For the past couple of days, I’ve been listening exclusively to local singer-songwriter Eric Tollefson’s new album, “The Polar Ends,” in my car. Adding up the short drives and long cross-town trips, I’ve probably made it all the way through the record four or five times.
Mind you, I finished writing this week’s cover story about Tollefson on Tuesday, so these most recent listens have been free and easy, unburdened by the need to listen with a critical and analytical ear. In other words, I’ve just been listening for fun, not as prep for the story.
My conclusion: This thing has a bunch of great songs on it. And boy does it sound good.
On Thursday, Tollefson will play his official album-release show at McMenamins Old St. Francis School. A couple weeks ago, he and I chatted about all kinds of stuff — writing songs, making the record, pressure, nerves, his upcoming relocation to Seattle to try to make it in a bigger pond. Here’s an excerpt:
How the big pond treats him remains to be seen. Not that it matters much.
“If the wheels fall off and people don’t respond to anything I do, I’m still going to write songs every day,” Tollefson said. “There’s just nothing in my life that makes me happier.”
What matters, truly, is Tollefson’s attitude, his approach to music, and how he feels about his work.
“Be a student of music and the industry. Represent yourself the right way and work hard,” he said. “If you’re going to approach something big, you’ve got to do something bigger than you.
“If this record was just me, I don’t think it would come off the same,” he continued. “I wanted it to sound bigger than something I was capable of. And I think, at least, I achieved that.”
Eric’s a solid dude who made a solid album, and I think you should read the whole article.
Elsewhere in this week’s music section: local singer-songwriter Jackie Barrett’s new album, plus The California Guitar Trio and Montreal Guitar Trio, Keola Beamer, Mann, Betty and the Boy, Polecat, A.M. Interstate, Sara Jackson-Holman, a Last Band Standing update and more.