Musically sprouted from the blend of American folk, country, rock-n-roll, and blues, Erik Koskinen and his top-shelf band realize a sound that is distinctive and fresh while familiar and classic. Koskinen’s albums are a lyrical and musical metaphor of American’s theaters of war, of history, of relationships, and of the reflections in the mirror. Knowing but not didactic, Koskinen channels the ways of Whitman and reverently enters the anthology of uniquely crafted wry songs with the likes of Woody Guthrie and Ry Cooder while speaking as plainly as your neighbor.
The release of Koskinen’s latest EP, Cruising Paradise, coincides with Black Friday—Record Store Day, November 24, 2017. The EP includes six songs, “Broke Down,” “Free Man,” “On Christmas Day,” Red Dress Girl,” “Big Machine,” and “Cruising Paradise the Long Way Around.” All songs were mixed and mastered at Real-Phonic Studios, except “Red Dress Girl,” which was recorded at Master Mix by Tom Garneau. Garneau also recorded “Broke Down” at Real-Phonic Studios. Michael Rossetto added musical direction to “Free Man.” Guitarists Mike LeBeau and Paul Bergen, bassist Steve Garrington, and drummer JT Bates assist on “Broke Down”. “Red Dress Girl” features Frankie Lee on organ, Liz Draper on upright bass, and Jeremy Johnson on drums. Otherwise Erik Koskinen performs all music.
About his inspiration for the new EP, Koskinen shared, “I’ve been working on all kinds of projects the past few years and have written a lot of new songs. But these six seemed to have a thread all the way through, a story from song one to song six.” The title, he said, was an homage to Sam Shepard, the actor and writer who died earlier this year. “Shepard’s death is a significant loss to me. This has been a year where we’ve lost giants. Pioneers in literature and music are gone. Who’s gonna step up and fill the vacuum?”
Cruising Paradise follows Koskinen’s first three albums, America Theatre, Live At the Real Phonic Radio Hour, and Keep It to Yourself. The EP will be available at the Electric Fetus in Minneapolis and Duluth, other fine record stores, online, at streaming sites, and for digital download.
From the moment I first stepped on stage I was hooked, there was no going back, I sold everything I had and promptly dropped out of college in the year 2006. I spent the next six years more or less on the road with nothing to my name but a backpack and a martin guitar. I hitchhiked all across the north and south west, entertained the life of an ex-patriot while spending a year in Spain and Italy, slept under the stars on blue beaches, traded songs for dollar bills, loitered on countless street corners from San Francisco to New York, and mostly did a whole lot walking.