When you think of female rock n’ rollers perhaps Joan Jett or Chrissie Hynde come to mind. Enter Columbus, OH-based Erica Blinn who is releasing her second album, Better Than Gold. Those two ladies, among many others, certainly forged a path but Blinn is far from an imitator. She has her own DIY style – one that packs plenty of punch and sensuality, bolstered by a dash of Americana and punctuated with a bit of blues-rock a la The J. Geils Band. A mechanic in her “day job,” Blinn is not afraid to get her hands dirty, so to speak.
Blinn is a singer-songwriter who wields both electric and acoustic guitars as well as beat-up harmonicas. She manages her own touring schedule, directs her own videos, and does the vehicle maintenance on her touring vehicles. She either penned or co-penned all 11 of these tunes, working with producer Mike Landolt (Maroon 5, Blues Traveler) but recorded in Nashville for the first time. She relocated to the musical hotbed of East Nashville in the Fall of 2015.Blinn says, “This album features a lot of the new friends we’ve made in Nashville, but the most special part for me was having my Dad in the studio. He came up with the bass part for ‘Suzie’ and drove down to Nashville to play it on the record.”
That song, “When I’m With Suzie (I Do What I Want)” came from a night out at a venue where a brown bag bottle of tequila was being passed around. As Blinn relates, “I was heading into the bathroom when I heard a guy say “Hey! When I’m with Suzie, I do what I want!’ I immediately went home and made up almost the whole song. Then I took what I had to my friend Callie Thompson and we tweaked some words and came up with the third verse.” The first single from the album, “Softer Side,” co-written with Will Newsome (guitarist on many tracks but not this one) is a bit of soul-rocker with an interesting aspect to the guitar riff by Wade Cofer that has a phase shifter effect most associated with ‘70s era country music. While most songs are guitar-driven, Blinn brings in a three-piece horn section for “Don’t you Be Lonely” and ‘Suzie,’ the latter of which has sharp guitar leads from Stephen Cooper.
Given that the album was recorded in two locations, there are multiple players, but the drummer, PJ Schreiner, is a constant presence throughout, even contributing to the artwork and layout.“Dance With the One (Who Brought You Here), “Little Rain,” and “Big Chief and the Medicine Man” feature Blinn’s harmonica and are raucous tunes that clearly epitomize Blinn’s rock n’ roll approach. She can bring it down a few notches too as on the ballad “Suitcases and Truck Stops.” She has a nice command of dynamics as exemplified by “Don’t You Be Lonely” which easily moves from ballad-like sections into some bouncy melodies, propelled by the horns.
Blinn is undoubtedly a rising roots-rocker to be reckoned with.