Tonight: Sully Erna @ The Egg
Story and photograph by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Multi-instrumentalist Sully Erna, the frontman and uber vocalist for the internationally loved hard rock outfit Godsmack, pleasantly stunned his fans in 2011 by briefly leaving his rock star persona behind and releasing his debut solo album, Avalon. The beautifully crafted album was marked by a superb ensemble effort performing a heavenly mix of flowing melodies with intertwining vocal harmonies and loads of percussive polyrhythms that bristled with a worldly range of tonal colors.
At that time Erna’s sold-out Avalon tour stop at The Egg’s Hart Theatre was a revelation to fans of his broad compositional talents, piano acumen and vocal range.
Now five years later, Erna has released his sophomore solo album, Hometown Life. With some of the same studio collaborators that he used for Avalon – including cellist Irina Chirkova – his creative direction this time out has taken turn away from the complexity of Avalon to a more streamlined and softer pop-rock musical approach. Many of the ten songs on the recording are a tribute to his growing up in Lawrence, Mass., and feature him on acoustic guitar, piano and percussion. The textural undercurrents in the songs on Hometown Life mix elements of jazz, classical, blues and folk with an old-school rock approach.
Hitting the road to share the new music of Hometown Life with his fans, Erna has invited Tim Theriault (guitar and backing vocals) to accompany him on stage. Gone are the elaborate multi-media presentations of the Avalon tour, and by downsizing to just two musicians, the focus is firmly placed on Erna’s voice propelling the lyrics over the music in its simplest form and an intimate context. Like the album’s title, Hometime Life, this is Sully Erna’s return to his roots and the musical styles that he’s held dear throughout his evolution as a songwriter, musician and performer.