One of my favorite singers, Eric Roberson, surprised fans with his album Hear from Here. The opening track “Road to Recovery” has a real hip hop jazz groove that I personally feel pays homage to the production styling of the late great J. Dilla.
The infectious groove continues on the next two tracks, “Omaha” and “Never Ever.” Produced by Anikan & Vader, the production mixes perfectly with Roberson’s harmonious vocals. Music purists will enjoy the Stevie Wonder flavored “Hurry Up.” Listening to the song, I can easily see Stevie grooving at the piano in the studio while Eric looks on proudly.
No stranger to ballads and slow jams, Roberson’s next three songs easily set up an inmate night for lovers. “Already Knew You” has excellent guitar by Dana Johnson. At the same time, “Soft Like You” finds Roberson delicately comparing a woman’s anatomy to various items which I won’t spoil here. “The closing song of Erro’s slow jam’s trilogy is “Tonight,” which finds Roberson reuniting with frequent collaborator Curt Chambers.
“Tonight” is my favorite song on the album and reminded me of something Prince would sing. A sensual song about intimacy that never comes off coarse or vulgar, this is the type of record where you grab your significant other, some cognac and snuggle by the fireplace. Eric then takes listeners on a musical journey about the complexity of the relationship with “Hope Will Have to Do.”
With a lush almost acoustic arraignment by Anikan & Vader, “Hope Will Have to Do “would feel right at home during a self-reflection montage of a romantic comedy. The song has a brisk two minute and twenty-second run time that I wish was longer. Before closing the album, Eric gives us one of his signature apology ballads with “Please Stay Around.” Featuring Dana Sorey on the piano and strings, it’s my second best song on the album.
Eric takes us to church on the album-closing song “Shining,” where he reunites with Brian Courtney Wilson. The duo who were a part of the gospel supergroup still sound great together, and their message about brighter days is just what the world needs right now.
On his seventeenth album in a twenty-year career, the singer known as Erro by his fans shows no signs of slowing down. Serving as the soundtrack of Roberson’s views of the world during the COVID pandemic, Hear from Here Is more than a testament to Roberson’s talent. The album can also serve as inspiration for other creatives during this trying time.
Album Highlights – “Tonight,” “Soft Like You,” “Hope Will Have To Do,” “Please Stay Around”
Final Grade A-