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Album Review: Badlands
Eric Tingstad
Cover image of the album Badlands by Eric Tingstad
Eric Tingstad
2012 / Cheshire Records
50 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
About a month ago, I had the incredible pleasure and honor of hosting Eric Tingstad in a house concert here on the Oregon Coast. A few months prior to that, I reviewed Eric’s most-recent release, Mississippi, an album I dearly love. So, it was time to do some backtracking and find out what I’d been missing with some of his earlier solo releases. Fortunately(???), I had to drive down to the SF Bay Area and had lots of listening time. I took a whole tote bag of CDs with me, but Badlands and Tingstad’s earlier Southwest stayed in the CD player the whole trip. I can’t imagine a more perfect soundtrack for driving down the very hot, dry and brown I-5 corridor. What could have been a very boring drive zipped right by as I got lost in the music (but remained fully engaged at the wheel!).

On Badlands, Tingstad appears on acoustic, classical, electric, resonator, 12-string, lap steel and pedal steel guitars. A fairly large group of guest artists provide back-up on a wide variety of instruments that include more guitars, bass, drums, violin, organ, voice, English horn, oboe, and trumpet. In the liner notes, Tingstad says, “Ambient Americana - Music grounded in relationship with the environment creating a peaceful and reflective atmosphere that honors the traditions of American roots music and Western culture.” That’s an excellent description of the album overall, but still doesn’t prepare you for the addictive quality of the music. Not quite country or folk, sometimes bordering on rock, the music is traditional and contemporary at the same time. Tingstad has researched, traveled, and played “roots” music to get to the heart of it and presents an amazing assortment of musical “goodies” to share the wealth and spread the word. The twelve tracks include eleven Tingstad originals and a wonderful instrumental cover of Roy Orbison’s classic heartbreaker, “Crying.” I really can’t pick any favorites because every track is that good.

Eric Tingstad is a consummate artist, and Badlands is an amazing musical experience. Even though it wasn’t released in 2015, it will be one of my Favorites for the year since I missed it the first time around. It is available from erictingstad.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. I give Badlands my very highest recommendation!
August 3, 2015
This review has been tagged as:
Guitar music
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