Eric Madis: Traveling Light (2000)
Madis has about everything you could ask for in a guitarist: good tone, good time, a clean sound, and a relaxed, unhurried feel. As a singer he belt out a blues with the best of them, but Madis has a much more refined, skilled voice than the usual gravelly, guttural blues shouter; a voice that would be equally at home singing jazz standards. As a composer, there is a honesty, romanticism, and altruism in his music; he composes pretty, and sometimes bittersweet music that appeals to the listener on a very emotional level. Although this disc comprises a mix of minor/major blues combinations, two Madis originals are also presented here that are quite devoid of the blues form. There is the peaceful, yet forceful "Aspire to Inspire", a quiet unaccompanied guitar solo with overdubbed bass that has an almost saintly quality to it, and the lovely "La ‘Ela ‘E"; a slack-key acoustic guitar solo that serves as an proud anthem to Madis' wife Eileen. The slightly exotic minor blues "Far Wes", is a nod to one of Madis' inspirations; Wes Montgomery. Madis plays the melody in octaves, which is followed by a sweeping single-string solo. On "Shotgun Blues" Madis shows off his impressive slide guitar skills over this major blues with a lively blues shuffle feel, while on the slower, unaccompanied "Brownskin Woman Blues", he convincingly takes us back to the Mississippi Delta for some down-home pickin' and blues hollerin'.
Traveling Light represents chapter one in the life and music of Eric Madis. It is the story of human expression written by a man who has a lot to say about life itself, and is told with uncommon passion and desire. I can only say that I look forward to putting on my reading glasses, and perusing future successive chapters of the good book of Madis.
Track Listing: North Wes; Cold Hearted Woman; Way Down Upon My Knees; Brownskin Woman Blues; Shotgun Blues; Aspire to Inspire; Sent For You Yesterday; I Left My Baby; Milk Cow Blues; Swimming in the Duwamish; Is You Is or Is You Aint My Baby; I'm Leaving Town; La'Ela'E
Personnel: Eric Madis(electric, acoustic guitars, bass, vocals); Rick Leppanen(bass); Jim Charlier(bass); Edward Contreras (drums); Brad Stoll(drums); Jim,Jay & Eric(hand claps, tambourine)
Record Label: Luna Records