Eric has been releasing tracks from both Heart and Soul throughout 2020 and 2021. He’s released “Heart on Fire“, “Stick that in Your Country Song”, and “Crazyland” in the months leading ups to Heart. He’s released “Break it Kind of Guy“, “Hell of a View”, “Bad Mother Trucker“, and “Lynyard Skynard Jones” for Soul. Each single an antithesis of the one before either in sound, emotion, or lyrics. They’ve been a perfect yin to the yang of each other.
In an interview (below), Eric said he wanted to make his crew and himself “uncomfortable” during the recording process and that it was a daily grind being creative but through that process that he got to finally listen to his own works as a fan. Which as a creative person, I understand, as we are so involved in the planning of a project that sometimes we can lose the appreciation of the work itself.
So let’s dive into the Heart, track by track first.
Heart on Fire – Lyrically, this song paints a memory, a flashback of yesteryears when there wasn’t a “real” care in the world. Young love. Young desire. Fresh and innocent. This song takes me back to the sound of Don Henley and “The Boys of Summer” where the song is so descriptive and on point, you see it play it out in your head. With these lyrics, I can see the analog dial of the radio in an old pick up truck my dad use to drive. “…a turned up radio, but the static was heavy. Couldn’t make out any words but ‘take me to the levee…”
Heart of the Night – These lyrics: “…my true north is anywhere I can leave it all behind. Let’s point this thing west into the chest of the still beating heart of the night…” This song is just one of those fuck it and run away songs or refuse to be kept in the box people expect you to be in songs.
Russian Roulette – When I first listened to this song, I was kind of indifferent. Then these lyrics slapped me in the face and into reality. It is a fucking jam.. These lyrics: “…ain’t nothing gonna kill these horses tonight but a song like a bullet from a dashboard light. Gettin’ shot through the speakers both left and right in stereo. Messin’ up my head, playin’ Russian Roulette with the radio. I need a melody without a memory. Take me where I’ve never been…” Damn. Those words connected straight to my heart. I have been there and done that. And the lyrics, “I need a melody without a memory…” stabbed in the chest. There are songs that I will always associate with certain memories and I wish I could listen to them without the memory. That line is the partner to the lyrics from “Springsteen” by Eric…”…funny how a melody sounds like a memory…“
People Break – I interpret this song as a song of heartbreaking and broken memories…quiet and poetic.
Stick that in Your Country Song – The anti country song. Is that even a thing? I feel sometimes that country artists fear the power of radio and the fanbase and instead of speaking their minds or writing about what pisses them off or what they believe in, they opt out or opt for silence. This is song is that fuck you to radio and to fans who think artists aren’t allowed an opinion. I fucking love it.
Never Break Heart – I can imagine a parent saying these lyrics to a child. Lessons of the heart.
Crazyland – The more I listen to this song, the more I love it. It’s just brilliantly written and I’ll be honest the first time I listened, I didn’t get the song and then it was like “DUH! I get it now!” And as someone who talks to herself a lot and battles a mind full of anxiety demons, I understood everyone in this song.
Bunch of Nothing – This is a fun little jam. And honestly, these lyrics could be my damn theme song, “…I know a whole lotta ’bout a lil’ somethin’, somethin’ and whole bunch of nothing ’bout that…“
Love Shine Down – this is actually my least favorite track on the album. It kind of feels like the odd ball of the collection.
FAVORITE TRACK: Tie between “Crazyland” and “Russian Roulette”
MUST LISTEN TRACK: “Stick that in Your Country Song”
RATING OUT OF 5 ROCK HANDS: Solid 4 🤘🤘🤘🤘
Soul is the final instalment of the Heart & Soul collection that Eric has released in April.
Heart and Soul were released to the masses while & was released to his fan club, the appropriately named Church Choir. (genius marketing there ladies, gents, and non binaries…seriously good marketing)
While both Heart and Soul are stand alone gems in their own right, they do flow seamless from one to the other. And if I assume the singles “Through my Ray Bans” and “Doing Life with Me” are on the & album, it would seem that the trio of albums is a happy ménage à trois. Each a smooth transition into the other.
Let’s just jump straight into Soul‘s tracks without a whole lot of hullabaloo.
Rock & Roll Found Me – whew…what a jam to kick the album off with. The quiet and slick bass line had me hooked. If you know me, you know I’m a sucker for a bass line and this album is full of them. This song sets the tone of the album. Fun. Funky. Groovetastic. I’m pretty sure this song is how every rock & roll music lover feels when the power of rock & roll found them. It’s just a damn good song.
Look Good and You Know It – dirty and I don’t mean Xtina “Dirty”. Soulful and dirty and the bass, sweet Lord baby Jesus, it hits the back of your spine and you find yourself toe tapping and making that dirty funk face because the groove is just too damn good. This song is full of bluesy and 60’s du woo feels and it rocks my fucking world. The chorus should be sung by everyone to their reflection in the mirror!
Bright Side Girl – I honestly don’t have an opinion about this song. There’s nothing wrong with it but it doesn’t hit the mark or move the needle for me. It’s more of an interruption than anything else.
Break it Kind of Guy – Goddamn do I dig this fucking song. The rhythm and bass guitar hooked me from the beginning. Add the lyrics and reel me in, scoop me up and throw me on the grill, I am D.O.N.E. It’s a real shame Bright Side Girl is between this song and Look Good and You Know It as it breaks the funky slap foundation of these two songs! I love the falsettos both Eric and longtime back up vocalist JoJo hit with vigour and passion. This song will have you toe tapping and shaking your rump.
Hell of a View – should I get married one day, this song will be played. I. FREAKING. LOVE. EVERYTHING. ABOUT. THIS. SONG. Don’t have anything bad to say about. Just love it. It’s a beautiful soulful confession of being in love.
Where I Wanna Be – slow, funky, brassy and classy. There’s an image I think of when I hear a song like this and it’s of the big screen couple coming together for a dance after whatever has driven them part has been defeated. Raise a glass of whiskey and get on down with your bad self.
Jenny – My least favorite track on the album. Mainly because I know a few Jenny’s and I don’t like them. Like Love Shine Down on Heart, this song just seems odd man out.
Bad Mother Trucker – my dad was a truck driver so this song will hold a special place in my heart and my mom would always hit the road with him and though she could not drive, I imagine if she did, she would be the bad mother trucker of this song. Like the others, the rhythm and bass hooked me in and the lyrical story kept me. I love these lyrics: “…she’s the reason I rock, the reason I roll. I make my living on the road. The reason that smoke stays in the stays in the stack…” Its great tribute to a kick ass mom (real or imagined).
Lynyrd Skynyrd Jones – this song is a beauty and the more I listen to it, the more I fall in love with the simplicity of it. These lyrics: “…been thinking about your Mama since that Tallahassee show, yeah son I am your daddy and my name is Curtis Loew…” I let out a hell yeah on the last four words. Mic drop. Peace out. Didn’t expect that at all.
FAVORITE TRACK: Another tie. “Break it Kind of Guy” and “Hell of a View”
MUST LISTEN TRACK: “Break it Kind of Guy”
RATING OUT OF 5 ROCK HANDS: 3 🤘🤘🤘
Of the two albums I do favor Heart over Soul, but when listening to them back to back, for me, it’s just one great album.