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Audio CD, October 10, 2010
|1. Worst in Me - Eric French & Mr Hyde|
|2. My Girlfriend's Back - Eric French & Mr Hyde|
|3. duck, duck, GOOSE! - Eric French & Mr Hyde|
|4. 16 (Nobody Told Me) - Eric French & Mr Hyde|
|5. BIG Dream - Eric French & Mr Hyde|
|6. Sally Don't Lie - Eric French & Mr Hyde|
|7. Always the Bridesmaid - Eric French & Mr Hyde|
|8. She Doesn't Know|
|9. Dirty Bluz|
|10. I Wanna Luv|
|1. Your Mountain|
|2. Lay Your Fiddle Down|
|3. There Goes the Neighborhood|
|4. Ain't No Fury|
|5. Little Doll|
Living and performing in Providence and Boston for years after attending Berklee College of Music, Eric developed his rock and folk personas while simultaneously working as a guitarist for other artists. The son of a blues guitar player, tools and support were present from a young age. As a cancer survivor, so was the inspiration, resolve, and patience necessary to bring his work to bear.
Eric French & Mr. Hyde is self-produced and released, coached along by mentors Charles Sorrento (Colwell-Winfield Blues Band, Bellevue Cadillac), and Jack Hale (Producer/MD Johnny Cash, Seals and Crofts, member Memphis Horns). Recorded with musicians in Boston and Brooklyn, Newcastle and Nashville, it tells a variety of stories.
On the electric side, tongue in cheek songs feature his guitar playing and put up familiar rock n roll flags. In Dirty Bluz , a close friend strolls out towards the crossroads, while in She Doesn t Know another juggles lovers, tossing the leftovers to a jealous narrator. 16 (Nobody Told Me) rolls satirically over Dateline NBC s investigative journalism with a smart Texas-shuffle, as the girls singing backup on My Girlfriend s Back just plain roll their eyes; the band careening forward smugly. The moody single Sally Don t Lie cranks up the heat on an old flame and the hopeful I Wanna luv brings a simple message home with a gospel choir closing this side of the record.
In his acoustic persona, Eric covers more ground, poking at your roots, violence, and sexual identity in little worlds created by characters within each song. Lay Your Fiddle Down calls the girl who made it out of her one horse town back home, while the first-person murder account in ain't no fury carts the listener off to a stone walled cell. soldier softly finds a conflicted conservative zealot blaming his sexual orientation on his partner, and the songs Your Mountain and lamb gracefully open and close this side of the album, coming to terms with unrequited love in the collection's barest and most lush musical settings respectively.
The devil inside: Eric French, meet Mr. Hyde
Little fury things
By Chris Conti
Singer/songwriter/guitarist Eric French possesses a pedigree well-befitting of his ambitious double-CD debut, Eric French & Mr Hyde: a degree from the Berklee School of Music, a veteran blues guitarist for a dad (Ron French), and continued insight and guidance from invaluable family friends such as local six-string icon Eric Fontana. Eric French & Mr Hyde features one disc of acoustic tracks and a second electric disc of roadhouse rock and barroom blues numbers, both highlighting French s nimble picking and introspective, heart-on-sleeve narratives. This isn t a split disc/split personality concept album, but a revelatory collection of impressive cuts French has been developing over the past three years.
A bluesman at heart, French culls inspiration from failed relationships, as eloquently saluted in the album s liner notes: And a very special thanks to all my ex-girlfriends. Without your exquisite incompatibility this would never have been possible. Divine inspiration arrives in the form of gospel singer Andre Lovelle, who provided backing vocals and (with vocalist Ingrid Gerdes) will accompany French on upcoming dates. French s touring trio includes bassist Walt Skorupski, percussionist Corey Schreppel, and brother Aaron French.
A blog entry from earlier this year could double as a mantra: You can grab people by the neck and toss them somewhere emotionally when you play it right. The hushed opener Your Mountain gives way to the pretty melody of Lay Your Fiddle Down. In There Goes the Neighborhood, "Hate just bought the house that trust lived in while Spite and Envy call to say they d be happy to drop by. Sexual identity is coldly addressed on Soldier, but nothing tops French s subtle delivery as a vengeful lover scorned on Ain t No Fury. Eric and his crew dive into rockabilly mode on the second disc s two-minute opener Worst In Me before having some big-time fun on tongue-in-cheek cuts My Girlfriend s Back, BIG Dream, and 16 (Nobody Told Me). French s guitar skills rise above on Sally Don t Lie and the feisty, fuzzy Dirty Bluz. Maybe I love her, maybe I don t/Maybe she ll notice, maybe she won t, he laments on She Doesn t Know, while Lovelle gracefully adorns the upbeat closing track I Wanna Luv.
The Eric French & Mr Hyde digital download is available right now at ericfrench.com, while the snazzy digipak will be available at the CD release party at the Met this weekend. Here are some highlights from our e-chat with Eric French (his first official Eric French & Mr. Hyde presser):
YOUR BLUES BACKGROUND IS PRETTY DAMN IMPRESSIVE TO SAY THE LEAST.
My dad raised me on a steady diet of blues and rock guitarists, and Eric Fontana helped prepare me for music school when I was a teenager. I am a disciple of the Eric Fontana School of Rocking the F*@k Out. There is no table too wobbly to stand on while ripping a solo, no heart in the audience too distant to break just a little.
DID YOU INITIALLY SET OUT TO CREATE A SPLIT-PERSONALITY CONCEPT ALBUM?
Originally, I was inadvertently coming up with both rock as well as folkier arrangements, so we could go play a coffeehouse, then for the next gig we d crank it up for a roadhouse bar. I felt like the tunes on each side all belonged together, but I didn t really have a plot in mind, nor enough clever transitions from song to song to create an actual concept album. I wanted to include both styles on this album, so when it comes time to release the next project people won t be confused. --The Providence Phoenix