CD REVIEW: Van Eaton and Friends “Blood On The Ground” written by: Nelson Gullett
Van Eaton & Friends: Blood on the Ground
This was written by: Nelson at- http://www.fiftycentlighter.blogspot.com/
I have vowed in 2009 to make Knoxville artists a larger part of the music I cover here at A Fifty Cent Lighter & A Whiskey Buzz. Luckily, Knoxville keeps giving me great new music and great new artists to write about. I have another new one for you today.
About a month ago, I noticed that Dennis Double (co-host of WDVX’s Writer’s Block program) seemed to be pretty worked up about a new CD he had heard that week from a local songwriter named Van Eaton. He was passing out copies to everyone at the station (except me), and excitedly sharing the songs on Writer’s Block. I’d hear Dennis talking to other people at the station about the copies he had given them and hear them give their enthusiastic reviews back.
A few weeks ago, I finally got a copy for myself and figured out what everyone else was so excited about. Blood on the Ground from Van Eaton & Friends is a solid Americana album that branches out from strong bluegrass roots to deliver a group of songs that bring a little polish to the traditional back porch picking session.
Speaking of pickers… I should probably mention that the “And Friends” who play on the album include Ronnie McCoury, Robbie McCoury, Jason Carter, and Alan Bartram of The Del McCoury Band. Eaton first crossed paths with the band when he wrote the title track to their 2003 album It’s Just the Night, and was able to enlist their services for his debut effort. Even with such bluegrass luminaries on board… it’s Eaton’s songs that take center stage throughout.
On his myspace page, Eaton describes his music as, “Americana with a Gospel soul and a Bluegrass heart,” and it’s true that his songs do draw heavily from both southern music traditions. It’s also important to note, however, that Blood on the Ground is not strictly a bluegrass album or strictly a gospel album. There’s more going on here as well.
In “The Fire Room,” the protagonist of the song finds solace in prayer, but he may be doing so for the wrong reasons. He lived his life with a stone cold heart, let the Devil control his idle hands, and fell to temptation at every turn. Now, at the end of his life (and the end of his rope), he turns to the Father he never counted on before for a last minute pardon. It’s up to the listener to decide if the narrator has truly repented.
The album’s title track tackles the subject of war with a brutal honesty not often found in bluegrass circles. This time, the narrator is a soldier who has lost friends and has blood on his own hands. He is charged with being a hero, but knows all too well the dangers his bravery exposes him to.
Van Eaton can be found at http://www.myspace.com/vaneatonfriends