It shouldn’t be a surprise, given what we all went through, that 2020 and the pandemic would birth some blues music. There was so much stress and anxiety, so much loneliness and isolation. A boatload of introspection. Perfect fodder for the blues, and Eric Roebuck’s new single, “Need a Change,” is a shining example. Written by Roebuck in September of 2020, the song and its blistering guitars seem to encompass all of the angst and pain we felt, both individually and collectively, and transforms it into five minutes and twenty seconds of searing blues/Southern rock healing and solace. The song is a hard-hitting, guitar-filled journey that grabs you straight from the beginning and doesn’t let go.
With over a decade of touring, gigging, and recording with different bands under his belt, Roebuck decided to start a solo venture teaming up with some of the most talented players gathered over the years. With Ian Foreman (drums) Jeff Livingstone (bass), and Alex Vo (lead guitar) part of the mix, Roebuck and his band have set out to put together a nostalgic yet fresh and unique take on an old-school rock band.
Vents Magazine sat down with Eric Roebuck to talk about “Need a Change,” the power of rocking with a full band, how changing little things can lead to bigger change, and the return to more “normal” life.
Vents: Hi Eric, welcome to VENTS! Your new single, “Need a Change,” is really special and caught my attention right away. Can you talk to us more about the song? What was the inspiration behind it?
Eric: Nice, thank you! This song was my first real attempt to get back into playing and writing songs for electric guitar. The past few years, I’d been obsessed with my 1946 Epiphone Spartan, playing a lot of old-school country, folk, bluegrass, and gypsy jazz. It definitely brought my chops up quite a bit, but during last year I realized how much I missed rockin’ with the band. So when I picked up and plugged in my Tele for the first time in awhile, that’s what I had in mind. Playing with the band again.
Vents: Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?
Eric: Yes! We have a trippy, alien, broke-down desert music video in the works, as well as some live in-studio videos and recordings.
Vents: How was the recording and writing process for that song?
Eric: It all was so smooth and easy. That doesn’t always happen. But for this one, everything fit into place. I started playing that chord progression on guitar for a week or two. The first time I decided to sing, the words just kind of came out. It wrote itself in that way. As far as the recording, the band knocked it out of the park. I gave the guys a general direction, and they ran with it. We tracked mostly live. That’s something I like doin’ to keep that mojo.
Vents: What do you hope listeners take from hearing the song?
Eric: If you’re in a hole, now is the time to start diggin’ yourself out. Changing little things in your life can lead to big change. And play more guitar. These are really just things I try to tell myself.
Vents: When you are able to head back out on the road, what song are you most looking forward to playing live and why?
Eric: This one. For sure. Like I said, I wrote it with the band in mind. I wrote it picturing the venue and crowd we were going to be playing for. I wrote this song in September 2020. It had been awhile since we played a real show. We still haven’t really given it a real shot live, but I think once we do it’s gonna sound huge!
Vents: Who are your biggest musical inspirations? Why do you love them? What are your three favorite albums of all time?
Eric: The Band, Bob Marley, CCR. I love them because their music is so natural and soulful. Also they’re all so unique-sounding, which is something I strive for as well. The Band’s “Brown Album,” Ray Charles’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll (Atlantic),” and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Second Helping.”
Vents: What else is happening next in Eric Roebuck’s world?
Eric: As far as music, we are going to be releasing a new song or two every month or so. We have some good gigs coming up. I’m really lookin’ forward to that. Some live in-studio videos as well. Other than that, playing golf and seeing friends. My wood bat baseball league got goin’ again! Finally. Very stoked on that. Getting used to going back to “normal life.”