Erick Koskinen’s Burning the Deal

By Brian Rock

As the summer heat is burning our lawns, Erik Koskinen’s fourth studio album is Burning The Deal. Continuing in his critically acclaimed earnest, honest, and organic style; Koskinen produces poetic, slice-of-life snapshots in a Jim Lauderdale meets James McMurtry tone and style. Celebrating the spaces between life’s highs and lows, Koskinen explores the daily grind of the common man.

“Ordinary Fool,” for example deals with living in the wake of bad decisions, as he sings, “I done things so wrong since the break of dawn, and I’m living with the curse.” Sparse drum and Hammond organ punctuate the song like a heavy heart beating slowly. Then when all seems lost, heartbreakingly beautiful steel guitar plays majestic strains of hope like a guardian angel lifting a weary soul. After further reflection, he realizes he could have done things better; he also could have done worse. In the end, “as your stars at night fall away from sight, I’m just your ordinary fool.”

“Losers Like Me and You,” continues the theme with melancholy lyrics and a sparse, atmospheric melody that is once again elevated by subtle steel guitar strains. Singing, “The sun don’t shine on losers like me and you. And I ain’t paying nobody nothing for something I can do,” Koskinen admits a measure of defeat, but also claims a measure of success by maintaining his independence. More importantly he acknowledges that the greatest success is just having someone to share life’s ups and downs with, even if the downs seem to outnumber the ups.

The gritty, “Down In The Factory,” the dream-like “Crazy,” and the bluesy “Sell Out,” all share different takes on the working man’s blues. With a voice as ragged and direct as calloused hands, Koskinen sings the praises of those who labor in anonymity but who are more essential than any celebrity.

Koskinen does allow himself a few “glass half full” moments as well. “Pony To Ride” uses syncopated percussion to declare his fierce independence, singing; “I don’t need no automobile, I got my pony to ride. If we’re riding through Hell, I’ll see you on the other side.” “Big Plane” expresses the joy of anticipation in returning home to his lover. He even expresses a bit of unbridled joy as he plugs in the electric guitars for the uptempo Country/Blues/Rock fusion of “Darlin’.”

For those of us who work for a living, “the deal,” is that we give up a portion of our lives, doing what we don’t like in exchange for money to spend on the people and experiences we do like. Burning the deal means walking away from the security of that arrangement – either by living outside the law or by finding a way to get paid for doing what we actually enjoy doing. Thankfully for us, Erik Koskinen is burning the deal by pursuing his love of making music; even while singing songs about the rest of us, still living the “deal.”  |   fb  /   buy

Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

Latest posts by Brian Rock (see all)

Comments are closed.