via RVA Mag
Eric Krasno has spent nearly 20 years in the music business and has since built up quite the resume. He's spent most of his career in jam/funk bands, playing guitar and co-founding the likes of jam band Lettuce and jazz/funk trio Soulive.
He's also gone behind the scenes to work as a songwriter and producer for Norah Jones, 50 Cent, Talib Kweli and other major musicians. He's even won a few Grammys and this summer, Krasno released his breakout solo album, Blood From A Stone, where he sings for the very first time.
We caught up with the Brooklyn-based musician ahead of his show at The Broadberry on Tuesday to discuss his latest endeavor, going solo, and touring as a lead vocalist as opposed to a guitarist in a band.
"It was pretty exciting, I've been singing mostly background, I've been writing songs for a long time so I would record my voice in the studio demoing songs for people and working with other artists so it was fun to start singing," said Krasno. "It's also really cool to get my songs out there and get it to a point where people are recognizing the songs, there's a certain rush to that that I really dig."
Initially, the majority of the tracks on Blood From A Stone, which dropped in July, were meant for other musicians to sing them.
"We were writing for Aaron Neville's album and I was also writing for Tedeschi Trucks so some of them are outtakes from those sessions," he said. "A lot of times we just do writing sessions and then figure out later who they're for."
The more he got into the process however, it turned out those songs were destined for Krasno.
"Some of these I just gravitated toward as far as singing and playing them," he said.
Blood From A Stone has a very bluesey, soulful vibe that is a drastic change from his loose and laid back jam and funk sound that has marked his career. It's heavily steeped in classic rock and R&B influences and hits on just about every genre, but it makes for a deep, passionate and eclectic record.
He recorded most the album at the end of 2012 in Portland, Maine in his friend and writing partner's studio, Dave Gutter of Rustic Overtones.
"He seemed like the right cohort for this album, he's a really great lyricist and song writer," he said.
Originally, the duo recorded what they thought then were going to be demos in Gutter's barn in Maine and it turned out to be the heart of the album.
"We ended up getting really creative in there partly because we weren't in an expensive studio where we were on the clock, we were just kind of having fun so we got to experiment with the sound," he said.
The ten-track album draws on many personal experiences for Krasno with emotional standout tracks such as "Torture" and "Jezebel".
"There's a lot of break up songs on there, there was definitely a relationship ending at that time for both myself and Dave," Krasno said. "The whole 'Blood From A Stone' concept was it wasn't really expected that I would make a record, that I would sing. Originally, I was going to have other singers sing on the record."
But once he started writing, Krasno said he felt a connection with the songs and wanted to let his voice he heard.
"Like getting blood from a stone, I didn't expect it so that was the idea," he said. "Once I started to own that idea, it felt right."
Krasno has several guest musicians featured on the album including Alecia Chakour on "Wicked This Way" and Derek Trucks, award-winning guitarist of Derek Trucks Band, appears on the track "Curse Lifter," a psychedelic instrumental song that gives off a '70s feel.
"We've been friends since 1999, our first Soulive tour that we did was with the Derek Trucks Band, I've written a lot of songs for his records and I was in his band for a while so it just made sense," said Krasno of the collaboration. "When I wrote that song I was kind of thinking about Santana and the Allman Brothers, that Latin-Rock early 70s vibe."
A 70s vibe indeed creeps into this album especially on "Waiting on Your Love". Krasno said that Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters, were also influential in the writing process.
"We were definitely trying to take it to a psychedelic place, but also make it kind of modern," he said.
Krasno has released an instrumental solo album, but this will his breakout album performing nearly all of the vocals and all of the songs. He kicks off his tour in Richmond which will take him all over the country until November.
"We're doing a bunch in the Southeast, Raleigh, Durham, Ashville, North Carolina, then we go toward Chicago and Ohio and loop back around to DC and back up to the northeast," he said.
As far as being on the road, the multi-talented musician said it's been a bit of an adjustment switching gears from guitarist, which he's spent the bulk of his career playing, to lead vocalist.
"I'm working on it a bit, it's a progression just like it was in the early days of playing guitar, everyday a little bit better. I keep getting stronger with it, its been a great experience."
And although he's built a steadfast and wide fanbase from Lettuce and Soulive, Krasno said the fans have had a positive response to his new music especially at the live shows.
"People have been really into it, people like it. The response has really great," he said.
Now that he's been a producer, songwriter, guitarist, and singer, you'd think that Krasno's heart would belong to one over the other, but he said he likes them all.
"I like all of it for different reasons, now it's just working toward creating a balance so I can do it all," he said. "I think that's been my blessing and my curse is that I love different styles of music and all the aspects of making it from recording it to performing it so I like to do it all. If I can tour for eights months a year then spend the rest of the time writing and recording than I'm a happy man."
With a new solo album and new tour, you'd think that would more than enough to keep a musician busy, but not for Krasno. He's got a few other tricks up his sleeve.
"I'm already working on the next album, I've been working with a guy named Allen Stone on the new record, and we have a Soulive record in the works with the producer of Pretty Lights that will come out next year."
You can catch Eric Krasno and his band at The Broadberry tomorrow, Tues. Oct. 18 along with Marco Benevento. Doors open at 7pm, tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.
Words by Amy David