23 August 2019 (released)
21 August 2019
Prolific Vermont singer-songwriter Eric George has returned with his second full-length of 2019, Where I Start. The album is a collection of songs accumulated over the years that have finally found the right time to surface. The artist describes it as “an album consisting of music from faded pages, the bottom of stacks of notebooks; it’s an album to wake up the past, to bring old songs into a room full of instruments and see what happens.” As such, the album shows various experiments branching off from George's very classic style of Americana.
The title track opens the album and as you would expect, has the feel of a man picking up the pieces to start an adventure. A new direction for the springtime. The percussion is sparse, playing the rims in a playful fashion. The ambient reverb is that of an empty room, ready to be filled with possibility. A shimmering, shifting guitar line snakes to follow George's vocal lines. Background vocalist Addie Herbert joins forces to present a unified front. The chorus-less piece acts as a proper beginning to the album, poised ready for what's to come.
'Found Out' has the slow stomping jangle of an early Neil Young record, where the second footstep comes down heavy after the first, half limp half skip. George trades off meandering melody lines with this Youngian shuffle. He tells the all too familiar tale of falling in love with your best friend and the perils that come along with that.
'Shades of Evening' has the syncopated swing of Van Morrison's 'Moondance' shape its swaying cadence. 'What Holds the Bone' is bluegrass in its truest sense with hastily strummed mandolin and a county fair jolly vibe. He makes a sharp left turn for 'My Backyard' a slappy, Britpop-styled bopper. Darker, chunky chords with a howling vocal. 'Do You Hear It' rounds out the record nicely with a duet with Kat Wright. Hard downbeat acoustic and country air violins.
Where I Start is a warm evening in the heartland kind of record. Aside from a brief diversion, it's a collection of deep-rooted Americana with plenty of room for reflection. When you go about collecting works from a large period of time, there are bound to be some outliers. Making a couple of choice cuts may have presented a more cohesive theme. Still a great record to throw on for a quiet night in with the family at the cabin.