Bill Eberle’s got “it”—“it” being that refreshingly relevant alt-country swagger, certified with a raspy voice full of grit and life experience, songwriting chops that are way beyond his years, and the ability to make people sit up, take notice, and respect the genre. Yep, I said it.
On February 12th, he unleashed Ashes, a five-song stunner of an EP, that tackles subject matter ranging from cheating lovers to troubling current events. “The inspiration for this record comes from a love of American roots music,” explains Eberle. “In making it, I had the desire to become a part of a tradition of folk singers who take what people have done before them and make it their own to some degree. Hopefully, in the record’s more successful moments, it achieves that.” Mission accomplished.
Referencing anarchist Emma Goldman, New York city slums, and gun violence victim Trayvon Martin in the EP’s title track, an profoundly impacted Eberle delicately delivers a state-of-affairs lament in the style of cowboy campfire blues, complete with a a yodel or two. The first song on the album, “Matter & Time”, progresses folk rock forward by taking on the persona of a lyrically contemporary two-step number that would feel right at home in any Texas dancehall. Then there’s my personal favorite, “Too Late To Take It All Back”, where the narrator catches a cheating lover in the act, but the nail in the coffin? “You keep saying that you miss me/But you let him drink my whiskey/And I ain’t inclined to let that one go”—priorities, y’all, priorities.
He also proves that you can appreciate and make amazing American roots music no matter where you were born; Pennsylvania native Eberle moved to the Music City to start a family with his wife, an artist, after time spent living in Brooklyn. “We moved here because we were drawn in by the community of people and artists here. So many of the friends we’ve made here are both kind-hearted and amazingly talented, which is a vicious combination,” he says. “Now we have both a child and a wonderful community around us, so we’re going to stick around.”
[Eberle will perform at a political fundraiser at The Basement East this Sunday, April 3rd, and will perform at Club Cafe in his hometown of Pittsburgh on April 15th. You can get your tickets here to check him out in Nashville, and here to see him in Pittsburgh.]