Erik Kjelland, singer/songwriter from Madison, WI, released his third solo CD “Lost At Sea, Looks Like Rain” with Stone After Stone Records on February 18 of this year. The album is available at CDBaby.com, Amazon.com and iTunes.
Even angels have their own brand of hell to pay, a point that recurs literally and metaphorically throughout Erik Kjelland’s lush and prickly new disc, Lost At Sea, Looks Like Rain. Kjelland’s third solo effort finds him acting as a tour guide through the telling, yet minute, details of an environment that can at once be overwhelming, dangerous and bland – the relationship. Navigating the waters of relationship requires a sensibility that spots the storm well beyond the blue horizon; Kjelland is adept at forecasting turmoil by studying the tiny currents that swirl past the boat.
Initially inspired by an indie film to be released later this year, “Lost At Sea, Looks Like Rain” expands the premise of the film and ponders the complexities of a relationship that endures, but Kjelland avoids the neat, and unrealistic, resolution that is required for a happy-ever-after ending. The sea is, after all, endless, and so are its terrors and charms.
Kjelland’s deceptively lush vocal and instrumental arrangements, reminiscent, perhaps, of the Jayhawks at their melodious and troubled best, provide a soft counter to the probing point of the lyrics. Wrapped in a bittersweet piano introduction and coda, the disc is driven by layers of acoustic guitars overlaid with Kjelland’s vocals, punctuated by a variety of other instruments. The result sounds like a mix of pop-rock and alt-country, but discerning listeners will find themselves reaching for a compass.
Recorded at Moondog Studios in Madison, Wisconsin, the disc includes Kjelland stalwarts Arthur Ranney (electric bass), Brad Reuber (drums & percussion), Nick Fry (upright bass), and Paul Bykowski (sax) but it’s clearly Kjelland’s disc; he wrote all the songs and plays most of the instruments. Kjelland produced and mixed the entire effort with some engineering assists from Ranney and Reuber.
As the front man for the Madison-based rock band Crimson Vim, Kjelland has gained regional success as a performer and a songwriter and has released four albums with the band. His former band, Fallen Roadies, released four albums and built a loyal following throughout the tri-state area. He has also released two previous solo albums: 2009’s “However, Coma” and 2006’s “Everybody Falls” which sold over 2000 copies as a major fund raiser for the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America.