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Songs in the key of life

Cassie Pence
Special to the DailyEric Lindell specializes in R&B songwriting and plays a soulful guitar. He performs at Frites in Edwards at 10:30 Friday and opens for Frequinox at 8150 at 10 p.m. Saturday.
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EDWARDS – In New Orleans, where music is as prevalent as oxygen, Eric Lindell has given the city a fresh breath of air with his R&B-style songwriting and good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll.He cites his unique fashion of song, and his help in returning the city to R&B songwriting, as one possible explanation for his quick emergence among the musician populace in New Orleans, but he clarified, although it seemed quick, it took him a good four years before his notoriety started picking up.”New Orleans is a brass-band town. It’s jazz and funk, not as much songwriting. That’s what we’re putting emphasis on,” Lindell said. “I play R&B old-style with an up tempo. It’s funky, blues, roots music.”Jon Walsh of Frites in Edwards, who booked Lindell to perform Friday night at 10:30, attended college in New Orleans and felt the city’s music was getting a little “drowned out” by the funk that it’s so affectionately known. Lindell, he said, helped to revive the rhythm and blues style that was abundant in the late 1970s in the New Orleans.

“His music is infections. It really took me,” said Walsh. Lindell, who plays the guitar, as well, was first inspired by the blues of ground-breakers like Junior Wells and Albert King. He also has a penchant for R&B legends like Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles. The soul of these players comes through in Lindell’s sound, as does his own experiences in his songwriting. Lindell won the John Lennon Songwriting Competition in the R&B category for his song “Kelly Anne” in 1999.”It’s hard to find a guy his age whose songs really move you. It’s like he took in years of New Orleans into his style of music within months. He has so much soul,” Walsh said.It’s natural when talking about music to compare artists to others; it’s an effective way of description. But Lindell said he definetley created his own sound.”We’re not going for a certain genre or style. It’s all just blended in. It is what it is,” said Lindell. “I write songs in the key of life. I write about stuff I know, relationships, hard times, good times.”

The musician has gained a devoted fan base from paying his dues on the road. He started his career in San Francisco and then moved to New York before finally settling in New Orleans. It’s here where he met Stanton Moore, drummer for Galactic, and began playing with Moore in intimate hipster hangouts like the Old Pointe and Circle Bar.”New Orleans is like one big band. It’s an incestuous thing. Everyone plays with everybody,” Lindell said.He played three shows with Derek Trucks while on the road, and after his solo show at 10:30 p.m. today at Frites in Edwards, he’ll open for Frequinox (a musician collaboration of Robert Walter, keyboardist of the 20th Congress; Stanton Moore, drummer for Galactic; Rob Mercurio, bassist for Galactic; Will Bernard, guitarist for TJ Kirk and Donald Harrison, saxophonist for the Headhunters) Saturday at 8150, and Lindell said you can expect some collaborative jams.At Frites, Lindell is playing with bassist Aaron Wilkinson and a guest drummer from New Orleans.”You can expect to hear good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll and soul music,” he said.

For more information on Frites, call 926-2151Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 618, or cpence@vaildaily.comVail, Colorado


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