John Eddie has been one of the most popular artists in New Jersey ever since he left Richmond, VA for the Jersey Shore in the ‘80s. He released two albums on Columbia, and had the hit “Jungle Boy,” but could never shake the hype surrounding him as the “Next Springsteen.” Nevertheless, he kept on plugging away, year after year, performing to “The Faithful” in packed rooms.
Many long-time fans were completely unprepared for Who The Hell Is John Eddie? Not only was it surprising to find John once again signed to a major label, but his return came with his most complete, and most mature, album to date.
Somewhere between the release of his debut and Who The Hell Is John Eddie? he learned to go with his gut and write songs that leaned more towards country-rock than the pure rock and roll of his first albums. The end result is a collection of songs that sound more natural to his voice.
The album deals with the struggles of a musician entering middle-age (“Forty”); playing shitty gigs on the road (“Play Some Skynyrd”); recognizing that everybody is struggling to get through the work week with dreams that are dying (“Nobody’s Happy”); being part of adult relationships (“Place You Go”); and being on the wrong end of so many failed relationships that you just want to hear the truth and get it over (“Let Me Down Hard”). This is the adult version of the songwriter that once spun tales of kids who were just starting out and dreaming. Decades of touring the country led John to see where those dreams usually wind up. While this album isn’t optimistic, it’s not very pessimistic either. It’s just honest. It’s the cold, hard truth, so to speak.
Highlights include the wonderful “Jesus Is Coming,” “Let Me Down Hard,” “Forty,” “Play Some Skynyrd,” and “If You’re Here When I Get Back.”
From the book Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists
by Gary Wien