After living in major cities like New York, Seattle and Nashville throughout his adult life, local musician Eric Alan moved back to his hometown of Kalispell four years ago to recalibrate his life and figure out his next move.
Alan started getting paid gigs as a piano vocalist at venues including the Firebrand and The Lodge at Whitefish Lake, where he found a niche playing ambience music at fine dining establishments.
“One thing led to another and I looked at my schedule and I had a ton of gigs,” Alan said. “So I stayed accidently and it’s been really good for my music career.”
Since moving back home, Alan has managed to make a living exclusively playing music after working in industries ranging from public health to retail in big cities.
On Oct. 28, Alan is releasing his second album with 10 original songs at the Jewel Basin Center in Bigfork with a full band, including his longtime drummer Rick Martinez out of Portland and The Gold Sisters out of Nashville on guitar, violin and harmony.
“It’s always fun to do a gig like this because a lot times I play ambience in a restaurant,” Alan said. “This will be a captive audience listening to my creations and I really get to share it.”
With melodic influences like The Killers, Coldplay and Kings of Leon, Alan’s new self-titled album is mostly inspired by past relationships.
“I reached way back into the archives of my music,” Alan said. “It’s sort of chronological and experiences with places I’ve lived. It spans four or five cities and three or four different relationships.”
Alan recorded the album in a 14-by-12-foot bunker that he converted into a studio, with a roughly six-foot tall ceiling surrounded by 14-inch thick cement, covered by furry, carpeted walls to absorb sound on his parent’s property in Kalispell.
Growing up, Alan watched his father play the piano, accordion and harmonica around the house where he was introduced to Elton John, Billy Joel and Ray Charles.
Learning the piano at age 5, Alan never thought he would master the instrument, but he stuck with it throughout his life, continuing to sing and play in bands, although he never thought he would make a living doing it until he moved to New York City.
Since moving back, Alan has released his first album called First Step, however this is his first album release party.
“I definitely don’t want to stop doing what I’m doing,” Alan said. “I love the working musician lifestyle that I have in the valley. The intended purpose is to get people to notice my original music more.”
Although Alan has played in multiple bands throughout his career, he is typically a solo musician now, always playing the piano.
“I grew up on the piano,” Alan said. “It’s an incredibly universal instrument, especially for a solo musician. The way I can back up my voice with the piano is very gratifying.”
Eric Alan’s album release party will be at the Jewel Basin Center on Thursday, Oct. 28. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. followed by the concert at 7:30 p.m.
To RSVP, visit www.musicbyericalan.com.
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