Eric Tollefson has always worn his heart on his sleeve. The Seattle-based singer-songwriter’s first two albums – 2009’s “The Sum of Parts” and 2012’s “The Polar Ends” – were slow-motion collisions of folk, pop, blues and rock that soared high despite the weight of the intense emotions that fueled them. Simply put: He knows how to build a tune that’ll make you tap your toes and choke back the lump in your throat, often at the same time.
Never has that been more evident than on his new album This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things. Scheduled to be released in two six-song parts, Tollefson’s third effort finds the native Alaskan going back to his proven bag of tricks and pulling out even more beauty. Here, Tollefson showcases his ever-evolving sense for songcraft, with memorable melodies delivered meticulously across a killer band’s aching roots-pop groove. Truly, Tollefson’s songs have never sounded so warm and intimate, as if they’ve been sustainably sourced straight from the deepest reaches of his soul.
There’s a reason for that. He has found a family of top-flight musicians and renowned studios that have helped bring This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things to life. The album was produced by Justin Armstrong (Death Cab for Cutie) and players include Josiah Johnson, Matt Hopper, Eric Heywood (Ray LaMontagne), Sam Kearney (Alberta Cross, Bee Caves), Andrew Joslyn and Rebecca Chung Filice, Polyrhythmics horns/Art Brown, Scott Morning, Marmalade horns/Chris Littlefield, Jon Reyser, Jeremy Lightfoot on bass, and Mike Stone, Karl Olson, Jared Forqueran on drums.
Tollefson and his band have shared stages with with Robert Randolph and the Family Band, G Love and Special Sauce, Donavon Frankenreiter, RayLand Baxter and Jackie Greene.