A couple of weeks ago I had never heard of Bill Eberle or his music. Then I clicked a link on someone’s Facebook post and within 30 seconds I was a complete convert. Over the past two weeks I spent time in Maine devouring this album at the beach, trips to the packy(That’s Boston speak for liquor store) and sitting on the porch at night up to no good.
I’ve been meaning to write this review for the past week but it’s very hard for me to put this album into words. It’s part pure country, part folk, part blues and pure genius throughout. It’s hard to write about an album that you think might be the best you’ve heard in years.
The album opens with “Mean Mama Blues” and if you’ve ever been with a complicated woman you’ll find this meandering blues tune speaks right to you. “I got a girl, she won’t treat me right. She likes to drink hard liquor and she loves to fight.” Alright Bill….I’m sold and you had me at ‘Hard Liquor’.
The fact that this album feels so authentic is part of its beauty. I remember listening to Josh Ritter’s “The Animal Years” and thinking….the album SOUNDS like it should. This feels exactly the same to me. When the band launches into the twang filled rocker “Too Late to Take It All back” you could be in a dive bar waiting for your change on “2 Draught for 1” night.
There is plenty here for the folk fans as well with “Long Way Home” being one of the stand outs for me. It’s a rolling folk number with perfect accompaniment about choices made in life. “And babe I finally quit that drinkin’, I wanna be more like the man I was when we first met. But still I hear them demons singing to me, and each melody’s a memory I never will forget”
There’s definitely some input here on the state of America as a whole with songs like “Ashes(Trayvon Martin Blues) but it’s never preachy or over the top. It just exists within the album but doesn’t threaten to define the album. It’s the perfect seasoning in my estimation.
The album is the rare one with no filler. Everything is there for a reason including the production which is spot on.
The crown jewel of “Matter & Time” is “Same Old Town”. The song opens with the creaking chair Bill is sitting down to play the song which is simply acoustic guitar and vocals. The lyrics are delivered in such an infectious cadence that I spent the whole time in Maine singing this one over and over. Songs about home towns are surely ground which has been mined before but not like this. “It’s the same old song, that you love to live without, the world it will chew you up and spit you back out”.
So, Bill Eberle’s “Matter & Time” is Essential Listening and my album of the year for 2016 right now. I’m hopeful he makes it up to Boston so I can catch this kid before he gets all big and famous.
Down to business! I’m saying this one is best served with a 6 pack of PBR talls in a cooler on the back of a car with a fifth of Jim Beam. That’ll work.
PS- BUY this album on bandcamp and put a few bucks in his pocket