A gentle and languid laid-back album that should leave you mellow and stress-free.
Mississippi-based singer-songwriter Eric Stracener is back with the release of a new album in the shape of the neatly formed ‘Ocean Springs’. His previous releases also included a couple of efforts with The Frustrations but as with his 2020 release ‘Sockeye’, this is a solo project, though he is supported in fine style by Will Kimbrough and the Grammy-nominated Neilson Hubbard, while all 10 songs are Stracener original compositions.
Mellow is the word that most comes to mind when describing the overall feel of ‘Ocean Springs’ and the album kicks off in that vein with ‘Thanksgiving Waltz’ before moving to the slightly darker ‘Horn Island Blues’. There’s a generally reflective theme that runs through this release, drawing as it does on imagery of the southern landscape, its language and its culture with a sprinkling of lovelorn pathos thrown in for good measure on tracks like ‘Love is Hell’.
‘Ocean Springs’ jumps straight into that smooth, rich groove from the first few opening bars and never really leaves it until the fade-out on the last track ‘Wisdom of the Beasts’ and while it never reaches great heights, neither does it plunge into the depths with inane fillers. There are no bad songs among the 10 tracks with the highlights being ‘Out The Window’ the title track ‘Ocean Springs’ and the aforementioned opening song ‘Thanksgiving Waltz’ but the whole album is easy to listen to, conjuring up as it does those southern vistas, tales of loves lost and loves never gained. While it doesn’t break any new musical ground, it’s still a solid piece of work.