Although he only picked up the guitar during college, Eric Hagen has had music pulsing through his veins since earliest childhood: “I like to say my first words were ‘ma,’ ‘ba,’ and ‘Hey Jude,’ says the artist, citing the influence of his father’s record collection.
It took a bad case of covid to propel Eric into full-on songwriting. “I got covid in 2020 and got really sick. I was waking up in the middle of the night with thoughts of lyrics and song ideas, and I’d try to wake up and type them in my phone,” he remembers. “A friend of mine had covid around the same time, and we kind of got together at the beginning of 2021, and I recorded an EP, and then we decided we should put a band together and travel around.” A tour throughout the midwest and over to Nashville ensued.
Despite the long hours of preparation, the schlepping of gear, the cheap accommodations and so much more that goes into indie touring (and is rarely revealed in social media), Eric says the performance is what keeps musicians like himself committed. “There’s something about that hour or two hours, whatever you’re playing,” he says. “…you don’t think about anything else…There’s something about that experience that makes people keep doing it.”
Eric’s Americana style is firmly rooted in rock, country and blues, which he feels best suits his voice. “I’ve always tried to sing pretty, but I just don’t,” he laughs. “I’ve tried different styles throughout the years and this one just seems to be the most comfortable.”
For his upcoming release, Revival (due out in April 2023), he made a conscious effort to move from more personal songs to telling stories about others. “When I was on the road in 2021 I started jotting down places and people I met, and things I experienced and saw and I tried to write about things other than myself…But when you listen back to it all, your think, ‘that was kinda about me too…”
By Dan Walsh