Here’s the latest release from Minnesota-based singer-songwriter Eli Gardiner. ‘Black Crow’ is a moody piece that grows, emerging slowly and steadily, layer by instrumental layer, leaving us feeling immersed in the soundscape Gardiner and his band create. Dan Schwartz’s electric guitar is particularly striking, swirling effects and prolonged notes adding to the song’s sense of foreboding. Over Nick Salisbury’s smooth bass and Greg Schutte’s shimmering and rumbling percussion, there are fast flourishes of keys from Kevin Gamble and Gardiner sings of loss with genuine vulnerability. Gardiner’s repeating riffs and the building sounds are hypnotic and the listener quickly becomes absorbed. It’s two minutes in before the vocals begin but the instrumental intro’ is so compelling, this time disappears. Then, ‘Black Crow’ becomes increasingly urgent, a rich, full sound that surges towards a dramatic conclusion.
‘Black Crow’ is from Gardiner’s brand new album ‘Live in Minneapolis’, which has just been released. This fine collection of songs was recorded live at Aster Cafe. It features some previously unreleased compositions, a selection of songs from his last album, 2020’s ‘The Fire and The Medicine’, and songs that take us right back to Gardiner’s early career, twenty years ago. Old and new, the songs are powerful and atmospheric and benefit from having the full-band treatment. Having previously performed solo and as a duo, Gardiner has put together a talented group of collaborators for his sixth album and the result is a set of songs with real depth and texture. Lose yourself in this and then check out the album.