The music industry is tough right now, with the landscape of how artists create music and market themselves changing almost daily. Talented artists with proven longevity are rare, independent artists with longevity are even more rare which is why independent singer, songwriter and producer Eric Roberson should be especially proud of the release this week of his 10th studio album ‘The Box.‘
Eric Roberson boasts a music career spanning 15 years, he has an established sound and a dedicated fan base which brings with it high expectations from new album ‘The Box‘ and he does not disappoint. For anyone out there looking for ‘real’ music with soul, instrumental exploration and impeccable songwriting, Erro’s ‘Box‘ contains all of this and more!
Upon first listen two things struck me about the album, the first being how incredible the variation of live instruments on many of the tracks is, so much care has been taken over the production and ‘sound’ of each song with talented musicians blending with Erro’s vocals, each track feels really alive, like they could burst out of your speakers! There has been a lot of criticism of late that music has become too over-produced with an absence of instrumental emphasis, this album fills that void. A great acheivement in production, credit must be given to producers Brett “Bdubb” Baker, Aaron Hardin, Jeff Murrell, Erro himself and more who have created the flawless sound of the album.
The second realisation (as I tried to listen to ‘The Box‘ at work) is that this is not an album for passive listening, Eric Roberson is a storyteller and as much as you might try to use music for ‘background’, his deeply personal and evolving lyrics will steal your attention and embrace you back into the songs. Erro himself describes the album as ‘grown’ and his lyrics are just that with songs like, ‘Lust for Love’ and ‘Im Not Trying To Keep Score No More‘ exploring the rarely talked about challenges of long term relationships. The motivational ‘Don’t Hide Your Wings‘ boasts the knowledge of a man who understands the pressures that women face and the battles many have with self esteem, ‘The Pill‘ explores fears of commitment whilst ‘Do The Same For Me‘ expresses the contentment of a happily married family man (if you reach the end of this track without shedding a tear check your pulse!).
The Box ebbs and flows across different musical styles, from the hip hop vibe of ‘The Cycle‘ which features Pharoahe Monch, to the infectious swing sound of ‘Pill‘, ‘Haunted‘ has a classic jazz flava then Erro brings the funk with help from Dave Hollister on ‘The Box‘. One of the most distinctive tracks on the album is ‘Just Imagine‘ which touches on a more indie style of RnB and features the hauntingly beautiful guest vocals of ‘King‘.
The range of styles on this album could divide fans, but whether or not you think that this is Erro’s best album it is undoubtedly his most confident, it is bold and experimental whilst keeping within the genre which his audiences know and love him for. His vocals are stronger than ever on The Box, we hear him demonstrate a lower range as well as exploring a raspier, funk style to his voice on tracks such as ‘Pill‘.
The Box is bursting with soul and variety, more than an album it is a musical journey through RnB styles and Eric Roberson’s life, it will make you sing, laugh, dance, and cry and have you reaching for ‘repeat’ to experience it all over again! If you’re a Music Fan First you need to get yourself a copy of The Box – it will not disappoint!
Carly – ann (@CarlyMond)