Eric KallioMountain songwriter examines natural processes on second album posted on 08/31/2019
Local guitar player Eric Kallio refers to his songwriting as
a product of glass, wood and steel. These raw materials represent his approach
to writing music with guitars that are played with a glass slide, a steel bar
and a standard flat-pick.
On his second album “Life Force,” Kallio, a resident of
Government Camp where he has managed the Reed College ski cabin since 2010,
expands his approach to include a wider array of instrumentation as he
contemplates themes taken from the natural world and his experiences in
wilderness. The album will be released Sept. 2, 2019.
“The last ten years
of my life have been experienced on Mount Hood,” Kallio said about the
mountain’s impact on his desire to explore the natural world through his
songwriting. “(These songs) are from my experiences in the outdoors and the
beauty and complexity of nature.”
Kallio is originally from northern Virginia and began
playing six-string guitar in 1991. At a young age he began developing his
playing style from a mixture of folk, blues, country, Americana, jazz and roots
In 2012 Kallio shifted the focus of his guitar playing to
traditional slide guitar techniques and began incorporating square-neck and
round-neck resonator guitars along with his dreadnought guitar. He found new
creative possibilities playing these instruments with slides which allow him to
mimic the subtle phrasings of the human voice.
Kallio released his first solo acoustic album in 2016
entitled "Glass Wood & Steel." The album was the result of a
quick week-long session with a producer with arrangements limited to
performances on his three guitars.
For his second album Kallio decided to take on the
production role himself with assistance from his brother Adam Kallio. This
decision came from a desire to incorporate other musicians and experiment with
“Life Force” was recorded over a year-and-a-half by Kallio
at his home and in Portland.
“(The second album) is like a painting made over a long
period of time as opposed to a quick attack,” Kallio said. “I appreciated not
being on the clock and having more mental space.”
The album features Kallio’s cousin Kip Jones on violin,
Portland flute-maker Kyle Neidig on flute, djembe and percussion, and Portland
musician Matt Brewster on cajón and percussion. Kallio also picks up the bass
and additional percussion on several songs as the musicians establish intricate
Instrumentals such as the title-track “Life Force” and
“Tributary” showcase slide playing in Appalachia-tinged tributes to the natural
world. Kallio adds vocals and additional backing to “Fire Season,” “Rain” and
“Snow” as he reflects on the influence of these natural processes. On “Warrior”
and “We Love,” layered percussion and pulsing bass add a reggae-influenced
groove to the album.
Kallio will be appearing at the Skyway Bar and Grill, 71545
E. Hwy. 26 in Zigzag, on Saturday, Sept. 28 and at the Ranger Station, 4260 SE
Hawthorne Blvd. in Portland, Friday, Sept. 13 to perform the new album. He will
be performing both shows as a duo with Matt Brewster on percussion.
Fans of the Grateful Dead can watch Kallio perform songs
from the band’s catalog with Fingers & Chilly at the Timberline Labor Day
Mountain Music Festival’s tribute at noon, Monday, Sept. 2 at the Timberline
More information about the upcoming album release and
performances can be found online at www.erickallio.com.
By Benjamin Simpson/MT