Erin Coburn has done it again. She dropped her third album late last year and I couldn’t wait to hear what this woman came up with next. Low and behold I was pleasantly surprised. Erin for a long time had toured and recorded with John Redell and Dixon Creasey, however on this album she departs from the power trio and brings forth something even more powerful.
The band is comprised of some players that aren’t background but are as up and close as she is. With Erin at the helm on guitar and ukulele she has brought in Mark Matthews on bass, Adam Mercer on drums, and Jon Denney on keys. This iteration of the band has allowed them for this album to explore a sound that, to my ears, is much more powerful than the previous two records. She even included Jacob Wynn and Dave Casper on horns. Which aides and adds to the exploration of sound.
Throughout the record I had this feeling of her exploring something new and invigorating. The record feels and sounds loud, not angry or angsty, but loud and powerful. Erin has her roots in the blues and the blues ain’t got no time for angst or you could argue that the blues is exactly angst. However, as we slice this pie, the opening track shines a light on what is to come, but like all great blues records also throws a little shade as well. Listen to the opening track “Friendzone” and then stop, make sure you have a great listen, and then delve a little deeper into the album and it gets more exploratory, and shows growth.
Erin has allowed me the honor to review her first two albums and this one her third. I have had the honor and pleasure of hearing a sixteen-year-old grow before my ears into someone making her stamp on the blues scene, while also allowing herself to take some chances. This record is that. Her taking a chance with evolving her sound. She’s always had a knack for melding her influences and letting them shine. On this she does that. The only difference is the record is louder, and fuller which to me is her taking the chance to explore something heavier and louder while also staying true. What came across the most for me as a music nerd, pardon me as push my glasses up, was the drums were loud in a good way. Sometimes drums are pushed back in the recording they are there, obviously, but I’m not sure if it was intent or a testament to how loud Adam Mercer plays but either way, I enjoyed it and the record. Also, adding horns to any song gives a louder and fuller sound as well, which I was not expecting and pleasantly enjoyed.
One of the great things I enjoy about Erin and her music is that it is truly all her. She writes all her own songs, plays them, and tours them. Well, and she has a great supporting cast. Her writing isn’t over your head or even tries to hard. She deals with themes that are to the point, and I would like to think that is the blues side or more to the point an innate ability to keep things simple. The record is hardly simple though, and she along with the band have created something quite impressive. For a record to start as loud and as heavy as it does then for it to progress into something a little more intricate is a testament to her growth as a songwriter and a testament to how great of a band they are. I went into listening to every Erin Coburn record like I always do, with an open mind. Then I found myself visibly smiling like “yeah this, this is great.” I was nodding my head not knowing that I was because I could hear the growth of an artist that I will never forget seeing at Sis’ on Monmouth almost six years ago. Her exploring the sound as well is what I was nodding along to and saying to myself repeatedly. I’m not sure why I found this, surprising, considering the first time I ever saw her she was playing her ukulele through a wah pedal; I mean if anyone was going to explore sound it was going to be her. It was nice to hear it finally on a record.
Erin and the band will be traveling all over the Midwest again and I’m sure she’ll be playing shows through the summer as well. She is somebody that yes, listen to the record for sure, but her live show is something to see as well. Check her out at erincoburnmusic.com for tour dates and you can find her on all of the streaming services as well. Someone to have in your musical library. Kick back, put your feet up, and let her and the band carry you away.