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CD REVIEW: Eric Jackson – Panoramic Future View
By Chip Withrow - 03/11/2006 - 03:09 PM EST

Artist: Eric Jackson
Album: Panoramic Future View
CD Review: Like Eric Jackson, I am a recent transplant to southwest Florida – with the exception of the Keys, we’re about as far south as you can go. We come for the weather, not the money (I’ve never met him, but I bet Eric, a fellow teacher, understands).

And therefore I know that down here, adventurous music fans have to get their new and unusual music from the Internet or satellite (or by becoming a reviewer); you probably won’t find what Eric is doing on local radio, and that’s a shame. This inspired keyboard-centric five-song EP veers toward the Bruce Hornsby/Ben Folds style of jazz pop, then twists and turns in many other cool directions.

The first cut, “Open Road,” is arresting. It starts with uniquely-syncopated, pounding piano that inspired me to try out my old hippie shimmying (with no one watching, I hope).

The chorus of “Panoramic Future View” is close to anthemic, and the song also has a funky bridge and piano solo that bring to mind Blood, Sweat, and Tears. “The Same” also has a powerful chorus; it’s a sweet, close-to-pop ballad accented by Shawn Yeager’s eerily echoing guitar.

Eric shows his keyboard chops best on “You Were Wrong.” As a kiss-off song, I rate this right up there with Billy Joel’s “Big Shot.” Eric has a gift for placing unusual and effective bridges and breaks in his songs – this one nicely counters the urgency of the rest of the tune.

The disc closes (too soon) with the aching “Nameless.” Eric’s has a nice range as a vocalist, and the minimal accompaniment here allows you to notice his singing.

In my reviewer bio, I write that mainly I listen to folk and roots music, so I get a lot of discs in those genres sent my way. But I’m glad Eric sent me this EP, and I’m happy I gave it a listen. Eric Jackson reminded me that my first real musical hero was Elton John, and that sophisticated singer/songwriters of any style are worth checking out.

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