Erik Balkey – While The Paint Dries
Hudson Harding Music 2004
Listen while reading:
Erik Balkey is a singer-songwriter and folk artist from Haddon Heights, NJ, I found via cdbaby. I must admit that I have not heard of him before. Among making music and writing custom songs he also paints houses – just to mention it for the link to the cover artwork and the title of the album: While The Paint Dries.
If you think of the characteristics of folk releases you might have noticed that it is a commonplace to use your real name as an artist name and to put a photo of yourself – in any way – up as the cover artwork. I can think of many reasons why this is a good thing – mostly, I think, because the intimacy of folk music and the connection between the listener and the creator of the music is tightened.
Ok, this said I also think that you can see what music you are dealing with by looking at the face of the person – or the person itself – related to the context it is put in.
Just remember for example Cancer and Delirium by J. Tillman – you know just by looking at the cover, that this is not the music to listen to with your family while drinking a nice pot of coffee in the morning.
But why I am saying this (and not just because it is hard for me to make it short)?. I think the cover artwork of While The Paint Dries represents the music in a very good way. The mood of the record is not a sad one. It often is reflective but you don’t get the feeling of being alone with dark thoughts and that there’s no way out of this situation. It’s the opposite here. Balkey’s clear and memorable voice, mostly accomplished by, you’ll guess it, acoustic guitar, sings about faith and the big or little problems surrounding us while facing the world. As you listen to him you can feel the smile he put on and you think that this guy surely is nothing else than a nice guy writing songs with nice melodies expressing his thoughts about god and the world in fine folk tunes.
I highly recommend to give While The Paint Dries a good listen – it really is a album to help you getting out of your bed and it reminds me a bit of Denison Witmer. But also consider the fact that this album is from 2004 and not the current release of Balkey. In a little E-Mail conversation I had with him, he stated that his newer recordings are much better. But because I just ordered one of his releases, it is up to you to find out (and maybe let me know about it). I myself will check out his other releases as soon as I can.