When Liz Phair came to campus I didn't go, because I wasn't yet a Liz Phair fan. When The Story came to campus I didn't go because I wasn't a fan of them either.
When Eddie from Ohio comes to campus I will go, because I have learned by now. And I have actually heard them before, and they're pretty good.
Eddie From Ohio comes to the Cat in the Cream this Saturday. The most glaringly obvious thing to say is that the group, a quartet, is not actually from Ohio. The band is from the D.C. club scene and surprisingly this will be their first performance in Ohio.
Performers playing at the Cat often have a preceding reputation of being folky and quirky. Eddie From Ohio lives up to the reputation. The group's latest album, I Rode Fido Home brims with acoustic harmonies and humorous down-to-earth lyrics. The texture of their music is smooth and deep, using instruments from acoustic guitar to cowbells and congas. Their songs present a spicy variety of topic and tune.
The sound is refined, soft and serious at times in songs like "My Brother." The song begins a cappella, with lead singer Julie Murphy's voice calling from the quietness, to be accompanied by the three male voices of the group. Murphy's voice is rich and expressive. The group's sound has been compared to the Indigo Girls, though Murphy's voice has a sweeter sound. Think of Sarah McLaughlin singing the Indigo Girls, with guys backing her up. The guys even sound like Simon and Garfunkel sometimes.
Confused? Eddie From Ohio if nothing else wins a prize for being compared to innumerable other singers and groups, the result of the all too creative reviewer trying to label their sound. Allusions to 10,000 Maniacs, Indigo Girls, James Taylor, the Grateful Dead, even "Crosby Stills and Nash in their heyday backed by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones" arise. (I'm a little skeptical about that last one.) Listeners hypothesize about jazz, folk, country, and/or pop influences. All this probably exasperated reviewers to invent new styles, like "new folk calypsograss."
The best way to describe Eddie From Ohio's sound is to refrain from puzzling comparisons (imagine Delores O'Rhiordan but softer, with Michael Stipe and Peter, but not Paul, and Mary... - just kidding.) Listening to Eddie From Ohio just as Eddie From Ohio is the best way to appreciate their sound. The band's music is pleasing, thoughtful and lively. I Rode Fido Home offers an eclectic sound ranging from stirrring and reflective to amusing and spirited. And sometimes Eddie From Ohio effortlessly combines both. "The Bridge," a frolicking upbeat song, takes a tongue-in-cheek attitude on suicide and losing your own identity, "I went and jumped off a bridge last night/ I don't know why, someone just told me to."
The lyrics of Eddie From Ohio's songs are clever and familiar. Studying for an astronomy exam, saying goodbye and visiting home are transformed into relaxed expressive choruses and harmonies. The poetry of the lyrics compiled with the nuances, twangs and melodies of the music produces a satsifying package. The songs sound good on recording, especially good mood music in the evening, but the band's clear energy lends itself to live performance. That's another reason why I'll have to go see them.
They're cute, even if they lie: Eddie From Ohio actually hails from Washinbton D.C. but they're bringing their "new folk calypsograss" to play the Cat in the Cream this Saturday
Copyright © 1996, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 124, Number 18; March 15, 1996
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