Pin It
Favorite

Working Man 

Eric Tollefson won’t give up

click to enlarge art19140.jpg

The scratchy, aged tone of blues crooner Eric Tollefson is not one that comes without determination — or experience. Where many other blues performers fall flat after a strong start, Tollefson has managed to pull off the opposite maneuver.

Tollefson, who most recently hails from Bend, Oregon, is actually from Juneau, Alaska. In case you don’t know where that is, I looked it up. It’s in that tiny part of southern Alaska that should basically be Canada.

So when you see the cover of Tollefson’s sophomore record, The Polar Ends, you know that the polar bear isn’t an empty reference. This dude knows what it’s like to be cold.

Even the title of the album seems like a thinly veiled reference to Tollefson’s frozen past, though he may not entirely admit it. “I feel like the record displays a varied range of emotional stances,” Tollefson tells me over the phone. It was exactly the explanation I was expecting, though I didn’t want to believe it.

The record, an staunch improvement over his previous effort The Sum of Parts, at times seems to be a reconnection with a string of roots that bizarrely escaped him in previous music. The Polar Ends succeeds in many places where The Sum of Parts fumbled, mostly in the humanity department.

“I just wanted to get down and make another record,” Tollefson plainly recounted when asked the story behind The Polar Ends. It’s the response of an honest man who knows he can do better. “It wasn’t my finest work, and I wanted to improve upon it,” he adds.

So you can’t blame him for wanting to make this one count, and he spared no expense collecting a team of various friends, pros and session musicians when planning his new sound. Tollefson went as far as hiring pseudo-famous pedal steel guitar player Eric Heywood (Ray Lamontagne, Son Volt) to get the twang just right.

What this says to me is that one quality Tollefson is certainly not lacking is determination. Many people might say the same thing about particularly pesky street musicians, with any and all implications, but something about Tollefson is different: He’s not just determined to be heard. He’s determined to get better. 

Eric Tollefson • Thurs, April 11, at 8 pm • Zola • 22 W. Main Ave. • $5 • 21+ • 324-2416 • Also on Sat, April 13, at 9 pm • John’s Alley • 114 E. Sixth St., Moscow • 21+ • (208) 883-7662

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in Music

  • Rise and Fall
  • Rise and Fall

    With Volume kicking off, we check in with the people making the Spokane music scene flourish
    • May 27, 2015
  • No Peaceful Easy Feeling
  • No Peaceful Easy Feeling

    Why, according to this critic, millions of Eagles fans can be wrong
    • May 27, 2015
  • Volume is Back!
  • Volume is Back!

    Volume 2015 Inlander Music Festival: Everything you need to know, and suggested lineups for every musical taste
    • May 20, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
Volume: Inlander's Music Festival

Volume: Inlander's Music Festival @ Downtown Spokane

Fridays, Saturdays. Continues through May 30

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Jordan Satterfield

  • Just Listen
  • Just Listen

    A veteran of the Spokane music scene tells us why you should love your local tunes
    • Sep 17, 2014
  • Amplifier Worship
  • Amplifier Worship

    Japanese three-piece Boris may just be the loudest band you've ever heard
    • Aug 13, 2014
  • Ceaseless Rocker
  • Ceaseless Rocker

    Rich Robinson continues to create an impressive output even with the Black Crowes on hiatus
    • Jul 9, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Band to Watch 2015: LOOMER

    How two children of the nineties embraced the decade
    • May 20, 2015
  • Desert Rage

    Mad Max: Fury Road will restore your faith in action movies
    • May 13, 2015
  • More »

© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation