Eric Steckel, a native of the East coast, has released a new EP titled The California Sessions that was inspired by his recent stint living in the hills of LA. Capturing the feeling of living in the area and enjoying the unique lifestyle that California offers was his goal with these five tracks.
All the tracks have similar feel and sound to them that is unique from most of what Eric has done in the past. All these tracks are built around the same basic idea. A repeating acoustic or lightly picked electric riff sets a breezy “California” feel for most of the song until Eric rips into his electric guitar over that same riff. That’s when the energy of the songs intensify. When that solo guitar kicks in you know you are listening to Eric since those unique, fluid, powerful electric guitar skills that he has are prominent in the mix over the riffs that make the base of the songs. Add to that the fact Eric’s voice only continues to improve, as he gets older.
The track that uses all of this to the best effect is “Reach For The Skies.” Eric sings about striving to succeed and his voice builds the tension as he imparts a little growl into his vocals just before the tone drenched electric guitar solo takes center stage over the base riff of the song. “Here I Go” thickens up the picked riff with some organ work between Eric’s vocals until he once again rips into the electric solo. The one exception to this formula is the entirely acoustic “Sepulveda.”
More than five tracks written in this style would have made for a repetitive album. However, The California Sessions is a just the right length and we should all be happy that Eric took the time to document his experience in California with this unique collection of tracks.
The Review: 7.5/10
The Big Hit
– Reach For The Skies
Review by Kevin O’Rourke