Kentucky singer-songwriter Eric Bolander looks back on where he’s been and forward to where he wants to go on Can’t Get There from Here. This takes form in both reflection on his own life, as well as in musings on society as a whole, to a mix of classical, folk and rock soundscapes.
Bolander teamed up with longtime collaborator Duane Lundy (Ringo Starr, Sturgill Simpson, Joe Pug) to co-produce the project. The two have worked together across multiple albums and bands, leading to an incredible amount of mutual trust – which only breathes further life into the songs.
The same can be said for seasoned bandmates Seth Murphy (cello) and Ben Caldwell (drums), whose precise musicianship help to further convey the wide array of influences in Bolander’s music.With them by his side Bolander moves from cello-driven folk on ‘I’ve Only Started’ and ‘Cold Men’ – a song looking at the plight of the Blackjewel coal mining bankruptcy in Eastern Kentucky – to hard-driving rock with ‘Beggin’ For Change’ and ‘Magic Moon.’
While both songs amp up the intensity, their subject matter couldn’t be any more different. With the addition of slick keys, a meaty electric guitar and a flurry of horns, Bolander muses about using the good inside you to make the outside world a better place on ‘Beggin’ For Change.’ That sentiment continues on the cosmic ‘Magic Moon’ as he sings about “just trying to live his whole life in search of hope.”
Examining what ails him, Bolander caps the album with a look at alcohol addiction on ‘Smooth Finish,’ a heartfelt duet with fellow Kentuckian Abby Hamilton. He reminisces about his youth on ‘Montgomery Hill’, a ballad about a gathering spot outside his hometown of Garrison, Kentucky, that holds many of his childhood memories.
However, with all the album’s reflection on self and society, Bolander admits that he doesn’t have all the answers on the helplessly upbeat ‘I Wonder’. He opens the song singing “I came into this world with wonder / It’ll stay with me ‘till I leave” before later observing that many people grow colder and lose their innocence as they age, exclaiming “Will it stay with you I wonder / Will it grow into the sun / I don’t have all the answers / Out here on the run.”
While Bolander’s humility shines throughout Can’t Get There from Here, what’s also evident is his blossoming talent. With the adept sense of place, sense of self and sense of the larger issues plaguing our society, Bolander has cemented himself as one of Kentucky and Appalachia’s top up-and-coming talents ready to take their message from the mountain hollers to bustling burghs and beyond.