A special thank you goes out to PMM’s CEO Alan Welding. See PMM’s review below.
Rob Eldridge may be a transplant from Vermont to the Pittsburgh area, but he has the roots of rock n’ roll that translate so universally to this area and beyond. His influences clearly lie rooted in classic and folk rock, but they extend outward into modern thoroughfare quite effortlessly. Eldridge has been pumping out creative work like a prolific Stephen King, but with mad blues guitar skills. His full band Steelesque has been making a heavy mark on the music circuit in Pittsburgh lately, but his experience reaches back to The Springheeled Jacks who tore it up in the Northeast.
Eldridge takes his talent for a spin on his own this time with an EP entitled “Rooms Full Of Gardens”. Aptly titled since there are so many varieties for the senses to sample on this mellow mix of trippy tunes that drip like syrup and pulse with the purpose of 4/20. Beginning with “Reign of Reign”, it is clear that Eldridge spent considerable time working on the blend of instrumentation and the significance of the lyrics, “the advice from me is arrowed to you-the tension of bow the sky so blue-some days so different-the weeks the same-pulled all together-by the reign of rain”. Following up with “Life’s Commercials”, Eldridge shows a different side of his work by juxtaposing the folk-blues with a drum tracking that is purposefully ‘machinist’. The double tracking of vocals and throwback chorus atmosphere is an excellent commentary on the modern world, “frequencies and dials and transistors radios- government satellites and corporate videos I have no TV set at all cos I make call yea I make the call”. The third track, “Reverse The Sun”, takes these elements much further and is a stellar track reminiscent of Brad (Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam’s side band). The tempo, phrasing, and wording come together with a destined combination giving textures of afternoons on vacation, stoned couch philosophy, and chilling with your favorite adult beverage. Eldridge spins the yarn again, “got life behind us- got living ahead- but what’s within us- we’ll take to our beds- you seem so lost- so what’s the rush- may be the only way – that we’ll find us- no need for power- when it’s paired with fear- guess that’s just the way that it’s flowing- you know some trails are best made- on our cheeks by our tears,” giving us insight and relation to our own personal lives, touching us where it matters most: mentally and emotionally. The tale of a woman falling in love with a man with multiple personalities fleshes out the structure of “A Man With Three Names”, “I found out – that I love you three times— it’s gotta mean something right?” There’s a bit of humor and compassion that throws hints to psychedelic undertones and Doors/Manzarek-like playfulness to accent with a tongue in cheek attitude. It’s this type of wistfulness that is a pleasant surprise to Eldridge’s lyrical work here as it works with the music back and forth like a sumptuous food and wine pairing rather than just an icing on a cake. ”Feed The Wolf” follows up with one of the most upbeat tracks with hints of Elliot Smith and Nick Drake influences, intended or not. The vocal layering that ensues produces a solid song that has a great drum track that guides the listeners ears to subtle lines like, “I’m considered rich with my wants being cheap,” providing some chew-able chunks to ponder. The closer of the EP, “White Off Rice” has the raconteur in Eldridge tell us of a miner and his pocket full of gold, “no urge to discern life’s tempting spice- but a knock at the door can scare the white- right off rice”. Here Eldridge culminates in a down on the bog rock tune with cryptic lyrical content rich with double entendre abounding over a juicy rhythm and sparse guitar that accentuates like a well placed spice.
Clearly this has been a passion project for Eldridge that he poured his heart, soul, and mind fully into so that the disc spilleth over with his recognizable signature styling. While his full band Steelesque offers more of a Stones/Faces ripping blues rawness, his solo piece is a more refined showing of an artist who knows when to put the shine on and when to let the frays lay open. ”Rooms Full Of Gardens” scores highest honors for being an honest yet refined sample of his work in various vignettes of style. The EP plays like a storybook of life’s wanderings, the people we encounter along the way, and the affect it has upon the soul. With each effort Eldridge gets more interesting as he opens up his Pandora’s box of ideas and tales. Hopefully his restless spirit will keep spitting out gems like this as often as possible.
Read more here – PMM