In late 2020, and using the pandemic as inspiration to reflect, Eric Hagen rounded up a star studded, socially distanced lineup of musicians (that he affectionately labelled Red River Revival) and got to work on what would eventually become his brand new EP, Crossroads Motel.
Blending elements of Americana with country and even a little blues, the Sturgeon Bay singer/songwriter has produced an eclectic and expertly crafted EP that is more than worthy of your time.
Released in April of this year, Crossroads Motel was co-produced by Marcus Trana (SöNAMUND, Deathfolk) and Hagen himself. Trana also provided drums, guitar, keys,bass and backing vocals, along with a host of other talented musicians.
The EP’s title track, ‘Crossroads Motel’, is also the album’s opener and sets the scene straight from the off. A simple acoustic guitar is met with the whiskeyed vocals of Hagen, and the track just gets more layered and complex as it progresses.
‘Hope’ has a Bon Iver feel to it, thanks to the incredible pedal steel and slide guitar playing of Patrick Lyons. The talented session musician contributed to the EP from his home in Tennessee, refusing to allow the pandemic to interfere with their work. A beautiful, bluesy tune, ‘Hope’ again allows for Hagen’s vocal talents to shine through.
‘You Know Me Best’ shows a rockier side to the outfit. With undeniable inspiration coming from artists like Jason Isbell and Chris Stapleton, Hagen has successfully managed to find his own unique sound. And it’s a sound he should be extremely excited and proud about.
‘When You Were Young’ takes things down a notch again – a delicate and unguarded song that I believe perfectly sums up who Eric Hagen is as an artist. Confident and passionate vocals that pierce the soul, over a moving and intoxicating soundscape.
Finishing off the (all too short) EP is something a little unexpected. ‘Mercy On My Soul’ is raw, dirty and distorted. Fuzzy guitars and clattering drums are the order of the day here, and even Hagen puts on a more raucous vocal performance. Though it catches you off guard a little, it’s an incredibly catchy, upbeat and hypnotic tune.
The future looks bright for Eric Hagen and Red River Revival. We can’t wait to hear what they come up with next!
What does ‘Crossroads Motel’ mean to you?
The pandemic really made writing music and collaborating with others easy. A lot of excellent musicians were available due to not working. We didn’t have to have musicians come to the studio. We were able to send files all over the country and across the pond to work with outstanding artists and studio musicians. I hadn’t done that much in the past. It was a great opportunity.
Please finish the sentence: “Music to me is…”
Music to me is therapy. Of course, you’d love for as many people as possible to hear your music and enjoy it but in the end, it is therapy for me. The whole process is a way to express myself or just immerse myself in recording and mixing. It can be an escape even the song never sees the light of day.
Make sure to connect with Eric Hagen
This coverage was created in collaboration with Musosoup as part of the #SustainableCurator movement.