New Jersey Blues Hall of Famer Eryn’s new EP, “Lady E,” is a nod to the soulful sounds of the 1960s and ’70s R&B. PHOTO BY ESTELLE MASSRY
No doubt that Eryn, the youngest inductee of the New Jersey Blues Hall of Fame, is a massive, well-rooted talent who combines blues, jazz, rhythm & blues, rock and soul exceptionally well, but did you know she has a Broadway quality voice? I didn’t until I heard “The You Missing From Me” on her new EP “Lady E.” It’s also a Broadway quality song composed specifically for the Jersey Shore songstress by David Bryan, Tony winner for “Memphis” and co-founding keyboardist of Bon Jovi.
The six-song collection kicks off with the single, “Hallelujah You’re Gone,” a jubilant jive reminiscent of a Dan Penn song sung by Irma Thomas. The similar-sounding “Our Love Won’t Die” is Eryn’s sassy account of a strained relationship that flickers but still has a fire. I love the clever Allen Toussaint-like wordplay and charming horn arrangements reminiscent of him.
“Just Jump” is a soul-drenched nugget mined in the field of the great Rev. Al Green that immediately will convert fans of Susan Tedeschi to Eryn. Like “Our Love,” the fun song about the fear of beginning a new relationship after being hurt a few times was co-written with Eryn by former Spin Doctors guitarist Anthony Krizan and Cheryl DaVeiga, an ASCAP Foundation Award-winning songwriter from Florham Park.
For “Stranger In My House,” Eryn and collaborator Alice Leon of The Alice Project turn to gypsy jazz to tell the tale of a couple who has grown apart. In contrast, the closing Motown-like “Running Red Lights” ala “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” chronicles star-crossed lovers looking to connect. Singing in her highest register, Eryn would have had an even better track of this warm, rich number if she had used more of the organ that opens the soulful tune and less of overbearing strings.
Produced and mixed by Jack Daley (Lenny Kravitz, Joss Stone, Beyonce) and recorded by Joey DeMaio at his Shorefire Recording Studios in Long Branch, “Lady E” not only features one of Eryn’s best performances, but several by a who’s who of session and touring musicians. They include Daley on bass, drummer Glenn Patscha (Sheryl Crow, Roseanne Cash), saxophonist Steven Salcedo (Darlene Love, Little Steven), vocalist Layonne Holmes, who’s worked with Springsteen and Bon Jovi, and Jersey Shore guitar greats Marc Ribler, music director of Little Steven’s Disciples of Soul, and Eryn’s husband, Matt O’Ree, who, when not fronting his own amazing band, sits in with his wife’s backing unit, the Whiskey Devils (Eryn also is one of his backing vocalists). Both of the O’Rees’ bands will share the bill on Aug. 5 at the Long Branch Summer Concert Series in West End Park in Long Branch. She also will be touring Florida throughout July.
Bob Makin is the reporter for www.MyCentralJersey.com/entertainment and a former managing editor of The Aquarian Weekly, which launched this column in 1988. Contact him at email@example.com. And like Makin Waves at www.facebook.com/makinwavescolumn.