Old Rigs, the long delayed second album from Erie Choir, is a love letter to a life spent playing music with friends, the bonds formed and dissolved, and what comes after. Begun in the early 2000’s in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, as a quieter outlet for Sorry About Dresden’s Eric Roehrig, Erie Choir released their debut album, Slighter Awake, in 2006 on Sit-n-Spin Records. More than a decade later, after marriages, graduate school, children, careers, a move out-of state, etc. and several stops and starts, in November 2017, Erie Choir will finally release the follow-up, which the group began recording in 2010, on Potluck Records.
On Old Rigs, Erie Choir chronicles the bitterness of dead end jobs and diminished expectations, the realization of hearing a friend’s song playing overhead while grocery shopping, the heartbreak and frustration of failed romances and unrealized ambition, and, finally, coming to terms with these things and moving on. The lyrics reference songs and bands both obscure and well known, and speak to years spent in practice spaces, empty clubs, and shitty jobs. For most, what’s left after those years isn’t a career or fame, but friendship and community.
In 2016, Roehrig and drummer James Hepler’s long-time Sorry About Dresden bandmate Matt Oberst passed away. While all the songs on Old Rigs were written prior to his death, the album’s meditation on friendship and loss serve in some small way as a tribute to their friend.
Recorded by by Nick Petersen at Track and Field Recording (Mount Moriah, Jake Xerxes Fussell)
In addition to the regular Erie Choir line-up of Roehrig, Bob Wall, James Hepler,, and Jack Watson, the album features the Hercules Europe Brass (Jeff Herrick, David Garfield, Hank Pellerin), Brandon Whitesell (Porch Light Apothecary) on piano/keyboard, Chris Gilchrist on lap steel, and Sara Bell (Shark Quest, Lud) and Joyce Ventimiglia (Today’s Forecast) on backup vocals
Reviews for Slighter Awake: