Eric Durrance In Key

I became a fan of the music of Eric Durrance back in the days of his rock band Big Dismal and I can confirm their album ‘Believe’ still sounds as good now as it did then. It was Eric’s vocal ability which made this album stand out from the crowd for me. I was sad to learn in 2007 that the band had disbanded and Eric was going to be working on solo material with a country sound. At that time, my musical tastes did not appreciate the country sound so I was sad that my love of his music was to go our separate ways.

Now we travel forward in time to 2014 where my friend Gretchen Mashburn on Twitter recommended the country rock band Tobacco Rd. Now my music tastes have developed I now have music with a country flavour added into my music collection. I was really enjoying this bands music, especially their album called ‘Coming Back Around’ (find out more about this band at Tobaccordband.com). I was surprised to learn that this band is fronted by none other than Eric Durrance. Listening to him sing felt like getting reacquainted with an old friend.

As I mentioned earlier my musical tastes have changed so I decided to check out Eric’s solo releases which are ‘Angels Fly Away (2008)’, ‘Country Love (2011)’ and his newly released EP ‘In Key’ which I will review later in this post. While listening to his music I could hear his music grow as not only did his voice sound stronger than ever but I started to appreciate his lyrical skills a whole lot more. If you are going to check out his previous releases then I recommend the songs ‘Here with Me’ (from Country Love EP) and the superb ‘Life is Hard’ (from Angels Fly Away).

I wanted to find out more about Eric and his music so I thought I would try to ask the man some questions. He was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule which I thank him for doing so and this is what he had to say:

What was your inspiration for getting into music and which musicians have influenced your sound?

My mom and grandfather were both singers. My grandfather was really into George Jones and old southern gospel. My mom played in bands and sang everything from country to rock. I listened to just about everything growing up from old country to rock. I loved bands from Alabama all the way to Chicago. Conway Twitty to Lynel Richie. I had a pretty wide spectrum of influences. All of the artist I mentioned had great ballads and that’s what I loved the most. I’m still a big ballad guy at heart.

You have been writing music for such a long time, what is your secret to continuingly writing songs of such a high calibre?

I write songs everyday. It’s like breathing for me. I drive to my studio every morning , turn on my computer , pick up my guitar or sit behind the keys and start playing. I never know what I’m going to write. I just let the music tell me what to say. Very rarely do I have a title in mind when I start writing a song. You never know what’s going to inspire you. It may be a movie you’ve seen or something your going through. No matter what life always dishes out plenty to write about good and bad. That’s what a song is to me. Its a story of life. We all have good times and hard times. Nothing can explain it better to me than a song.

There really is no secret bud. I just try to stay as honest as I can with the lyric and keep it from the heart. That’s where all the real good stuff comes from.

Talking of writing songs, what were your goals when you creating your new EP ‘In Key’ and how did you feel when you heard the final version of it?

I decided to release a solo EP because it had been along time since I had released anything. I’ve been playing in bands playing in bars and touring for the last five years which left little time for me and my personal approach to the music. The song “Out Of Mind” was the first song I wrote with a release in mind. I really liked the style and sound of it. It really is the center piece of the EP. I knew I needed some up tempo songs so I crafted a few very quickly. I then set down to write a song for a friend that had just lost his wife in a car accident. That’s when the song “The Way You Left Me” was born. I remember sitting back in my chair listening to the song after it was finished and shedding a few tears for my friend. At first I thought about not putting it on the EP but then I thought “maybe people need to hear this song” so I decided to release it. It has since been one of the most talked about songs that I’ve ever released. I hope that it offers some kind of healing for those who experienced such a loss. I had to write , record , mix and master the entire project which can be very exhausting. At the end I wasn’t sure that it was good enough but I had to put a deadline on myself or I would’ve kept working on it forever.

What is your favourite song from ‘In Key’ and why?

I think my favorite song is “Out Of Mind” To me it just has that something. I really think it could be a big song someday.

What are your future plans/goals for your music?

My goal is to keep on making music as long as the powers that be allow me too. I have been in talks with Nashville about releasing a single nation wide soon. They really love “Out Of Mind” At the end of the day I have been very blessed on my musical journey. Since the year 2000 I have been able to say I am a full time musician. That is pretty amazing and I thank god everyday he allows me to keep chasing my dreams. As for tomorrow I will be back in my little studio alone writing another song. Who knows? It may be the one!

Eric’s latest solo release ‘In Key’ is simply his best work to date. It definitely showcases the amazing lyrical gift that he possesses which he uses to create 8 songs that are honest, and at times I feel they have a soul bearing quality about them. As Eric said earlier, he keeps it honest and from the heart, this is evidential throughout the release (and his previous songs). You can also hear this quality in his vocals too which ooze an honest emotion which makes it easy for the listener to connect to the songs.

These lyrics are supported with this radio friendly country feel that sounds so good I know it will gain him a lot more new fans. I like how this EP also delivers a good mix of tempo with the likes of the upbeat song ‘Good Times’ to the gentle emotional sound from the song ‘It’s You’. This helps to give the EP a good balance to it. ‘Good Time’ and ‘The Way you left Me’ are highlights from this release but it is ‘Out of Mind’ that stands out the most for me. This song symbolises not only how good Eric sounds but the emotion he can deliver in his lyrics and vocal abilities. Listen and you will understand what I mean.

Overall, this is an impressive release that Eric should be proud of due to its honest soul that is difficult to resist. I recommend that you head over to the usual online music stores and grab a copy of ‘In Key’ today. Actually, while you are there grab his previous EP’s/albums too, you will not be disappointed.

I have to thank Gretchen again for bringing Eric’s music back to my attention and as a result his music has been added to my collection. It feels weird that it may have been 6 years since I heard any of his solo music but it also feels that he has never been away. As much as I enjoy the music of Tobacco Rd Band it is his solo material that I am excited to hear more. I am following him on his social media sites on Facebook and Twitter so when new music is released I will hear about it. As always, support the music that matters to you as it is our duty as fans and I hope this now includes the music created by Eric Durrance.