Eric Michael Jones is the type of artist you want to have a beer with. His music is laid back, intelligent and funny; part Jimmy Buffett, part Men at Work, with some John Prine thrown in for good measure.
He writes lyrics from the perspective of an everyday guy who’s just trying to get through the day, make ends meet, find love and have a little fun along the way.
The peculiar song 'Wack Synapse' is about the strange thoughts that everyone likely has but might be unwilling to admit to, much less address. It’s the type of self-indulgent song that a guy could listen to while cruising the freeway on a sunny Saturday afternoon — a song about coming to terms with who you are, with no apologies.
'Fight War' is as close to an anthem as you’ll get from a singer-songwriter. With it’s references to first-person shooter games and Vietnam, it’s as relevant today as anything Buffet or Dylan would have written back in the day. This is a true protest song for the Twitter nation.. "Give me a bong and Playstation - Some dirty Japanese animation - Hell yes... I can build you a nation - Let me fight war". Such great lines have made the song omnipresent on Neil Young's website "Living With War Today".
Jones makes the move from rock/folk star to storyteller on 'I’m Not Country', a moving, well-written song about growing up in America today. Our roots might be grounded solidly in Americana, but we don’t embrace it, no matter how badly we want to. Next time around, maybe.
'Teens in the Suburbs' perfectly captures the essence of the frustration felt by millions of bored, lonely teenagers in modern America. “I’m living under house arrest,” Jones sings. “I just wanna be cool.” With shadings of The Who and Eric Carmen, it’s a true-to-life depiction of what it’s like to grow up in a seemingly soulless suburban wasteland.
'Stripmine' is a haunting coming-of-age melodrama with some of the best lyrical imagery we've heard in years. Do we always become our parents when we get older? The guitar vs. fiddle dual at the end is epic.
Though occasionally drifting into sleepy, quirky self indulgence, Jones snaps out of it and really delivers the rockabilly fun with 'I Never Cheated on You'. With lines like “I never cheated on you, I'm not that dumb … but the night’s still young,” it should be a radio hit and is some of the strongest music he has produced so far.
Eric Michael Jones shines brightest, though, on 'Crushed Velvet Man'. It’s solidly written, great storytelling. The chugging Detroit sound, the Iggy Pop reference, the MC5, even Ted Nugent and Bob Seger… really cool lyrics and part of a genuine rock'n'roll subculture tradition of songs. The vocal delivery reminds me of Mike Love on Do You Remember? by the Beach Boys.
All in all, Eric Michael Jones delivers. He’s the type of guy you’d hope to see playing a seaside dive late at night. The type of singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett might pay to see… laid back, smart and funny.