Photo | facebook.com/ericmcfaddenmusic
Band: Eric McFadden
Date: Wednesday, Oct. 16, at 8 p.m.
Venue: Cedar Street Social Club, 4 N. Cedar St., cedarstreetsocialclub.com
Tickets: $12, available through Eventbrite
One of the music industry’s most accomplished and desired guitarists will be coming to Cedar Street Social Club this month. Since the start of his professional career, Eric McFadden has lent his guitar (on stage or in the studio) to a long list of notable music acts and musicians that include Les Claypool (Primus), North Mississippi Allstars, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, The Reverend Horton Heat, The Revivalists, P!nk, Fishbone, Stewart Copeland (The Police) and many more.
When he arrives in the Azalea City, McFadden will be showcasing his own music. In 2018, McFadden released three albums including “Cholula Sessions” (with Omar Torrez), “Eric McFadden does AC/DC (Acoustic Tribute)” and “Pain by Numbers.” Even though his career has allowed him to play with a number of great artists, McFadden says that there is no greater pleasure than releasing albums filled with his own material.
“Well, I love the process of making an album,” McFadden said. “I love writing songs and being in the studio environment and laying it down. I always want to be making a record. Sometimes, it’s more dictated by time or budget and things like that. So, I haven’t always produced records as much as I’d like to.”
McFadden’s vision of releasing his own albums began taking shape when he picked up the guitar in his preteen years, which “ignited something.” Even in those days, McFadden said that his life revolved around the guitar. He says this passion was kindled at 14 when he discovered that he could play a proper guitar solo.
McFadden began dreaming about a career as a guitarist. He pictured himself being Jimmy Page weaving guitar tones for thousands standing before him. McFadden would glue blank sheets of paper onto album covers. On the front, he would draw his own cover art with his chosen band name. On the back, he would create fantasy tracklists filled with songs of his own creation. Ultimately, McFadden dreamed of making his own records. He says that the young version of himself would be proud of his current career status, despite the more serious side of the music game.
“I probably would be happy to see that I’m still making a living playing music,” McFadden admitted. “Although, I think the way you envision it at that age is different. Your idea of success is different as a kid. You don’t understand anything about the business or working or paying bills and all the reality of being an adult.”
As far as finding time to create albums, McFadden says that it is just a matter of taking a break from the road to enter into the studio. However, entering the studio is always on his mind.
For his recent album “Pain by Numbers,” McFadden entered the studio with South Louisiana music legend Tab Benoit. New Orleans guitar maestro Anders Osborne served as the catalyst for this creative union. Osborne introduced the two while McFadden was on the tour with him. After the introduction, McFadden says their tour schedules would constantly force them to cross paths at various festivals across the nation.
Two years after meeting Benoit, McFadden says that they were both performing at the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival. McFadden says that he and bassist Carl Dufrene (North Mississippi Allstars, Anders Osborne) were performing at one of the festival’s after-parties at “one of the little pubs there.” He and Dufrene had invited several artists from the festival to join them at this post-festival jam.
“Tab came and played, and he played drums on one of my songs,” McFadden said. “He asked if that was one of my songs. Then, he threw the idea at me about coming to do a record with him at his place. We actually ended up making it happen pretty quickly after that. Lo and behold, ‘Pain by Numbers’ was born.”
McFadden says that “Pain by Numbers” was written during “a very hard time” in his life. This, coupled with the loss of his computer and hard drive, forced him to write most of the songs shortly before and during the recording process. With the exception of McFadden’s guitar, Benoit employed his own studio gear and gave a few pointers on the instrumental arrangements.
McFadden coupled these fresh, emotional songs with Benoit’s mission to create “the most passionate and honest performance that he could” in the studio. After recording through the night and into the early morning hours, the two would sit and talk about everything from music to Himalayan throat singers.
“He wanted it to be raw and not over-thought and not overplayed,” said McFadden. “There were not a lot of takes on songs. He wanted to capture the true essence of the music and the artist. He wasn’t trying to alter it. He wanted to capture the magic.”
Released on Benoit’s Whiskey Bayou label, the tracks on “Pain by Numbers” serve as proof that McFadden and Benoit succeeded in capturing the emotion of the moment both sonically and lyrically.
This unfiltered delivery of swampy sound begins with the glorious blues overture “While You Was Gone.” Built on a foundation of edgy blues rock and McFadden’s raw vocal work, this album is a beautiful musical translation of McFadden’s life at the time of the album’s creation. Heartbreaking prose is mingled with mean guitar tones throughout every track. The live nature of these tracks assures listeners McFadden will be able to duplicate the same sound and emotion in the live setting as in the studio.
While tracks from “Pain by Numbers” will definitely highlight McFadden’s performance at Cedar Street, those in attendance should also hope that he regales them with acoustic tracks from his other two releases from last year.
His album with Omar Torrez, “Cholula Sessions,” is a bright, exotic collection of warm acoustic flamenco and gypsy jazz. “Eric McFadden does AC/DC (Acoustic Tribute)” provides a fresh context for the hits of the legendary heavy metal band. As far as the next release from McFadden, fans can expect several new albums in the very near future.
“This year, I just finished an album for the French label Bad Reputation, and I’m slated to do another Whiskey Bayou record,” McFadden said. “I’d like to get started on that as soon as possible. It’s just a matter of taking time off the road to make that happen. I think that I’m due for another album.”
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