Eddie from Ohio - This Is Me

Eddie from Ohio
This Is Me

(Virginia Soul)

First Appeared in The Music Box, December 2004, Volume 11, #12

Written by John Metzger


Over the years, Eddie from Ohio has become known in some circles as a bit of a novelty act — a notion that has been fed by the quirky sense of humor that sometimes has drifted through the band’s songs. While it initially appears on its new outing This is Me as if the group finally has shed its odd inclinations in favor of more serious fare, the zany collective falls back on old habits midway through the collection, thereby undermining its upward climb towards mainstream acceptance. For the record, only The Bird — with its bizarre Pat Benatar-meets-Barenaked Ladies intonations — is truly awful, and the Cat Stevens-ish Fly, the bluegrass-tinged Horse, and the jazzy blues of Fifty Pounds certainly aren’t devoid of charm. The better material, however, happens early in the set when Eddie from Ohio applies its gentle country-rock leanings to its resonant commentary on life and love in America. For example, the title track’s reflections upon the impact that a war has on those who fight is full of sadness, yet there’s also a healthy dose of respect, pride, and determination to be found within the song’s lilting refrains. Elsewhere, Independence, Indiana beautifully captures the bittersweet angst of growing up in a small town and the desperate desire to escape its clutches; Baltimore somberly strolls along the path of weary regret that comes in the wake of a relationship’s dissolution; and the R&B-flavored groove of Adiós, Lorena blossoms into a soaring song of freedom and hope for a new beginning. Granted, Eddie from Ohio’s secret weapon is vocalist Julie Murphy Wells, and from her airy harmonies on the spry And the Rain Crashed Down to her hymnal ruminations on Walk Humbly, Son, she adds a wealth of emotion to the material and transforms it into something more than standard alt-country fare. Yet, even she can’t save the lesser compositions that fill This Is Me’s latter half, and though the band’s music becomes more diverse, it also feels more than just a little bit scattered, inconsistent, and just plain dull. starstar ˝

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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2004 The Music Box