“Rooms Full Of Gardens” EP Review From Pittsburgh Music Magazine

A special thank you goes out to PMM’s CEO Alan Welding. See PMM’s review below.

PMM

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

From The Studio To The Stage

The process of transforming studio recorded songs to the live setting is very expressive.  Part of you wants to replicate the songs in rehearsal and on stage, and the other part of you wants to let the song take form and breathe.  I think the key is that the listener should identify with both versions of the song: live and recorded.  The Room Full Of Gardens EP was written in my studio track by track.  The stems were taken to Yellow Couch Studio and completed.  So these songs actually have never been played by a band or group of players.  Interesting how different the recipe can be when writing songs.  Occasionally, songs are crafted in a live rehearsal environment and sometimes they take shape over the course of years.  The most important aspect is completion.  Ideas To Art is the concept of taking an idea and making it art. I try not to leave ideas hanging around.  I want to go through the A to Z process and finish a song so people can hear it and evoke emotion. Sometimes photographers take hundreds of photos to get that special one.

I’ve been using my iPhone to video record ideas and it’s been a very valuable tool.  I use reference comments on the video (guitar in tuned to open E, capo placed …etc) this way I can go back and see finger placement.  This is easier than going back to an audio recording and re-learning the progression.

Last night I had great session with some great players from Pittsburgh.  I am very excited about the prospects of this group. The intangibles are in place and versatility won’t be a problem. Below are a couple shots of Bruce on keys.  He had his first rehearsal with us last night.  It was great!  photo 2photo z

A Man With Three Names

I’m really excited about this song making the “Reverse The Sun” EP.  It was a late addition and was written and recorded very quickly on Christmas morning 2013.  Basically, the perspective is from a woman who is in a relationship with a gentleman with multiple personalities. Lyrics are below with a rough audio sample. Hope you dig.

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Update On The New EP by Rob Eldridge

Through the past few months I’ve clutched a unique instrument that has reciprocated the devotion generated through our relationship. The instrument was a Craigslist find. Stella was a brand of guitars owned by the Oscar Schmidt Company and was founded around 1899.  Notable users include Kurt Cobain (used one on the tune Polly), Ben Gibbard- Death Cab For Cutie and Lead Belly.  Stella was acquired by the Harmony Company in 1939. The brand was dissolved in 1974, and has since been reintroduced by M.B.T. International, who are now the Harmony Company’s corporate parent.

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I purchased a 1965 Stella for $60 bucks.  This guitar has a unique sound and through my research I learned that it’s often used as an old blues box.  I tuned mine in the open E tuning started to discover some amazing sounds when played with a finger-picking style.  I also added some slide techniques and immediately started to write a batch of songs.  The songs came quickly and the guitar sounded phenomenal mic’d up with a fairly low budget Rode NT1a.

I pulled out some old and new lyrics that I had lying around and started to arrange an acoustic based group of tunes.  I’ve always written songs in batches so to speak.  These collection of songs could best be described as very subtle and soft.  The arrangements were complex in nature but simple sounding.  I wanted to limit the tracks.  I set a goal to not go beyond 8-10 tracks and let the songs breathe.  All songs were tracked in my home studio. (Logic X – the drummer feature is amazing by the way).  When completing each song I started to create simple melodies to weave throughout.  I mostly compose melodies by humming or playing electric piano.  In the end I had 4 songs sitting at 80% completion mainly due to the fact that I made the personal promise to myself not to over edit by stacking tons of instrumentation/midi.

During this time I was communicating with Steven Foxbury at Yellow Couch Studios.  I knew in my heart that Steven was going to be part of this project.  Steven is a very talented musician, arranger, singer and mostly listener.  For me songs have to elicit emotions.  A simple vocal change or instrument choice can change the mood of a song.  He is very aware of this and understands where I was heading or where I went to get there.  I remember singing these songs and recall the feelings I had so I was adamant about maintaining the feel.  I trusted Steven and when we holed up in Yellow Couch Studio it all started to unfold.  There were magical moments that made us laugh, smile and understand.  The vocal arrangements took shape and became the fingerprint of the project.  So when you eventually get the chance to truly listen these songs the lyrics should hopefully place your ear in an uncommon space.

Usually when I dive into the recording process I don’t write new songs.  That hasn’t been the case recently.  I wrote and recorded 3 songs while mixing the other 4.  Two of these songs ended up on this EP.

I am really excited about the completion of this project called “Reverse The Sun”.  The songlist currently stands at:

Reverse The Sun, Man With Three Names, Reign Of Rain, Life’s Commercials, Feed The Wolf and White Off Rice.  I am really proud of the lyrical content on this EP.  I really believe that the dichotomy between the music and words gives the EP a quiet strength.

The EP will be mastered by Rueben Cohen, at Lurrsen Mastering in Hollywood CA.  He has mastered albums, singles and/or compilations for artists such as Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros, Incubus, Bruno Mars, Far East Movement, Skylar Grey, Snoop Dogg, Tyrese, Skylar Grey, Little Feat, Dev, Rob Zombie, Ingrid Michaelson, Marc Cohn, and Scott Weiland. Soundtracks include, Slumdog Millionaire, Pitch Perfect, Despicable Me 2, Disney’s Tangled and Cars 2, Across The Universe, Identity Thief, and Bridesmaids.  I am very thankful to my friend Jimmy Hoyson for making this contact a reality.  Jimmy is a very talented Producer/Engineer and is in high demand and has worked with artists such as Michael Jackson, Ben Harper, Sheryl Crow, James Taylor, Lou Reed, Goo Goo Dolls and many more!

Another Rough Cut Idea

down my neck with melted specks… comes days once new…words they come and often spew…i look for wood bearing bronze strings…to start the fire to reach candela….not too bad for an old fella…sip and sound and swoosh around….a cup of up and half full down…no time to share as i often do…the advice from me 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

your feelings are mine… and geostrategic…feeding my hungry and curing my sick…i sit in a chair and you in another…telling you tales of my heartsick brother…weight off the chest…the blankets inside…warming the wood is what you provide…for that i am grateful…better than dead…i’ll pass you the key to our joint owned stead…worried about… a certain vaccine…there is no disease.. there is no mean..some days it’s different…today its the same….pulled all together by the reign of rain..