Eric Peter Schwartz is a singer/songwriter from the Chicago area. His brand of acoustic storytelling music is influenced by artists like Bryan Adams, John Mellencamp, The Indigo Girls, Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon. It covers a range of emotions from heartbreaking to funny to romantic to quirky and always makes for a fun show.
Regretville starts off the album with a good beat that will get your toes tapping along. It reminded me slightly of John Mallencamp in the way the track is constructed and in particular Little Pink Houses. The vocals have a good tone and compliment the guitars and drums.
Starting with vibrant guitars Weight of the Girl has a blues vibe. The strident guitars give this track depth as they add dark tones to the vocals. The change in tempo adds an odd feel, maybe designed to unsettle and through you slightly off balance. For me the section where the guitars pick up a more rock feel works really well, with the vocals bringing a deeper, gravelly tone.
Some Days are Dragons has a really old school feel, the vocals have a lot of reverb which adds to this experience. The acoustic guitar brings a lighter sound which reminded me of Caribbean holidays. The juxtaposition between this and the vocals which are dark both in content and feel.
By contrast Dipshit has an almost country rock intro. With very cheeky vocals providing a commentary on someone who is obviously not well thought of by Schwartz. The slide guitar is used to great effect.
The Night Before Thanksgiving is another Country influenced track. It makes you want to move your feet but the lyrics contain a story of unrequited love which has been going on for 25 years and certainly stirs the emotions. The vocals contain just a breath of the heartbreak going on beneath.
Reminding me of Bryan Adams Last Ditch is fast paced and works well. The punchy guitars deliver strident accompaniment to the rolling drum beat. It got my head nodding along and the chorus is catchy. There’s a Girl in my bedroom brings funky guitar tones, reminding me of Ben Folds both in vocal tone and the lyrics.
With a rich bass line The Faith has a sombre quality, with the guitars adding light and shade. This is the track which conveys the most emotion in the vocals, dark and brooding. The whole track is accomplished and well delivered.
Two to Hold is another track with a John Mellencamp feel, the vocals fit really well with the instrumentation of the track, having a lightness of tone which gets deeper when needed. Another head nodding track that is sure to be a crowd pleaser when played live. Bringing the album to a close The Long Way Around is soulful, atmospheric guitar adds sparks of light to lift the sonorous vocals .
Highway 45 is a journey into experiences that you may not have heard on one album before. For me the best tracks are the ones which have an edge to the lyrics and guitar tone, although there are crowd pleasers here too, moving feet and nodding heads.