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Green Eyed Alone
Artist: Erik Brandt 
Label: Mercy Recordings 
Length: 13 tracks / 37:20

With his first solo studio album, The Urban Hillbilly Quartet’s Erik Brandt enlists the help of several incredible Twin Cities-area musicians—including fellow UHQ’ers Jeremy Szopinski and Peter Karman, award-winning producer Alex Oana, Noah Reimer (formerly of Wisconsin-based Ticklepenny Corner), and Tim O’Reagan of the renown Minneapolis band The Jayhawks—to present a hearty batch of savory, “stick to your ribs” tunes that smack of smart songwriting.

From the unforgettable, three-four swing of “Shooting Star,” to the poppy charm of “Dent,” Brandt successfully combines cultivated musical sensibility with lyrical shrewdness. Consider such lines as the brutally honest, “The echoes in the street go unanswered / Disappointment spreads like cancer” (from “Obsolesense”) and the only-from-an-English-teacher slant rhyme of “Your hand on my arm as we walk through the grass / Your cheek touches mine in a giddiness” (“Shooting Star”).

Interspersed throughout Brandt’s authentic alt-country melodies and tasteful, vintage-toned guitar work are brief piano sketches ranging from 45 seconds to 2 minutes. Though these interludes are somewhat delightful, they beg for completion—their own tender melody and insightful lyrics to lift them from filler to feature. It should be noted, however, that Brandt finally does deliver on his previously empty piano promises in the stark, echoing closer, fittingly titled, “The End.”

Kudos to studio ON FIRE and illustrators Ben Levitz and Andrew DeVore for the amazing packing with this disc: _Green Eyed Alone_ should win awards for innovation, eye-appeal and overall effect. 

Recommended if you like Jayhawks, Ryan Adams, Wilco, Daniel Amos, Ticklepenny Corner.

Greg Adams



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