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Eric Heatherly

The Lower East Side of Life – 2005 (Koch Nashville)

Reviewed by David McPherson

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CDs by Eric Heatherly

This Tennessee troubadour and country-rock rebel drips attitude right from the opening guitar licks on this sophomore release. Since his critically acclaimed debut "Swimming in Champagne" (2000), this guitar slinger has had a roller coaster ride with the music industry, having produced and recorded two albums of material that never saw the light of day. These frustrations are chronicled in the 11 songs here.

The disc kicks off with "Judging Beauty." Driven by a catchy, repetitive guitar riff, this song looks at the superficial world we live in that often judges people and makes first impressions for all the wrong reasons. The best track is the title cut, a swamp, blues boogie that best epitomizes the songwriter's summation of the two sides of Nashville. Co-written with Jonnie Barnett, Heatherly sings that the "lower east side" is where "they play that country music/ The way they did before."

Heatherly has found a new home; it's a place where he can play that country music like the way he did before. He shows that with determination and dedication - despite the proliferation of Music Row created country acts - there is still room for honest, country songs.