*The niche Eric Roberson has carved out for himself in the music business has been done by delivering a consistent stream of mature, relational, high-quality music and his latest offering The Box ups the ante. You feel as though you’re eavesdropping when listening to his music; the songs sounds like private conversations, set to music and taken from portions of your life that you were unable to articulate, but he’s seemed to have found the right words.
The Box is the conversation of a man informed by life’s experience, shaped by being a husband and father, but also a student of the world. It’s those observations that drive the album, elevating it beyond music to social documentation, as evidenced on “The Cycle” which features Pharoahe Monch. The duo explores the concept of generational curses and unhealthy cycles that create poor relationships or hinder growth. The exploration was already evident on “Pill”, which delves into the story of a man that can’t seem to completely commit to a woman, over a groove that’s more jook joint than boombox.
The recurring co-star throughout the album is the music; this time around Roberson’s expanded the live instrumentation to broaden his sound, the horns punctuate the lyrics and the strings tell their own stories. The effort to create a more musical album was focused from the beginning and is probably best displayed on “Mark on Me”, the first single and a song that has enough musical elements to drive Pandora crazy, as it is the result of the various elements Eric Roberson enjoyed growing up in New Jersey. It was growing up in the shadows of New York’s skyscrapers that helped to smooth the edges of Roberson’s musical tastes; the exposure to a menagerie of sounds all created the music of his mind. The ability to take those influences and create an album with such range is a talent in itself and the sort of thing Roberson has parlayed into Grammy nominations and critical acclaim, while being an independent artist.
His status at the forefront of the Indie Soul movement aside, the amount of energy Roberson puts into each project gives the impression that he starts from scratch each time out. The team at Blue Erro Soul works each new album as if he’s a new artist, with grassroots campaigns and promo tours in his strongest markets, because they’ve come to understand the marketplace better than the major label system. Roberson and his staff have identified that music lovers truly want to be challenged by consistency and maturation, but they want it packaged in a way they feel connected with. That’s what he does best; he connects with listeners with relatable subject matter and live shows that are highly-interactive and fun to attend.
The Box is fun, yet thought-provoking and relaxed in a manner that singing alongside your father and having an appearance by your son seem commonplace (“Do the Same for Me”) or the harmonies of KING (“Just Imagine”) seem perfectly placed. That’s because Eric Roberson is our next-door neighbor who happens to make music and create something for the radio (or not), but it’s not only what we want to hear, it’s the soundtrack to our lives.
Purchase Eric Roberson’s The Box via iTunes and wherever great music is sold. Also, visit www.EricRobersonMusic.com to catch up on his catalog, stay current on tour dates and social media links.
Eric Roberson is also on tour. The 2014 The Box tour itenerary includes:
Aug 13 Chicago, IL – Chicago Winery
Aug 14 New York, NY – BB Kings
Aug 15 Washington, DC – Howard Theatre
Aug 16 Washington, DC – Howard Theatre
Aug 17 Philadelphia, PA – World Cafe
Aug 21 Columbia, SC – Speakeasy
Aug 22 Atlanta, GA – Center Stage
Aug 23 Birmingham, AL – Musiq Mall
Aug 24 Nashville, TN – Mercy Lounge
Aug 30 – Sep 1 Cancun Jazz Festival
Sep 5-7 Florida
Sept 8 – Revolt TV Performance – La Marina NYC
Sep 12 Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage
Sep 13 Mt Holly, NJ – Fire House Cafe
Sep 24 St. Louis, MO – Plush
Sep 25 Indianapolis, IN
Sep 26 Columbus, OH – Park Street Saloon
Sep 27 Detroit, MI
Oct 03 Portland, OR
Oct 08 Seattle, WA
Oct 09 Seattle, WA
Oct 10 Oakland, CA – Yoshi’s
Oct 11 Oakland, CA – Yoshi’s
Oct 12 Los Angeles, CA – Conga Room