blood from a stone

Funkish - Best Albums of 2016

via Funkish

17. Blood From A Stone — Eric Krasno — Feel Music Group / Round Hill Music

Blood From A Stone is a varied record of modern music — Soul, Rock, and psychedelic sounds prevail. Several songs also highlight Krasno’s bluesy guitar side, like the collaboration with Derek Trucks, “Curse Lifter,” an intoxicating instrumental. On this album he sings all the songs for the first time…and his singing voice sounds great too.

Krasno is one of the best Funk guitarists going these days, working hard, touring with Soulive & Lettuce, as well as producing marvelous music for a variety of artists.

Throughout his 20 years in the music industry, Eric Krasno has never fit into any single defined role. In addition to his guitar playing in Soulive & Lettuce, both of which he helped co-found, he’s established himself as an in-demand producer and songwriter.

He’s produced songs and/or records for a diverse list of artists including Norah Jones, 50 Cent, Talib Kweli, Justin Timberlake, Ledisi, Chaka Khan, Vieux Farka Toure, and Dave Matthews. In the past 2 years Eric has been on tour with Tedeschi Trucks Band (on Bass), Pretty Lights (also playing guitar & bass on the Grammy nominated album “Color Map of the Sun”) and was a part of the Hollywood Bowl tribute to James Brown featuring D’Angelo, Aloe Blacc and many others. Eric Krasno is a very busy man, also producing the amazing new Motet album.

These songs pay intimate tribute to the many classic rock and R&B sounds that influenced him before he became a new-breed Jazz-Funk icon. “Natalie” is a funky rocker, all strut and swagger with a mean clavinet and keyboard bass played by Neal Evans. And, all the songs are soulful, modern Rock at its best.

I’m glad I got to hear him live touring to support Blood From A Stone. They put on a fantastic show! On the album, Derek Trucks guests on “Curse Lifter,” the set’s lone instrumental. Interestingly, the song’s twinned leads, swelling organs, and rolling drum kit intentionally recall the jazzed-up blues groove of the Allman Brothers Band’s “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.” Even without Trucks live, it was still the highlight of the show I saw, as it morphed back & forth with Jimi Hendrix’s “Manic Depression.”


Glide Magazine Premiere: Unreleased Title Track 'Blood From A Stone' [Free Download]


via Glide Magazine

Eric Krasno, the co-founder of Soulive and former full time lead guitarist of Lettuce released his third solo album Blood From A Stone on July 8th. Although we’re already familiar with Krasno’s knock it dead guitar tone, this time around Krasno contributes vocals on every track of the self-produced album with the exception of  an instrumental featuring Derek Trucks: “Curse Lifter.”

“My writing partner Dave Gutter and I have been composing songs with vocals for other people for awhile,” explains Krasno in an earlier press release. “So some of the initial ideas that would eventually wind up on the album were written thinking others would sing them, but when they were introduced to different artists, it wouldn’t necessarily work out. Eventually I realized some of the songs we’d been writing were more personal and would be better suited for me to sing.”

Glide Magazine is premiering the rousing track “Blood From A Stone,” (below) which showcases a poignant new side to Krasno’s music, placing himself among the gritty bluesy rock of The Black Keys and other Danger Mouse produced projects.

“I’m excited to finally release the track ‘Blood From a Stone,’ which wound up being used as the title for the album even though we didn’t include the song on it. ‘Blood’ was one of the first tracks I recorded for the project and I loved the energy and grittiness of the song, but when the album was all done, I felt that this track sounded like a seperate piece,” says Krasno. “So I decided to put it out later as its own single. Dave Gutter and I wrote the song on the first day of the sessions in the studio together and then we got heavy into fuzzed out psychedelic sounds, which I thought reflected the imagery and meaning in the lyrics.”

Super Jammer Eric Krasno On Reclaiming His Voice


Grammy-winning guitarist and New Canaan native Eric Krasno co-founded two influential bands (Soulive and Lettuce). His producer credits alone (Norah Jones, Aaron Neville, Talib Kweli, 50 Cent) place him among the most sought-after hired guns of the last two decades. And for putting together star-studded, one-off, festival-sized super jams — at Bonnaroo, Okeechobee, Brooklyn Comes Alive and elsewhere — Krasno's the guy to call.

Along the way, however, Krasno's own voice got lost. "Blood From a Stone," a soulful, rocking solo album released earlier this year, fixes that: Krasno sings on most tracks; on the road, he fronts his own group, which includes Connecticut vocalist Mary Corso, guitarist Danny Mayer and drummer Eric Kalb.

Krasno and company play Arch Street Tavern in Hartford on Nov. 5. CTNow spoke to him about reclaiming his music and voice.

Q: You're a connector, the hub at the center of a lot of musical activity. But "Blood From a Stone" seems like an effort to put the focus back on yourself. Was that the goal?

A: Yes. What started happening is that I started to feel discombobulated in the past few years. I'm not complaining, because the opportunities have been unbelievable. But people started calling me to put together super jams with all these people. I love doing that, but then you rehearse these shows for however long, you put all these people together, and then you perform it once. … My biggest crowds, the most people were seeing me do a performance once, one time, the first time it ever happened, over and over. I couldn't wait to have something really tight, not just us going out there and seeing if we could pull it off.

Producing other people's albums, which I love and will continue to do: I was running around the country, getting involved in a lot of different things, spreading myself kind of thin. I'd get home and record a couple of my songs, and it was really gratifying. I'm just doing it for me now. I can control when we tour. I've been very involved in the business side of things for years, so doing this now: if I only knew then what I know now. I get that chance.

The other thing is that this is hard. We've got seven people in a van. I haven't done a van tour since 2002. I'm carrying the gear (we have one guy who helps us). I have to go out and prove that we can sell tickets. ... We're getting good festival offers and I'm calling in some favors, but we're out here like any other band. It's not Tedeschi Trucks Tour [Krasno played bass for TTB in 2013], it's not Lettuce tour. It's different. We're not on a tour bus with guitar techs and all those things. But in a weird way, I've been enjoying loading the van and driving. I don't know how long that will last [laughs]. I'm in the honeymoon phase right now.

Q: You sang on most of the tracks on "Blood From a Stone."

A: That's right. I wrote a lot of songs, and I'd always record demos and sing them to people when I was working with other artists. I was kind of behind the scenes, writing songs and singing background. Friends and other artists always used to say, "Hey, you should just put this out yourself." Eventually I was like, "You know what? Maybe I should."

Q: After being in bands and having singers come and go, that must have been liberating.

A: You're absolutely right. I always enjoyed working with singers, and I'm not necessarily the guy to go out and do the James Brown thing and dance. It has to be the right music. I couldn't front Lettuce, but I can go out and sing these songs. What's been really fun for me in the last year is sitting down and practicing my songs with an acoustic guitar. When I'm writing or producing a song, I'm a little more focused on the melody and the chords working in an acoustic setting, whereas in the past, I'd make an instrumental track and work the song from there. At gigs, I've been getting more confident onstage, just finding my thing.

When I made the record, I wasn't thinking: "I should do it in this key or that key." Now, on the road, I've been moving keys around and writing new stuff that fits my range. It's great not to have to rely on someone else leading the band. At the same time, with this band, it's cool to step back and let Mary [Corso] sing lead and let Danny [Mayer] take a solo. It's evolving into a band thing, where everyone is stepping out and showing their strengths. It's dynamic. It's definitely a band, you know, and it has been really fun to watch it evolve.

Q: Did you write the songs thinking they were going to be for you to sing?

A: I knew I wanted to make an album, so we went in to write songs, me and Dave Gutter [of Rustic Overtones], who I write a lot with. Originally I thought: I'll sing a bit, but we'll get some guests. I'd already reached out to Susan [Tedeschi] and Dave Matthews and other guys I've worked with. When we started cutting the songs, Dave Gutter and others were like, "Dude, you gotta sing these. It sounds great. It already has a vibe. These tracks are done!"

We were recording on a little tape machine, but that relaxed vibe created something that was really cool. Most of the record is from those sessions. We didn't have any songs either. We were writing them right there: "Jezebel," "Unconditional Love," "Torture." It was all on an 8-track tape machine. Once I discovered I was making a record, I put it in ProTools [recording software] and polished it up and mixed it. But the energy was really cool. We got very experimental. I did the vocals right there. Everyone said, "These records are done," and I was like, "Maybe you're right."

This all happened over a few years, even though the sessions were all done in a few days. I was originally going to put it out through Blue Note, and then that fell through, and I started at a new label. Some of the songs from the sessions ended up on other records. A song called "Calling Out to You" ended up on a Tedeschi Trucks Band album. Another song ended up on Aaron Neville's album. [Krasno and Gutter co-wrote 10 out of 11 songs on Neville's 2016 album "Apache," with Krasno producing.] But yes, the intention was not for me to sing lead on the whole album.

Q: I'm sure super jam opportunities will pop up again, and you probably won't be able to turn them down.

A: That's already happening. I said I was taking December off, but now there are all these other things. But they're all cool things: I'm playing with Phil [Lesh] and Friends and with Bob Weir. I'll never pass those up. That's a childhood dream come true. But I look forward to growing even more as a band. It feels like it has been growing.

ERIC KRASNO BAND performs at Arch Street Tavern in Hartford on Nov. 5 at 10 p.m., with After Funk opening. Tickets are $15-$20.

Watch Eric Krasno’s Out-Of-This-World New Video For “Curse Lifter” Featuring Derek Trucks [Premiere]

Soulful guitarist Eric Krasno has released a fresh new music video from his debut solo record, Blood From A Stone. The video features the song “Curse Lifter”, the lone instrumental track from Krasno’s album, and it features his good friend, the inimitable Derek Trucks, on guitar.

Krasno had this to say about the new video: “I’m excited to share this psychedelic video for ‘Curse Lifter.’ The animation takes you through an abstract journey that I thought fit well with the track. I was excited to have Derek Trucks join me on this tune. He is close friend and one of my absolute favorite guitar players.”The animation only helps bring this exciting track to life, matching its guitar-soaked tones to psychedelic imagery.

Kraz is currently preparing to hit the road on a lengthy fall tour with his Eric Krasno Band, where he’ll play a number of dates with Doyle Bramhall II, The London Souls, and keyboard virtuoso Marco Benevento. “I’m really looking forward to the fall tour with EKB,” said Krasno. “The band is gelling right now and the new songs are really expanding as we play more and more shows. Being on the road with Marco Benevento’s band will be a blast! We are old friends, so I see a lot of cool collaborations happening.”

It should be an exciting couple of months for Krasno, so don’t miss him and his band on the road this fall! You can see Krasno’s tour schedule below, and be sure to visit his website for more information.

Eric Krasno Band Tour Dates

October 7 – San Francisco, CA – Brick & Mortar
October 8 – San Rafael, CA – Terrapin Crossroads ##
October 9 – San Rafael, CA – Terrapin Crossroads ##
October 18 – Richmond, VA – The Broadberry *
October 19 – Raleigh, NC – Lincoln Theatre *
October 20 – Atlanta, GA – Terminal West *
October 21 – Asheville, NC – New Mountain *
October 22 – Charleston, SC – Pour House *
October 27 – Cincinnati, OH – Live from the Ludlow
October 28 – Columbus, OH – Woodlands Tavern
October 29 – Chicago, IL – Martyrs **
November 1 – Annapolis, MD – Rams Head ^
November 2 – Washington, DC – Hamilton ^
November 3 – Asbury Park, NJ – Stone Pony
November 4 – Ardmore, PA – Ardmore Music Hall ^
November 5 – Hartford, CT – Arch Street Tavern
November 18 – Austin, TX – Antone’s +
November 19 – Austin, TX – Antone’s +
November 20 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live +

## w/ Phil Lesh
*with Marco Benevento
**with The London Souls
^with Doyle Bramhall II
+with Dumpstaphunk

Eric Krasno Makes ‘Blood From a Stone’ Look Easy on His Inspired Solo Debut


For nearly 25 years now, Eric Krasno has built a repertoire as one of the most talented and in-demand guitarists in professional music, be it as a session man or as a member of such influential groups as Soulive and Lettuce. But in 2016, this most unique and innovative guitar hero aims to put his official stamp on the world as a pop artist himself with the release of his stellar solo debut Blood From A Stone.

Produced in Maine with Dave Gutter, onetime frontman for the massively overlooked Portland funk-rock group Rustic Overtones, the album finds Krasno not only playing some of the best guitar he’s ever displayed on record, but revealing major skills as a singer/songwriter as well. It’s funny, for a guy who has played with some of the best vocalists in the world including Susan Tedeschi and Norah Jones, earning Grammys for his roles on Tedeschi Trucks Band‘s Revelator and Derek Trucks Band‘s Already Free, it’s a sin to think he’s been hiding this great voice all these years. But better late than never.

The soulful husk he possesses definitely gives the music on Blood a vibe on par with such Clapton solo classics as There’s One In Every Crowd  and No Reason To Cry as well as Stevie Ray Vaughan, especially circa In Step, albeit with a more contemporary R&B flavor. And there’s guests to speak of as well, namely fellow six-string samurai Derek Trucks who appears on the Santana-esque instrumental “Curse Lifter” as well as his homeboys from Lettuce, Soulive, and The London Souls, a promising group signed to Krasno’s label Feel Records (who released singer Nigel Hall’s amazing soul manifesto Ladies and Gentlemen…Nigel Hall! last year).

Additionally, Krasno has a new album with Lettuce called Crush, played a bunch of shows with the Grateful Dead spinoff group Billy and the Kids (led by percussionist Bill Kreutzmann) earlier this year and continued to espouse his production prowess through the release of New Orleans legend Aaron Neville’s incredible new album Apache.

The Observer recently caught up with Krasno to talk about what inspired him to release his first-ever solo album, what it was like working with Aaron Neville and how it feels to celebrate Lettuce’s 25th anniversary this year.

What took you so long to start singing?

I was always kinda singing demos and writing songs all along. When I started with Soulive, that wasn’t really the direction I was headed in. Alan and Neal [Evans, both formerly of Moon Boot Lover] had a concept of this real futuristic soul jazz trio. And I had been in the studio making songs and producing. My roommate at the time, Jeff Basker who is now a huge producer, he and I were always making tracks and writing songs and doing Lettuce.

It was just one of those things where I jumped on the train with Soulive and rode that where really my focus before that was very different. But it was a blessing, because I got to go out and play and focus on becoming a guitar player for 20 years. I met so many people, so many amazing musicians, along the way that I got to work with and all of this fed into what I am doing now. I’m very thankful for those experiences.

How was the transition for you?

Well, for me I’m kinda finding all these new things that I can do. I’ve always done singing in the studio doing background but never singing lead. So now being on tour with the solo band and stuff, it’s been fun seeing what I can do. I have a great singer in the band named Mary Corso, who is a badass at doing really high harmonies. I made the record on my own and not really with a band, per se. Now I’m going out with a band and it’s really cool watching it evolve and take on a shape of its own.

Listening to the record, I hear a heavy solo Eric Clapton vibe on it.

Yeah, yeah, totally. I love that shit. Actually, part of the inspiration was—and it’s really random—that I read the Clapton book when I was in Japan and about his transition from being in bands to going solo. It was cool to read about that. He wasn’t really a singer before that. He did sing a bit, but it just became a thing for him, and he worked on it and he got really good at it. Just like anything else, really.

Some people just have this natural voice that just turns on instantly, like Nigel Hall, who has always been a great singer. For me, I had to work on it a little bit. I’m not trying to be an acrobatic singer. I’m just trying to sing my songs and play the guitar. I’m always writing songs, but prior to this record I would try to place these songs with other people. It’s great.

I’ve written for Aaron Neville and the Tedeschi-Trucks Band and a lot of other people. But the thing is you always have to wait for that moment, which is what I did with this album. I mean, I already have half of a new album written in the can, plus a bunch of songs that didn’t make this one. I’m just excited to be putting stuff out more frequently.

I’ve actually been revisiting some of Clapton’s ’80s albums like Behind the Sun and August, both of which were produced by Phil Collins. It’s interesting to hear, now, the R&B vibe they were trying to go for with those records.

Maybe I need to revisit those. Literally the ’80s Clapton stuff I’d know it because it was in the background as a kid, but I never had those records. I knew Journeyman because it had such massive hits on it. That might be his biggest record. I went to see Clapton about four years ago. Doyle Bramhall II is a good friend of mine, and he played with him on that tour and got me passes to the show and whatever.

I was blown away, man. I thought he sang his ass off. His guitar playing was really great, but I was really impressed by his vocals at this point. His vocals seemed to have gotten better and better and better. And the band he had for that tour, Willie Weeks on bass, Steve Jordan on drums and Doyle on second guitar, they were killing.

Willie Weeks is the man! He’s on all those underrated George Harrison solo albums on Dark Horse, David Bowie’s Young Americans, Randy Newman’s Good Old Boys…

Oh yeah, man. Willie Weeks played with a ton of people. He was in the Doobie Brothers for a while. He is on my favorite soul album of all time, which is Donny Hathaway Live, and he was like 18 during that recording. I got to work with him a few times; he’s just the coolest guy ever. He plays his butt off, man. And he played on everything.

I also hear a little Stevie Ray Vaughan in your sound on this record as well. Are you a big fan?

Oh yeah, huge huge Stevie Ray fan. His singing is amazing. When I first saw that video Live at the El Mocambo, it changed my life, man; the intensity by which he plays was like nothing else I’ve ever seen. I remember I was supposed to go see him on the In Step tour with Jeff Beck, but I got in trouble and was grounded. I had tickets and me and my dad were going to go, but I got in trouble in school.

Another interesting thing I get from Blood from a Stone is that it feels separate from the other stuff you’ve done in the past. Was that a conscious decision?

I jump around, man. It’s funny, I was talking about that to someone the other day. The jam scene and the fans of that scene, they want to see us do different things and evolve and change. They want to come see a different show every time, which is kind of a challenge to us in both Lettuce and Soulive.

I think, genre-wise, it’s kind of blown in every direction. It’s kinda to the point where you don’t have to sound like The Grateful Dead to be a jam band. There’s hip-hop and then there’s reggae and there’s EDM now. It’s really just an alternative to radio in a lot of ways.

But what makes Blood from the Stone, in my opinion, stand out is because it’s a more song-oriented collection than much of what is available in that jam-band scene.

This is a huge thing for me. And I think that’s honestly what is lacking with the modern jam bands. It’s too much noodling and not enough songwriting. For example, I started playing with Phil Lesh and some of the Grateful Dead guys in the last few years and going through that songbook and learning those songs made me really love The Dead again; and mostly because of the songwriting. They have so many great songs and really interesting songs.

They’re not just 1-4-5. There are all sorts of amazing changes and Robert Hunter was such a great lyricist. I’ve really become such a huge Dead fan again through this experience. I loved them when I was really young, they opened my mind to a lot of new music. And now I’ve come full circle.

How did you connect with Aaron Neville to produce his new album Apache?

That was a real blessing to be able to do that. I got the job through his manager. I’ve been friends with the Neville family for a while, through Ivan Neville and Dumpstaphunk. His manager knew me through producing some other stuff that he heard and thought I would be a good match.

When I met up with Aaron, I gave him my spiel and told him, “Man, I’d love to make a real gritty, soulful, funky album that really showcases what you do best.”

And he says, “Well, I got all these poems I’m trying to turn into songs.” So once he decided to work with me, he gave me like 50 poems and myself and Dave Gutter went up to Vermont and sat up there with these poems to try and make them into songs so we could begin recording them. And I got some of the Lettuce guys and some of the Dap-Kings guys to be on it. It really turned into an awesome project.

Was it a little intimidating considering the last Aaron Neville album was produced by Keith Richards and Don Was?

Yeah, that was a pretty big seat to fill. He didn’t talk to me really about those sessions. However, a lot of his previous records he wasn’t really that involved, whereas this one he had a hand in the songwriting, he stuck around for the mixes, he was there when the band was tracking. It’s funny, someone who has been in the business for 55, 60 years or whatever, he’d never been so involved. And he was really excited about that.

It stirred something in him. That was a really cool part to that process is seeing his excitement about being so directly involved in this album.

Next year is going to be the 25th anniversary of Lettuce, is that correct?

Yeah, wow. Well, we met in 1992, but we didn’t start playing shows until 1994. But we were a band, at least in the loose sense of the term. We were rehearsing and stuff. It’s pretty amazing, man. I don’t tour with them consistently anymore because I’ve got a lot of stuff going on and they book a lot of shows now, but I’m still part of the band. I’m in the studio with them and I will do the bigger shows they put together.

You guys were really young when you started Lettuce, yeah?

We were I think sophomores in high school, and we went to this summer program kinda thing at Berklee College of Music. We all were into funk music and improvisation so we were all like, “O.K., when we’re in college we’re all going to come here and start a band.” And we actually did. We’re all best friends. We all make music together in various other ways outside of Lettuce. It’s just kind of this band of brothers and we have a blast, you know?

Eric Krasno plays Central Park Summerstage on September 7. Blood From A Stone is available on iTunes and at better record stores in your neighborhood.

Soulive’s Eric Krasno Unleashes Solo Album


As it always is with that most exciting of trios, it was my pleasure to take in the Soulive show a few weeks as part of the Louis Armstrong Wonderful World Festival at Flushing Meadows Park.  At that time, Eric Krasno revealed in an interview that he has a Central Park show billed as the Eric Krasno Band this Wednesday the 7th.  Note: in the video, I say “tomorrow night” as its television air date is Tuesday.  The immensely talented guitar player/songwriter/producer has a new album, Blood From A Stone, and the Summerstage gig will be our first chance to hear songs from it in New York City.