Live Review: Eric Bolton

Livestream Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

Contact: [email protected]

Website: ericbolton.ca

Players: Eric Bolton, vocals, guitar

Material: On the heels of his new release, Here Between, acoustic artist, Eric Bolton, offered up an intimate evening of music and soul-baring. Though he is grappling to understand himself in relation to the world and relationships, he is still filled with optimism and good will vis-à-vis the future.
Earlier in the set, Bolton describes what a perfect world would look like if he could shape it to fit his vision: I got tired of dreaming/Dreams have been my only guarantee/Come in my door and making me believe. In “You,” Bolton struggles with the lack of support and disconcerting messages he received when he came out as a gay man. In free-form style he shares those feelings: You were there/I never saw you/… I only wanted to be real/ I only wanted you/I didn’t want to only feel a life I’m made to lose. “Neon Soul,” gives us an up-tempo, spirited song, with unexpected chord changes. Ending the set with one final question, in “Lessons in Love,” the still ever-hopeful, Bolton asks: Love is the cure for so much on this earth/Yeah, the pain it could replace/But what of the time from your world to mine/Can love still fill that space/? In flowing 6/8 time, a rhythmic departure from previous numbers, the melody for this one will stick in your memory.

Musicianship: Vocally, this artist has been compared to singers like Michael Stipe and Chris Cornell, immediately evident given the timbre of his voice, which is warm and rich in tone. He is fluent on the guitar and provides good backing accompaniment, which is necessary since this is his entire instrumental foundation.

Performance: Bolton’s mild-mannered persona tracks with his song style, never hitting you over the head with his point of view or personal convictions. Bolton provided an in-depth backstory for every song in addition to letting us in on his writing process. In this setting, it added dimension to songs that might otherwise remain cryptic to the listener. Given that there is one lone instrument and one voice throughout, cutting down the set slightly would have further strengthened the show while preserving its intimacy.

Summary: Eric Bolton is a thoughtful songwriter who is not afraid to explore his deeper emotions. He approaches them head on, sometimes in a song style that is less structured, but always with an eye to greater self-understanding. Tightening up the show by reducing its length would have made for an even stronger performance.
– Ellen Woloshin