Nashville Singer-Songwriter Jason Erie's Riveting Debut Album
Jason Erie was raised in Jersey but he was born for Nashville. After years spent cultivating a musical (if not also rocky) childhood and fronting a New York rock band, Erie’s finally found his way to Music City, a place meant for his gritty voice and distinct brand of earnest storytelling. He’s only lived in Nashville for a few years now but he’s fit right in.
Last year, Erie released his debut album, The Art Of Letting Go, a 7-song collection exploring the gamut of Americana with tender ballads, folksy romps, and everything in between. Here’s what Erie told us about the record:
The Art Of Letting Go opens with “Talking To Chairs,” our first introduction to Erie’s songwriting prowess. He’s not writing hooks or singalong verses so much as he’s weaving entire stories and creating characters. It’s narrative, but it’s poetry, too, because Erie has such a vivid way with words. Armed with his acoustic guitar and occasional thumps of backing percussion, he delivers a poignant self-reflective piece you can somehow feel brewing in your own gut. Next comes “Conversations With A Bottle,” a high-energy romp built on country twang. It chugs along, waves of fast-paced percussion thrumming beyond wailing fiddle. Erie’s emotive croon howls among the outlaw arrangement he’s expertly crafted, a foot-stomping, thigh-slapping Americana anthem.
On “Lorelai,” we get something of a mix between the elements of the previous two tracks. There’s more of Erie’s profound lyrics (“You look more alive in that cheap pine box than you have in years”) and a robust, slightly countrified arrangement, but it’s more of a slow-burn, creeping along at a steady pace. This one’s built on emotion. It’s intense. It hurts. But Jason Erie treats it thoughtfully. The halfway point of The Art Of Letting Go finds the dark, pounding “Black Lung,” the record’s devilish alt-country effort. Erie’s vocals are at their most powerful here, an example of just how versatile every component of his work is, growling and yowling among a searing arrangement. On “Gold Rush,” we return to Erie’s softer side with melancholic strings and a minimalist base. He sings another story here, laced with bittersweet wisdom to mimic the soundscape.
The album’s title track boasts some of Erie’s best lyrics as he gently tackles our changing history and what it means to watch this world falter. It’s another sweetened song, devoid of the raging alt-country rhythms he’s equally capable of, and it takes its time, softly exploring its six minute length. Thank god it’s a longer piece because we need the time to reflect and to shake off the goosebumps it gives us. Nearly half an hour later, the record ends with “Some Kind of Way,” led by playful strums and swells of percussion. It’s like the final chapter — Erie introduces us to two characters, Bobby and Jenny, walking us through their ups and downs without revealing exactly how this story ends, though we can infer. Singing lines like “Maybe they were just a couple counterfeit fools / Thinking they could beat this town,” Erie practically draws the story. We can see the characters he speaks of, see them holding hands and running far from the place that held them down. This is Erie’s superpower. Effortlessly, he does everything he can to make us see, not just hear. The result is a remarkable sensory experience in which we’ve hopped inside Erie’s brain for a private tour of what’s going on in all those crowded corners.
On The Art Of Letting Go, Jason Erie makes his grand debut as a songwriter and storyteller who could easily hold his own with the Nashville legends we know and love. The thing about Erie is that he’s not just a wildly talented musician — he’s a poet, a gut-puncher, a soul-shaker, an artist so in tune with the special ways that words can be spun. Not all singer-songwriters can do this, but somehow Erie does it all. Humbly, too, like he doesn’t even know that magic lives in him.
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