By Phillip Smith
Craig Erickson never ceases to amaze me. Rare Tracks (Volume Two), the second installment of previously unreleased nuggets from his secret stash, unleashes fourteen new pieces of ear-candy to be happily enjoyed. With the exception of one track, all are originals. As well as writing, Erickson takes on the responsibility of playing all the instruments, and belting out all the vocals as well. Erickson gives us a full one hundred percent.
Leading off with a short spacey track just over a minute long in length, ‘Deep Blue Circles’ seems to be more of an intro for the song following it, ‘Heavy Stuff’, about the necessity of having to escape everyday life once in a while. This track has a nice little funky rhythm slathered with a thick coating of heavy fuzzy bass.
Few people can cover Jimi Hendrix, make it their own, and make it sound good to boot. Erickson is one of those few. Not quite a cover, but rather an adaptation, ‘Purple Haze (The Trip)’ is the only track not completely written by Erickson. I love the subtle keyboard accompaniment on this, and how it sets a soft jazzy stage from which to launch an amazing crescendo of six-string energy.
The instrumental, ‘Make it Through’ is amazing and beautiful. I love how at ease and full of peace I am when listening to it. Erickson’s expressiveness shines through brightly. Erickson gets funky on ‘Midnight Flight (Reprise)’, a very short track clocking in at just over a minute and a half. The only thing wrong with this track is that it is way too short.