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INTERVIEW: Lexington, Kentucky-based Americana singer-songwriter Eric Bolander

Pic by Kayvilla Blevins

Singer-songwriter Eric Bolander weathers his own emotional firestorm with his new record The Wind (out March 29). It’s a brooding, often languid, folk set-piece weaving in and out of tales of drug addiction, religion, renewal and the birth of his two-year-old daughter. He casts off his hard-rock outer shell for a more traditionally-rooted and sensitive storybook, steeped in heartfelt emotions and embodying the endurance of the human spirit.

Produced by Duane Lundy (Sturgill Simpson, Ringo Starr) at Shangri-la Studios in Lexington, Kentucky, The Wind is as much a natural transition in Bolander’s catalog as an evocative love letter to a weathered existence in an ever-tumultuous world. 

Below, Bolander talks to VENTS about his new record and his plans for the future….

Hi Eric, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I’ve been happily busy!

Can you talk to us more about your song “The Wind”?

This title track song came from thinking about how people face adversity.   The hook just kinda came to me when I was picking around in my music room at home.  I wanted it to be very repetitive just like the wind can be in a storm.   Further looking inward, I realized this song could very much be an Anthem of sorts for my granny. She’s such a tough woman and has been through so much.  She’s my mom’s mother and I see so much of her toughness in my mom.

Lyrically it really is simply about not falling completely and moving forward no matter the circumstances ahead.  It’s sort of like being in the music industry too I suppose.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Not a specific event but a story about my granny comes to mind.  When my mom and her siblings were really young, my grandfather left my granny for a younger woman and took the kids somewhere in Ohio. My granny searched for them best she could.  Being poor and basically stuck in eastern Kentucky, she made phone calls and reached out to as many people as possible. One day one of my aunts snuck to a phone at a nearby grocery store where they were taken and called my granny. Then my granny was able to get help and go get them.

Any plans to release a video?

There are tentative plans via Eastwood Records for a video but will definitely not come out until after the album releases.

The single is the title track for your new album – what’s the story behind the title?

Several songs are about overcoming obstacles and celebrating the small triumphs in life.  We should all learn to celebrate victories as they happen because there are plenty of people not cheering for us.  Embrace those that are by your side when it counts, not when they count it.

How was the recording and writing process?

Writing the songs, structure and lyrics, are mostly done by myself with my guitar and phone recorder.  Seth and Ben come in and add their parts with some light coaching from me.  They are both very established at their instruments with Seth being on Cello and sometimes Bass guitar, Ben on percussion and backing vocals.

The recording process is basically us rehearsing for several weeks then going into the studio.

What was it like to work with Duane Lundy and how did that relationship develop?

Anyone who knows Duane knows he marches to his own beat.  He has certain ways he works and it’s up to you as the artist to speak up. I had such a great time and artistically sound experience with Mr. Lundy. He is a very experienced engineer/producer and it’s because of that I put a lot of trust in him with this album.

We knew each other through mutual musician friends.  He approached me one day after a local gig about working with him.  We set up a meeting for a drink at one of our favorites spots in town The Green Lantern and went from there.  Next thing you know we’re recording these songs together and making it happen.

Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than in your own? 

Short answer yes. But with Lundy, the songs were written and rehearsed so our sessions were more of him pushing and pulling to tweak some things sonically.  Not so much structurally.

What role does Lexington or Kentucky as a whole play in your music?

A huge role.  This is my home and I’m Kentucky proud through and through.

What aspect of your life did you get to explore on this record?

Upbringing in small town Kentucky, loss, anger, birth of my daughter (greatest moment in my life), and reflection.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Others struggles with life in general.

Any plans to hit the road?

Oh yeah. We’ve got a week long trio tour coming up beginning with the release show March 29th at the Burl in Lexington, KY.  I’ll have many shows solo and trio coming up this year.

What else is happening next in Eric Bolander’s world?

Teaching art, doing graphic design, touring, trying to be a decent husband, and being the best dad I can possibly be! Daddy loves you Ava Kate!

Listen here

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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