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Flathead musician Eric Alan releases second album

by TAYLOR INMAN
Bigfork Eagle | December 1, 2021 12:00 AM

Musician Eric Alan has lived and played music all over the country, but he never expected to be able to make a living playing music in the place where he grew up. Now, he’s excited to debut his new album to his following in the Flathead.

Alan’s alternative rock, dotted with pop sounds and melodic piano, shines on his new self-titled album Eric Alan, which he debuted at Bigfork’s Jewel Basin Center at the end of October. It’s his second full-length album.

Alan said he has been playing music all his life, from a stand-up piano at the age of five.

“My dad played by ear, so I would listen to him a lot, and try to copy what he did. My parents always had a record player and a bunch of LP’s from when they were teenagers lying around, so I just would sift through those, and listen to artists from their generation and copy what I heard,” Alan said.

He was active with music through his teenage years when he attended Flathead High School. Then he moved to New York in his mid-twenties, where he said he started getting serious about writing and recording music. He said after high school he started living all over the country, but something was calling him back to the valley.

“17 years later, after living in a bunch of different cities, playing music in various cities like Nashville and New York and LA, I just got tired of having two other jobs and playing music at night, I just got tired of that hustle. Being back in the valley allowed me to do music full-time, which is what I always wanted. To be able to play gigs for money and make enough money to pay your bills and then have time and energy to write, record and produce--- that’s big for me,” he said.

Alan has done just that, producing two full-length albums and several singles. But, Alan said his last album “The Step” in 2019 was more of a compilation of songs, where his new album tells a more cohesive story.

“That’s typically what an artist tries to do, is make somewhat of a story, or have a narrative of some kind, and this album definitely has a narrative,” Alan said. “And most of the songs are older---that I recorded back when I lived in New York, and most of them revolve around relationships and life experiences. It’s sort of a reflective, introspective album about my life and experiences. There’s three people I’ve been with, and this album is my relationship story and it’s where I’ve lived, so it’s sort of a chronological story,”

He said writing something so personal is a very cathartic experience, but by the time it reaches the stage those emotions distance themselves to an extent.

“Like when you first write them, that immediate emotion that comes out of you is very powerful but then that goes away as you play the songs over, and over, and over again. You have to resurrect them to a degree every time you play, but those emotions get a little less close to home and it’s not scary,” he said.

Alan said his album debut show at the Jewel Basin Center with Nashville-based musicians the Gold Sisters and Rick Martinez on drums was a success in more than one way. He said all of their musical personalities meshed so well together and that the experience of playing his show sparked the idea for a tour.

“We’re actually doing a lot of group messaging right now because we’re planning a tour for the spring and we’re going to start on the Baltimore, Maryland area where my drummer is from, then down the coast and into the south where the girls are from, so we’re going to do a week-long tour together,” he said.

Before Alan embarks on this next tour, he can be seen performing every week throughout the Flathead. He has a residency at the Firebrand Hotel in Whitefish where he performs every Wednesday at 6 p.m. He also performs on Thursdays at the Harbor Grille in Lakeside at 6 p.m.

“I never in a million years would have thought I’d move back to my hometown and be able to play music and make a living here,” Alan said.

See a full list of Alan’s upcoming shows on his website, musicbyericalan.com, and find his music on most all streaming services, his recommended being Spotify.