An album to redefine modern country, Eric Harrison’s Gratitude blends his experience with relatable, poetic lyrics and rich soundscapes.
New Jersey-based singer-songwriter Eric Harrison has been crafting an iconic Americana sound for over three decades, earning him comparisons to folk legends like Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Elvis Costello. Harrison’s fourth studio album spares no expense sonically and marries warm, heartfelt lyrics with a production that almost feels like an iconic film score.
The songwriter said gratitude was obviously the strongest sentiment and theme throughout the course of the album, putting it simply: “I’m lucky to be alive and making music, lucky to have an audience to share it with. And the madness that followed in 2020 only heightens that gratitude… How nuts would we be without music right now?”
Stylistically, Gratitude takes a very considered look at modern country and American music as a whole, particularly following the turmoil that artists have had to endure this year. Harrison had spent 2020 actively gigging throughout March and, once the pandemic hit, he found himself performing weekly Facebook Live shows from his front porch. The artist and his band assured fans that the minute live gigs resume, they will play and play “until desperate club owners or frostbite drives us home”
Following Harrison’s third album, Mercy Road, he felt defeated and in a dead spot creatively, following the sudden passing of his long time collaborator and producer Eric Kvortek. His most recently album Gratitude talks of moving on with life, accepting the good in each day, and making space for normality.
The instrumentation of the album is rich with layers of strings, brass, and keys harmonising together that build these soft, contemplative songs. Building to an almost orchestral climax, each track perfectly props up the artist’s voice, allowing him to tell his beautiful stories in a big way. All the songs on Gratitude were written during the week Harrison spent on the Jersey Shore, alone with just his acoustic guitar and a notepad.
Some standout tracks include Adrian, a jangling, horn-infused ode to a sidelined artist who is looking for the spark she has been eluded by. It draws upon the sounds of the ’70s records found in Laurel Canyon, and even reminds me of our beloved Paul Kelly, a little closer to home.
A Home Is Not A Hologram is one of the most stripped back songs on the album, taking an emotional look at what it means to build a home and that it can’t be a forced feeling. The song, a duet between Harrison’s voice and an acoustic guitar, slowly builds as the strings play behind him and a soft tambourine enters to take you to your own vision of home.
“A home is not a hologram,” the artist sings. “A sorry shack on a plot of land is worth more now than any prayer or price. We’ve got steel and wood and wire to forge a life out of tears and fire. Something real is always worth a fight. And a hologram is just a trick of light.”
Gratitude marks a new era in Harrison’s artistic journey, achieving a brightness and sonic depth well-suited to its 10 life-affirming new tracks. The album borders between singer-songwriter textures and the tuneful indie rock of left-of-the-dial stalwarts like The Replacements.
Stream the album below: