Nov 23, 2019
by Robert Feuer
Eric Lindell will be reuniting with the “core” of an old band, Eric Lindell & the Reds, for a 25-year reunion on New Year’s Eve at the Forestville Club. Original members and lifelong friends, bassist Emily Froberg and drummer Jake Brown, whom he says “set the bar pretty high” will join him. Their repertoire on NYE will be from their mid-1990’s catalog, he says in a November phone interview.
Born in 1969, Lindell grew up in San Francisco until 1976, when his family moved to Sonoma County, “to the sticks,” he says. It was a time when “A lot of people were getting out of San Francisco trying to find a better life.” His family had a ranch, raising cattle and horses, with “eggs, chickens, dogs, a garden.”
During his teenage years, Lindell frequently traveled to SF with friends to see punk rock and blues bands at venues named The Farm, Grant & Green, Blues, and Slims. He started playing bass, then switched to guitar for ease of songwriting, he says. He began playing, largely with punk and garage bands at age 15. Though he considers himself “most proficient on guitar,” he also enjoys harmonica and occasionally keyboards and drums.
For many years, Lindell has had “a huge following in Sonoma County.” After brief stopovers in L.A. and New York, he moved to New Orleans in 1999. Currently, he resides in Florida, a three-hour drive from New Orleans.
Lindell describes his music as “an imagination of American roots music, R&B, country blues, rock ‘n’roll. Nowadays, music is so cross-pollinated.” Horns played a prominent role with the band Grand Junction in the late ‘90s, but he’s given that up for now. “I don’t know if I’m just getting old and my ears are getting sensitive but I don’t want to hear as much noise.”
Of his roughly 15 albums, all self-written, recorded, and produced, he’s made several for the prestigious Alligator Records label, starting in 2006. His latest Alligator release, done in Louisiana without horns, is Revolution in Your Heart, which has “a smaller sound, more about the song, with less production.” His band for this, Eric Lindell & the Natural Mystics, includes Texas blues great Anson Funderburgh, who Lindell calls “a humble guy, a sweetheart of a man.”
Lindell has played the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival each of the past 15-16 years and returns in 2020. “I feel honored,” he says. He’s also headlined the Telluride Jazz Festival and tours nationally and internationally.
Fifteen years ago, he helped found the band Dragon Smoke with Ivan Neville. It’s named after a New Orleans venue, the Dragon’s Den. He performs with them about twice/year
The New Year’s Eve show promises to be a blast from the past. Though Lindell refers to the Forestville Club as “kind of a dive bar,” he keeps returning at least once/year because owner Wayne Speer, 80, has been like “a second father.”
Lindell will play with Dragon Smoke Dec. 4 at Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael.
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