Eric Noden Band – Solid Ground
The album cover with an electric guitar prominently displayed on the back should have given it away; when I heard the opening chords of this album I knew it was going to be a little different album for Mr. Noden. This is a rocking album of original tunes that he’s assembled here, having written all but one of them. Joining Noden are Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith on drums, E.G. McDaniel on bass and Joe Filisko on harp. I really found it intriguing and a lot of fun.
Noden opens with the title track. A big electric guitar intro with harp accompaniment sets the tone that this won’t be an ordinary Eric Noden album. It’s got a heavy groove laid out by Smith and McDaniel and Noden almost growls out the vocal lead. This is as dirty a blues sound I’ve heard from Noden and Filisko and I love it! “Second Day of June” has Noden testifying that he’s got a Terraplane so he doesn’t need any bus fare. His finger picking is very intriguing as he skillfully attacks the acoustic guitar with reckless but refined abandon. “Can’t Stand to Lose You” is in the style of 1950’s Chicago blues with Noden telling us of his baby and his allegiance to her. He swings a little bit in a slow boogie sort of way and then Filisko punctuates the proceedings with some big harp. McDaniel opens “Rhyme or Reason” and Noden gets a little funky for us as he tells the story of how he feels. Filisko give us a nice solo but later Noden gives us his best and then the two join up for duet on their instruments. Funky, electrified fun! “Incident” is another grooving and rocking cut with a big rocking sound. Heavy guitar work and vocals by Noden on a dark groove and some mean harp make this an interesting cut. Noden layers in more guitar on top and makes the feel even heavier. “Sikth Sense” is a very cool instrumental with Filisko and Noden going almost a little Peter Gunn on this one. I could see it being the theme song for an old B&W detective TV show. Loved it; this is the only cut penned by Joe Filisko and he shows us another side as well with the song.
“Alaska” is another rocking cut with a bit of a rockabilly beat. This followed by “Fix it Tomorrow,” a blues rock song of procrastination. Noden shows us where he can take his music to with these cuts, and then returns deep in the blues with “I Like A Woman.” He sings to us that he likes women who stay out all night and get him all worked up so his head is in the clouds. He and Filisko then impress as they pick and blow together on the bridge. Noden gets the slide out for “Lost Turnpike,” a dark piece that he sells with an ethereal slide. “Deep Wells and Deep Pockets” is a big blues piece with some wailing harp work as Noden makes some commentary on the oil men running things. Filisko adds some big harp and Noden sells the vocals and guitar well. The album finishes up with “Sonic Breakdown,” a great high tempo cut with a thumping beat. Filisko does the first big solo and some more later; a great, driving song with a cool boogie beat. It’s another great song that concludes an album of winners!
I like Eric Noden playing with a more rocking side to his music. Going with a more modern sound, Noden shows us that he’s versatile and effective in a more contemporary setting. I enjoyed listening to a modernized Noden with Filisko and two other very talented friends and think that most blues fans will, too. This is a really good album of all original tunes that will make you tap a toe or two- nicely done!!!