al stewart

T i m... E r i k s e n

beach full of shells

Tim Eriksen
Every Sound Below


“Eriksen is among the most influential figures in the neo-primitivist movement that is rejuvenating American traditional music. Best known for his haunting music for the film ‘Cold Mountain,’ he helped ignite the string band revival with his darkly quirky Western Mass. group Cordelia’s Dad, and focused fresh attention on 19th-century shape note singing with Northampton Harmony. A former punk-rocker, his musicianship is confidently state-of-the-art, but his intent is never to modernize or gussy up the old music. Instead, he uses savvy arrangement and recording techniques to focus modern ears on what is most raw, earthy, and above all, human in ancient ballads and fiddle tunes. On his latest CD, Every Sound Below, recorded solo around a single microphone, the sound is wild, beautiful, and full of unexpected moments; at once sweepingly epic and as intimate as a lover's whisper.”
– Scott Alarik, Boston Globe
“Few young performers have as clear a vision of the grandeur and just plain weirdness of rural American traditional music as Tim Eriksen. His second solo CD, Every Sound Below, is an antiquarian outing through and through, with all of the music recorded in monophonic with a single microphone, and even the jacket photograph taken with a pinhole camera. Most of the material on the CD is equally vintage, coming from ancient hymnals and songbooks he found poking around New England. The few originals, including the loping, eerie title tune, blend nicely into the period landscape. Years of shape note singing have helped Eriksen’s voice develop into a raw, powerful instrument that he either uses unaccompanied or embellishes with guitar, banjo, or rudimentary fiddle. The overall effect is a starkly beautiful journey well worth taking.”
Dirty Linen
“The revival of the American hymn is sometimes an underground movement – literally... Signs of an above ground resurgence for Protestant hymnody include Every Sound Below, a recent CD by the musician and musicologist Tim Eriksen, featuring his compelling, nasally Appalachian singing, often of 19th Century Protestant hymns. On ‘John Colby’s Hymn’ (1810), Mr. Eriksen breaks – perfectly appropriately – into droning central-Asian overtone singing.”
The New York Sunday Times
“Utterly singular is Every Sound Below (3 stars out of 4), the latest from ex-Cordelia’s Dad frontman Tim Eriksen, fresh from the Cold Mountain soundtrack. A wonderful collection of old-time folk obscurities – from Civil War songs to southern shape-note hymns – Eriksen’s voice sounds hewn from oak.”
Uncut, UK
“This is a collection of American songs that Tim notes are ‘at least partly old” . . . Tim’s performances feel almost directly created from folk tradition. Listening to Eriksen here feels a lot like looking at sepia toned photos of earlier, long vanished eras. His song notes, perversely printed in last to first order add a lot of context and understanding to most of the songs . . . Every Sound Below is as stark as an album can be. The songs and instrumental melodies re the focus of Tim’s performances, not the performer. This is a bold set of American folk songs with the notes shedding serious light on how the folk process has shaped them.”
Sing Out!
“. . . His voice is a beautiful fiction born from craft and subtle risks. On his second solo album, Every Sound Below, Eriksen brings the same sense of discovery to his banjo, fiddle, guitar, and voice on Civil War ballads, an elegant 19th century Christmas carol, the classic murder ballad ‘Omie Wise,’ and three original songs – including the title track, in which ‘the fairest sounds’ cast memories the way a new moon ‘casts only shadow.’ From Eriksen’s earliest song searches, a serendipitous connection to the ghosts of the past have been as mysterious as they are visceral.
No Depression
“A musical magpie, Eriksen picks up the Civil War theme on his second CD, Every Sound Below, with back-to-back renditions of ‘The Southern Girl's Reply’ and ‘The Cumberland and the Merrimac.’ Like every track on this soulful collection of mostly traditional tunes, the performances are sparsely arranged. Eriksen recorded the album alone, playing guitar, fiddle and banjo. He's a storyteller at heart, with a distinctive, unvarnished voice, so it isn't surprising that the narrative ballads, including banjo-driven ‘Omie Wise’ and ‘John Colby's Hymn,’ leave the deepest impressions.”
Washington Post
“A purist in the mold of Britain’s Martin Carthy, whose unique intonation he seems to have mastered, Eriksen proves on Every Sound Below that he's an earnest student of traditional musical idioms, an inquisitive social historian and a compelling artist whose intense delivery and clarity of tone set him among the world's finest folk practitioners . . . This is a classic folk recording, an invaluable treasure.”
Toronto Star, Canada