You could say there is nothing special about the music John Eddie makes. And you would be wrong.
It is straight-forward, likeable, soulful, gut-bucket rock and roll. His live show still delivers at a time when the market for this kind of music is more on country radio than anywhere else. For his new album Same Old Brand New Me, he recorded in Nashville, where his sound can be heard in new country hitmakers like Eric Church and Jason Aldean.
The album is his first since 2003's underrated Who the Hell is John Eddie.
Warmly recorded, the new record is divided between acoustic-based country rock, and loud n' proud rock songs. It's the rock and roll abandon and cut-to-the-gut lyrics that separates the album from mainstream country artists. His loose, crowd-centric shows have more in common with The Stone Pony in Asbury Park than they do the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville.
Though a cult favorite in the Eastern US (he gigs in Philly, the Jersey shore and around Boston), his show here is part of a rare Midwest jaunt the concentrates on Cleveland and Chicago, with stops here and in Kansas City.
Early in his career, the Virginia-born, New Jersey-based Eddie was shadowed by Springsteen comparisons; he embraces the perception now, dropping scorching version of Bruce's "She's the One" and "Born to Run" into his set.
His début album crawled to #83 on the album chart back in 1986, was, until recently, that was the pinnacle of his mainstream success, built mainly through rock radio's playing the song "Jungle Boy". Then Kid Rock included Eddie's 2003 song "Lowlife (Living the Highlife)," on his chart-topping 2007 album "Rock n Roll Jesus."
Eddie will join Kid Rock on his cruise ship excursion that sails at the end of April.
"After Kid Rock did my song," Eddie told the NJ.com, "I made more money than I did in the whole 30 years before that. I thought to myself: 'Hey, maybe I should start writing for other singers.'"
Eddie's music would seem to fit right in here in the Midwest; his sound is firmly planted in the Petty/Mellencamp/Springsteen heartland rock and roll.
His stop in Indianapolis sits in the middle of a nine shows in ten days run through the Midwest. He brings a band which includes Indiana guitarist PK Lavengood (a founding member of the '80s band Rods and Cones) and legendary bassist Kenny Aaronson (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Bob Dylan).
It seems long ago that this was the guy, dancing across the stage - sans guitar - who opened up the 1986 Amnesty International show at the Meadowlands in front of 70,000 people. The echo of Springsteen is still with him, but now he's got the guitar solidly around his neck.
"In my early career," says Eddie, "everything was overproduced. I didn't have a sense of who I was as an artist. I'm a guy with an acoustic guitar."
John Eddie - 2011 - "If You're Here When I Get Back"
John Eddie from Amnesty International Concert - 1981 performing "Pretty Little Rebel" and "Jungle Boy"
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