Northern California-born singer/songwriter Eric Lindell cranks out funky white boy R&B the way it used to sound back when Van Morrison sported a headful of tousled locks and cracked the occasional smile. With a sunny, shuffling mix of soul-testifying, clever lyrical turns, and plenty of warm, melted-butter horns, Lindell's vintage sound has earned him a solid name among a diverse audience of listeners during in the last decade.
A 1999 relocation to the New Orleans found the singer/guitarist/harp player carving out a niche for himself in the city's live music scene — no easy feat, particularly for a newcomer. He eventually teamed with some of the Crescent City's finest, including organ master Ivan Neville and members of funk/fusion ensemble Galactic.
Lindell released his debut Change In the Weather in 2006. Neville, Galactic's Stanton Moore, and Harold Brown (drummer for '70s band War), joined Lindell on the album.
Lindell's latest, Low On Cash, Rich In Love, doesn't alter that formula. However, Lindell remains a magnetic presence as both lyricist and bandleader. Lindell is joined on the album by a host of meaty soulman guitars, sultry Hammond organ fills, and an ace horn section.
The results sound like they could've just as well been recorded during the glory days of labels like Stax and Monument as the full session band sound envelops songs like the romantic "What I Got" and "Tried and True," (which finds Lindell leading a chiming Northern soul-style romp that recalls both Desmond Dekker and blue-eyed U.K. groups like the Hollies and Zombies), as well as the babymakin' slow jam "It's My Pleasure." Elsewhere, Lindell makes an up-tempo, guitar-driven jam out of street poet Gil Scott Heron's "Lady Day and John Coltrane."
It's blue-eyed soul with a heroic dose of Tabasco spice that reaffirms Lindell's good rep. —Michael Andrews
Eric Lindell performs at the Pour House (1977 Maybank Hwy., 843-571-4343) on Fri. Dec. 12 at 9 p.m. Tickets are $12 ($10 adv.). See www.ericlindellband.com for more.