Melding the earthy, rock 'n' roll aesthetic of Bruce and his E Street Band with the progressive college pop of Coldplay, Ben Folds and Badly Drawn Boy, Eric James makes music that represents a unique dichotomy: arty pop music without shoegazing pretensions. "While I get a lot of comparisons to Coldplay, which these days seems to go hand in hand with touching a piano at any point in the set, I have a lot of respect for Springsteen,' says Eric. 'He's had a lot of things to say and has always found an artful way of saying them."
Heart-on-his-sleeve honestly is a fundamental part of Eric James' music. This openness allows Eric to explore deeply resonating subjects with a clever but non-posturing attitude. "I'm a fan of a lot of bands out there who would be labeled as pretentious. I honestly don't really have a problem with them - I just choose not to approach my music that way."
He first gained national recognition as the principle member and guitarist for The Cool Grand, the sunny Pittsburgh pop outfit who broke out regionally in 2002, earning significant regional airplay, and moved 5,000+ copies of their indie releases before disbanding in mid-2003. "You know how it is with bands,' Eric recounts, 'you feel like you have your whole life in order, more and more people are coming to shows, things are working...then the singer quits. Perfect. Of course, these are things that make you push yourself into something better."
Better indeed. Before TCG had even played their last gig Eric was already off and running. "The day of our last show, I had already booked studio time and requested more credit on my Visa," he recalls. "Rushing into the solo thing was a purging for me. In many ways I'd been hiding behind the band a bit - this forced me to take center stage with my music. It has been a daunting but exhilarating experience."
The resulting self-titled EP, hailed by Pittsburgh Pulp as "poetically moving and candid", sold out its initial pressing in less than a month and served to affirm Eric James as a notable artist is his own right. Pittsburgh radio trendsetter WYEP began spinning the disc and featured Eric in its Year-In-Review programs. In February '04, he recorded a version of The Velvet Underground's "I Found A Reason" for MTV's Lit Riffs, a soundtrack and collection of short stories inspired by lyrics from notable songs.
In 2005, Eric James began work with noted producer John Fields (Wheat, Switchfoot, Evan & Jaron, Sheryl Crow). From the heartfelt yearning of "Daylight", to the anthemic scope of "Long Road For The Lonely", the recordings capture James and all of his expanding potential. After opening the year doing a two-week tour with The New Century (the latest incarnation of James' live band), Eric is now in the studio finishing work on his national debut, doing as many live gigs as he can, and attracting new fans everywhere he goes.