Mike Ragogna: Eric, you’re mostly known as a Grammy-award winning artist who produces, composes and plays innovative guitar. However, your new album Blood From A Stone features your vocals for the first time. How do you think you did? Which vocals are you most proud of?
Eric Krasno: I really love how the vocals turned out. My main goal was to deliver the songs with as much honesty and conviction as I could. I think the vocals on “When The Day Comes” were my strongest. I recorded this one toward the end of the album process after I’d been working on my singing a bit more. I’m no Stevie Wonder, but I think we put together some great vocal performances. I’m excited to record the next album now and get even deeper into the vocal side of my work.
MR: Was this collection of songs created specifically for this album or are any of them songs you and co-writer David Gutter stockpiled from other writing adventures?
EK: Most of the time we were just recording and writing without an exact purpose. Sometimes after the song was done we’d say, “This one would be great for Susan [Tedeschi] or imagine Aaron Neville singing this!” In certain cases that actually happened. We’d also have moments like, “Oh yeah, this one is for your record [EK]”
MR: How do you and David write together?
EK: It’s slightly different every time. Sometimes I send him an instrumental with a melody, maybe with a hook idea and he’ll write verse ideas and send it back. If we’re in the same place we’ll sit with a guitar and play each other ideas until something sticks.
MR: What was the recording process like?
EK: The recording process was fun because we really thought we were just doing writing sessions. There was no pressure. We set up a studio where the Rustic Overtones [Gutter and Ryan Zoidis’ former band] are based up in Maine and brought in a bunch of gear. I contributed some guitars, amps and mics, while Ryan pieced together a tape machine and basically built a studio for this session. Chris St. Hilaire and Stu Mahan from The London Souls came up and helped out putting down the initial tracks. It was great because we were writing the songs and recording at the same time. The band would be putting down parts, while Dave was writing a bridge in the other room. It was like we were in a little song factory for those few days. We came out of that sessions with maybe a dozen songs and the tracks sounded killer. I have to say that Ryan Zoidis and Jon Roods, also in Rustic Overtones, did a great job recording everything. We used minimal gear, but it was done right and that is mostly what you hear on the record.
MR: Do you feel there is a conceptual theme linking the material on Blood From A Stone?
EK: Both Dave and I were going through break ups when the album was being written so a lot of the material came out of that and relationships gone wrong—“Please Ya,” “Waiting On Your Love,” “Torture,” “Jezebel,” “When The Day Comes”… Some were also written in the rise from the ashes so to speak—“On The Rise,” “Unconditional Love”. Musically, my guitar also plays a thematic role throughout, there’s always a guitar solo or melody coming at some point in every song.
MR: Did you bring in any techniques or things you learned from working with other artists?
EK: Definitely. I learn a ton from every album I work on. I try to absorb as much as I can every time I work with a new artist. I’ve been very lucky to work with some great ones.
MR: What do you think of today’s popular music?