Erik Balkey | My Sacred Heart

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Folk: Modern Folk Country: Country Folk Moods: Type: Lyrical
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My Sacred Heart

by Erik Balkey

Poetic, compelling songs from the heart from award-winning wordsmith, produced with a fine touch and finesse.
Genre: Folk: Modern Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. What Good Am I
2:54 album only
2. If God Is An Apple
3:10 album only
3. From New Jersey
3:16 album only
4. Eyes Wide Open
3:52 album only
5. If A Song Could Save Your Soul
2:58 album only
6. My Own Reason Why
3:15 album only
7. Homeward Bound
2:55 album only
8. Carnival For The Church Of The Sacred Heart
2:52 album only
9. House of Cards
3:51 album only
10. Second Place
2:32 album only
11. He's My Dad
1:57 album only
12. Peace Come Christmas Day
2:36 album only
13. BONUS TRACK - Art of the Song radio interview
31:32 album only


Album Notes
An engaging mix of honesty, intimacy and humor. An agile voice accompanied by sparse and deliberate guitar work. Dirty Linen Magazine says, "Balkey's confident delivery and sparse arrangements frame the songs with uncommon poise."

Erik Balkey has been on the road since January 2002. Keeping just a post office box in Philadelphia, he has taken to the highway with his guitar and notebook as well as paint brushes and rollers. He picks up interior house painting jobs to sustain his travels, and performs all over the country from Maine to Texas, Florida to Chicago covering over 50,000 miles annually. Among recent honors, Balkey was named a Kerrville New Folk Winner in 2005 and was selected for a Top-12 DIY feature in the January 2006 issue of Performing Songwriter magazine. His recent recording, "Mission Street Project," caught the attention of Peter Yarrow (Peter, Paul and Mary) who called the socially relevent collection "important, very important."

Prior to choosing a life on the road, Balkey began songwriting as part of the Red Bank, NJ music scene in 1994 before a four-year stint in New York City. Among the songwriters in the city, Balkey listened and learned as an active volunteer and performer as part of the Fast Folk Cafe scene of the nineties. His releases include:
- Negotiations & Compromise (2002)
- God's Poet Now (2003) (a tribute to Dave Carter)
- While the Paint Dries (2004)
- Sanctuary Road (2005)
- Mission Street Project: Liberty Tree (2006)
- My Sacred Heart (2007)

Legendary Philadelphia radio deejay, Michael Tearson wrote in SingOut! Magazine, "These songs are literate, exacting portraits in amber... Nicely played and beautifully recorded." His albums contain songs that have garnered Balkey recognition in over a dozen songwriting competitions across the country including being named Kerrville New Folk Winner in 2005 as well as finalist at the Mountain Stage New Song Festival songwriting competition in 2003 and 2004. In 2006, his song "Cut 'em Down" caught the attention of Paul Stookey (Peter, Paul and Mary), Judy Collins, Tom Paxton, Christine Lavin and other judges when it took 2nd Place at the national "Music To Life" songwriting competition.

In 2006 Balkey has written or co-written over three dozen songs. Among his writing collaborators are Johnsmith, Jonathan Byrd, Amy Speace, Tom Prasada-Rao, Cary Cooper, Freebo and Pat Wictor. Some of the new songs are gathered on Balkey's two recent releases, "Mission Street Project" and "My Sacred Heart." His current recordings include performances from, among others, Tom Prasada-Rao, Cary Cooper, Pat Wictor, Beth Wood, Chris Chandler, the Dreamsicles, Jonathan Byrd, Laurie MacAllister, and Duke Levine (formerly in Mary Chapin Carpenter's band).



to write a review

Greg Hoefer

The Best Album of 2007 is here already
This CD is the best yet of what is becoming a stellar catalog of great work. Erik's songwriting and musicianship have never been stronger. The lyrics are important without preaching and the music is very strong. This is a must for every fan of independent singer-songwriters. And it never hurts to always include a Dylan song.

Peter Kessler

Wonderful music and lyrics as ever. Top notch!

Minor 7th Webzine

A synthesizer note swells and floats through space, the first sound you hear on "My Sacred Heart." It declares that Erik Balkey (produced on this release by the still-underappreciated Tom Prasada-Rao of The Dreamsicles) will use a wider sonic palette than before. Balkey still writes lovely, instantly hummable melodies and delivers them in a sweet, high hush. But there’s more work here with dynamics (the full stop in "Eyes Wide Open," the tempo changes for the middle section of "From New Jersey") and some suitable genre-hopping (the old timey feel of "Second Place," a ragtime vibe for "Peace Come Christmas Day"). Balkey has also shifted the focus of his precise lyrical lens. He looks within in this album, in a turn from the socially conscious story songs of his last album, The Mission Street Project, to more confessional writing. There are some strong autobiographical elements. Balkey did run a marathon ("My Own Reasons Why") and he is "From New Jersey." But the central theme of the album finds Balkey’s sacred heart seeking answers to life’s most persistent questions. To put a stamp on that search, Balkey opens the CD by revitalizing the relatively obscure Dylan tune "What Good Am I?" from "Oh, Mercy." (The other cover, Paul Simon’s "Homeward Bound," is less revelatory.) The gospel influenced "If God is an Apple," asks a different set of questions. "Eyes Wide Open," the standout number, wonders, "Could I walk these streets eyes wide open?" with lovely harmony from Cary Cooper (The Dreamsicles’ other half and Prasada-Rao’s better half). The album also showcases Balkey’s lighter side with humorous songs like "Carnival For The Church Of The Sacred Heart," the perfect place to learn about sin. "My Sacred Heart" finds a serious artist expanding his reach with an inward look both thoughtful and tuneful.

Gert van den Hof

This album is very good. And the desert is an interview with the artist at the end, where he explains his writing. Very amusing. And his songs are so very good, that I don't understand he isn't very known as an excellent singer-songwriter

Rob Lincoln,

Another fine collection of songs from the increasingly prolific award-winning so
In My Sacred Heart, his sixth CD in as many years, Erik Balkey explores new territory while still remaining grounded in the best aspects of acoustic singer-songwriting. From the opening track, an intimate yet powerful reading of Dylan's What Good Am I? through the various originals, Balkey creates a sense of immediacy with his quiet understated delivery of his material. (for more of this review, go to