Erin Coburn has been playing and writing songs since she was at least thirteen, and quite possibly even younger. Born in Bluegrass Country among the rolling hills of Kentucky it where that she found the blues, learned it, and is leaving her mark on it. Her first release from 2015 “Chaos Before Conformity” was her introduction, and with this new record “Queen of Nothing” she is waving to everyone saying hello and making sure nobody has forgotten how truly talented she is. When I first saw her in 2014, I was struck by how well her songs were constructed, and how damn good she is. She takes a solo break on the guitar or ukulele that makes me shake my head in how truly awesome it is. The maturity of her playing is always what strikes me with Erin as well. Whether it is her voice or the playing in general, there is no seventeen-year-old that I know that sounds like this. Now with her sophomore record out she is proving that she is a force to be reckoned with.
Chaos Before Conformity, her first record, featured a different a line-up in terms of the band however with the same bassist the one and only Dixon Creasey Jr. This second record she recruited Joe Nasser aka “The Human Metronome” to lay down the drums, and these two have become her rhythm section. A power blues trio that lays it down with a force of funk behind them or the ghosts of old blues trios before them. They have been crafting their sound for a couple of years now.
Queen of Nothingbegins with a funk jam then flows into her wheelhouse, the blues. Mind you Erin is only seventeen. This record was made when she was sixteen. When I was sixteen I had barely started playing music let alone dropping records and guitar solos like it is second nature. Queen of Nothingshowcases much more of her songwriting in a lyrical sense which again shows how much she has grown since the debut record. Maturation is a process that happens continually, but for me this record isn’t all about maturation, it is about a band continuing to say, “we are here” and “have no plans on going anywhere.” If anything, there are hints in the songs that they are going to go after this harder than they ever have. To reach the unattainable, but most importantly have fun doing it.
What I like most about this new record Queen of Nothingis that they can dial the sounds up to 11 or turn it down for a soulful jam to about 5, and they do this with ease. This record showcases not only the ease but the maturity of the band and its front woman. I won’t pretend like I know Erin, but recognizing that women in blues are rare, and for whatever that reason may be, some of these songs are proclamations that “I am a woman, and I can fit in this space too even if I have to fight for it,” or something like that. Case in point is her song “Woman’s World” and honestly, arguably the whole record. For me the take away in the record lyrically is that she is a woman and she can do this just fine on her own, and if that is good enough for her then she will have my praises and applauses.
Erin and the band are on tour this entire summer. Playing this record and I’m sure some covers where Erin’s solos and the phat rhythm section will make you nod your head in agreement. “Thank you” they will say while bobbing their heads. They have crafted this sound to go anywhere they like within a song, and they can do it flawlessly. Now stop reading this and go listen to her.