skills as a player and composer. Fans of tasty guitar tones will no doubt appreciate Eric's ability to combine ultra clean melody lines with gritty, overdriven solos. Others will bounce to the delightfully infectious grooves and undeniable talents of his world class rhythm sections. Throughout the album, Eric generously shares the spotlight with his bandmates, but knows how to pick his own moments to shine. His playing has a distinct vocal quality that is evident in his interpretation of melodies and he digs into each solo with soulful bends and flurries.
"In creating this collection, I was forced to take a close look at my playing and writing in a way that hadn't before," Eric says. "As I listened, I realized that my reasons for making music are different now than they were when I started out. I'm far more interested in touching people emotionally than anything else these days."
Ironically, "Retrospective" reveals Eric to be a formidable guitarist with plenty of chops and a composer with a lot to say. However, it is "the sound" that has other guitar players listening and talking. "I understood early on that if you're going to be an instrumentalist, your tone is critical. I always felt that it's important that your voice be clear," he says. "All of my favorite musicians have an instantly recognizable sound on their instruments. So I made 'good tone' a priority in my development as an artist."
"Retrospective" features songs from eight of Eric's eleven albums with most coming from releases on his own Essential Recordings label. As of September 2006, Essential will be distributed almost exclusively via the internet through a partnership with CD Baby and iTunes. "With the way things are going in the music industry right now, it just makes sense for me as an independent artist to use the web to my advantage in getting the music out to people," he says. "I have a great relationship with CD Baby and iTunes who have both supported each one of my labels releases. We want to make people aware of the music and get them online to make a purchase. Instead of just being located in a few scattered stores across the U.S., our products are now instantly available to the world!"
This Berklee College Of Music grad, national recording artist and 20 year veteran of the contemporary jazz scene enjoys being an underdog of sorts. "I almost feel like a new artist with nothing to lose and everything to gain. Even though I've been around for a while now, in many ways, this album feels like a beginning and I'm eager to see what's in store for the future!"