Rebirth in the Big Easy | VailDaily.com
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Rebirth in the Big Easy

Charlie Owen
Vail, CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily
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Eric Lindell has had quite an interesting journey as a musician. Tatted up like a prison convict, Lindell started playing guitar as a teenager in California, then made his way to New York to soak in a different musical climate. Eventually he found himself in the diverse music Mecca of New Orleans where he would live and play for about six years ” and experience a musical rebirth of sorts. Not bad, considering he only moved their because of his wife.

“I didn’t know much about New Orleans when I first moved there. My wife is from New Orleans,” Lindell said.

But if any city in America appreciates a gigging guitarist and starving artist it’s New Orleans. With hundreds of bars to choose from and a tight-knit community of musicians, the Crescent City contains opportunities to bone up on your chops that no other city can offer. Lindell immediately took advantage, playing constantly with anybody he could, and soon had himself a record deal and recognition for his bluesy-soul style of rock ‘n’ roll. Thursday night Lindell will give Vail a taste of how it’s done down South.

“I’ve been playing just forever, this is what I do, this is how I feed my family. You play a million gigs, you just kind of come into your own, you know what I mean,” said Lindell, now 40.

He forged his sound on the anvil of diversity, taking cues from country, reggae, rock, soul and blues. Finding his own distinct voice and style came from playing so much and with so many different musicians ” something that was easy to embrace in his new home by the bayou.

“You always get better as a musician working with a lot of different people, I feel like, and that’s something as a songwriter I’ve always been fortunate to do,” Lindell said.

One could say that Lindell has indeed come into his own in the past decade. After moving to New Orleans, he was signed to the Alligator Records label and has already released two albums under its name and is now working on a third. “Change In The Weather” is a re-release of much of his older self-released material, while “Low on Cash, Rich in Love” is a full-length album of all-new songs that Lindell is very proud of. He and his band recorded it live in one session to capture a raw sound.

“They’re doing a good job. I got to hand it to Alligator, they really know how to work a record,” Lindell said.

Don’t just expect a guitarist to take the stage when you see Lindell in concert. He is also a songwriter, music producer and can play the harmonica and sing, too. He enjoys jamming with random musicians saying that it helps him to re-examine the way a song is arranged or written and sometimes gives him a new perspective on the music.

Lindell’s raspy soul singing and clean blues playing helps to set him apart in a genre of music often cluttered with copy-cats and C students of the craft. Having played all across the country and found some level of success, Lindell is not content to reflect on what he has accomplished. Instead, he continues to write and play live while balancing his career with his family” a challenge for him, he said. With a wife and two kids (a third on the way), life on the road for long spans of time is no longer an option. The family moved from New Orleans to Florida, but one listen to Lindell’s voice when he talks about playing and it’s obvious he will probably die with a guitar in his hands. And as far as the future goes, Lindell has some specific goals in mind.

“I really like collaborating with people, that’s probably my favorite thing about music,” Lindell said.

He wants to keep producing music as well and even write songs that other well-known artists can cover or that may be used in movies.

“And then on the live front, just continuing to put out good records and getting out there and playing and touring behind them,” Lindell said.

Something tells me nothing could convince him to do otherwise.

High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 748-2939 or cowen@vaildaily.com.


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