Massachusetts-based songwriter Mark Erelli has been a go-to sideman for decades, playing with everyone from Paula Cole and Josh Ritter to Marc Cohen. He’s also a much in demand producer, but as Blindsided, his latest solo effort shows, he really belongs in front of the mic.
Across 11 tracks, Erelli blends pop, folk and American in a deeply accessible way. You can hear traces of everyone from Tom Petty to John Hiatt on Blindsided. The bulk of the music here is focused on relationships, good and bad. Despite a singular theme coming across as redundant, Erelli’s knack for writing powerful lyrics keeps up a strong momentum throughout. The album does drag once or twice, but those moments are easily overshadowed by moments of greatness, like on the sublime “Lost in Translation” or soon to be the break-up classic “Her Town Now.” The album ends on a sobering, regretful note with the beautifully somber “Careless,” a pretty stark contrast to the opening, title track about falling in love instantly.
Two decades into his career, Erelli is making a pretty convincing argument that he deserves a bigger stage.