EP of the Week: Mark Erelli – Jackpot EP

Posted by Greg on May 12, 2021 in Music |

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Anyone who has read this blog for some time knows how much we enjoy the music of Mark Erelli. Given that fact it might come as a surprise to learn that it took us 3.5 months to listen to his latest EP Jackpot. Boy was that a mistake on our part.

Released the Friday before Valentine’s Day of this year, the romance-themed EP lacked was looked over mostly due to its brief running time (only three songs, really?) But in the weeks that have followed the release Erelli has conceded that last year’s pandemic had brought on a prolonged battle of writer’s block. As he notes on Patreon: “In the absence of live performances, I found myself with very little motivation to write new songs. I felt like the scale and scope of pandemic was so devastating that no artist could possibly be inspired. Writing and performing songs is how I’ve processed how I feel about the world for my entire adult life, so I needed to find a way to reconnect with that coping mechanism.”

That candid omission forced us to finally give Jackpot a spin and we are so downright happy we did. Opener “Handmade” is anchored by jaunty organ and possesses a sun-drenched vibe that is honeysuckle sweet. There’s also a great guitar solo in the latter stages and honey-kissed vocals from Maya de Vitry.

Middle track “Nothin’ but a Liar” borrows a Southern rock roadhouse vibe and feels as full-bodied and dense as much of 2020’s Blindsided. There may be some who will miss his spartan folk sensibilities but this new sonic corner Mark has turned is one he wears quite well. The gnomic EP closes with the title track that draws on his love of Western swing and feels ageless from the very first seconds.

Despite said bout of writer’s block Erelli has already churned out a couple new ones via Patreon and by golly, they might just be the finest work of his career. As the award-winning songsmith continues to find his footing in a post-pandemic world, throwing him some cheddar on Patreon seems a mighty wise thing to do.

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