#erakientertainment #ericvanaro #endlessroads #donheckman #irom
The last time I reviewed an album by this guy in early 2014, I complimented his reclaiming stellar jazz singing for the guys in the face of so many fine current female jazz singers.
This time, withEndless Roads, Eric Van Aro has reestablished the stripped down rock/pop sound amidst an avalanche of overdubbed, over-produced, echo chambered, synthetic slop so dominant today. (We won’t name the purveyors as they know who they are; unshaken TV commercials abound for their concert tours; Good Morning America appearances before overexcited pre-teens. You know the drill.)
Eric himself writes that he has “been taught that the musical roads one can and should take are endless . . .” He may need to be careful, though, as the musical world has long since shown an obnoxious need to characterize artists and their art forms, neat little boxes to keep our tastes in without a lot of thought.
Eric, though, can find room for works by Pat Metheny, Laura Nyro, Randy Newman, Jimmy Page/Robert Plant, Bruno Mars and himself in the same album. Really.
Maybe the bravest piece is Mars’ “Just the Way You Are.” Reworking a big hit by a pop giant is to walk on the edge of unacceptable, as the original version is tucked so deeply into our musical consciousness. Singing along with the car radio and such. Eric pulls it off anyway by tipping his hat to the hit while singing it in his raspier, deeper way.
The lesser known Zep piece “Friends” moves effortlessly from bluesy at the start to jazzy at the end.
“This Is Not America” opens the album and sets the rocking tone with Max Elli’s slick rock guitar opening. Elli is a strength throughout the album, weaving in, under and around Van Aro’s vocals as if they had played together for years. In actuality, they seem to have met musically on Endless Roads.
Eric’s artistic generosity means this could almost have been billed as Elli’s album with Eric providing vocals, rather like the long ago days of Jeff Beck with Rod Stewart.
He notes that on this album he “really tried to let the producer in me stay at home and let myself by guided by my producer and my musicians.”
Kudos to Giordano Colombo for his production. As noted, a clean, crisp, basic sound is quite rare in these days of dubbing to the max.
Drummer Giordano Colombo is solid throughout and really breaks out on “Stratus.” If there’s such a thing as rock scat singing, Eric shows it off here.
Nyro’s “And When I Die”, recorded memorably by Blood Sweat & Tears, adds a little country flavor and Randy Newman’s “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today” has just a dash of Van Morrison flavor in Eric’s vocal.
The album closes with Van Aro’s co-written “One Life One Song” and as an earlier song notes: “. . . that’s the way to treat a friend.”
The friend in this case being any listener.
Endless Roads will be released on September 17.
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(c)(p) 2015 The International Review of Music
#ericvanaro #endlessroads #brianarsenault #brunomars #jimmypage #lauranyro #ledzeppelin #patmetheny #randynewman #robertplant
Eric Van Aro’s world-wide array of enthusiastic fans have long been aware of his stylistic versatility, which he serves up with ease, singing in English, Italian, French and German. In the far-ranging selection of tunes on Endless Roads, he takes his performances up another level, applying his unique musical mastery to everything from rock, jazz and singer/songwriter classics, as well as his own originals.
Van Aro receives solid musical support from drummer Giordano Colombo, who also produced Endless Roads, and a collection of enthusiastic young European players that includes guitarist Max Elli, bassist Andrea Torresani, and keyboardist Antonio Chindamo.
The results, as with Van Aro’s previous recordings for Eraki, his Switzerland-based label, are irresistibly memorable.
And it’s no surprise that the stunning skillfulness with which Van Aro interprets Endless Roads’ fascinating array of songs has already attracted critical attention.
Reviewer Matthew Forss writes that “Fans of Southern rock, blues, jazz, Americana, roots, folk, and some pop will find a place in their heart for Eric Van Aro’s Endless Roads. Overall, there are endless possibilities of enjoyment with all of the songs on the album.”
Endless Roads will be released on September 17th 2015
Reviewer Heath Andrews accurately describes Endless Road as “a well-constructed collection of songs that are enchantingly sung and ferociously played.”
Eric Van Aro is the first to insist that his many accomplishments should be considered in the context of his creative heritage. His mother, Caterina Valente, has been an international singing star since the early fifties, selling more than 18 million recordings worldwide. His father is Erik Van Aro, Sr., a German juggler and producer.
Endless Roads is yet another example of the expressive versatility that is a primal element in that heritage. It is also a compelling display of Eric Van Aro’s growing skill at applying that versatility to every area of contemporary music.
– Don Heckman
International Review of Music
Preview the whole album at amazon.com
#ericvanaro #donheckman #internationalreviewofmusic #endlessroads