Erik Brandt | The Long Winter

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The Long Winter

by Erik Brandt

"The Long Winter by Erik Brandt is a beautiful album. What really blows my mind and influenced my thinking is the continuity of the performance. A "must buy" album." - John Shelton Ivany. May 2012
Genre: Rock: Americana
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Greater Than
3:43 $0.99
2. Don't Let It Happen to You
3:01 $0.99
3. Anywhere But Here
3:49 $0.99
4. A Poison Tree
3:53 $0.99
5. Hard Life
3:40 $0.99
6. Wherever You Go
2:35 $0.99
7. The Darkest Night of the Year
2:55 $0.99
8. I Drove Past Your House Today
2:50 $0.99
9. Tuesday Morning Again
3:00 $0.99
10. Thoughtless
4:00 $0.99
11. Was There a Time Before You?
2:01 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
PRESS RELEASE for “The Long Winter” – Erik Brandt

Erik Brandt is a Twin Cities-based multi-instrumentalist and singer known for his work with his group The Urban Hillbilly Quartet. Since 1995, Erik and the UHQ have released 10 albums and toured most of the United States, Canada and the UK. For his third solo release, The Long Winter (House of Mercy Recordings, 2012), Brandt enlisted the help of his old musical co-conspirator, Alex Oana (Romantica, Spy Mob, Storyhill) to produce and helm the recording ship. It seems the stars were aligned for this recording project. With the assistance of many generous friends and the understanding of Erik’s family, they cleared out Brandt’s home, set up a professional studio in it, and spent a hot and humid week in July tracking Brandt’s most cohesive and fully realized work to date. The 11 tracks cover a wide swath of music—from indie rock to country to jazz and folk—but share a unifying thematic connection.

Many musicians came together to make this album possible. In particular, the contributions of the UHQ’s Jeremy Szopinski (guitar), Dave Strahan (guitar, banjo) and Noah Riemer (drums) along with Romantica’s Ben Kyle on harmonies, Luke Jacobs (Carrie Rodriguez) on bass and pedal steel, Dan Newton (Café Accordion Orchestra) on accordion and additional harmonies from Chris Larson (House of Mercy Band) and others brought the album together.

Brandt’s many musical influences shine on this solo recording. “Greater Than” merges heartfelt lyrics with evocative electric guitar and driving drums. “Don’t Let It Happen To You” and “Anywhere But Here” create vivid images of troubled protagonists set to amped up Americana rock. A fuzzed out bass and Wurlitzer tell the hauntingly dark story of William Blake’s poem “A Poison Tree” set to music (Brandt is a high school English teacher, after all…). “Wherever You Go” heralds a turning point in the album, with lush acoustic guitars and piano, and steers the remainder of the album into a contemplative, quieter mode, where the songs commemorate losses, address difficult times and touch upon the joys and tribulations of parenting.

With his group the Urban Hillbilly Quartet and on his own, Erik Brandt has performed live at venues from Oakland, CA to NYC, and from pubs in Britain to clubs in Australia. In Minnesota he has appeared at clubs, theaters and premier events. The UHQ has released eight CDs, picking up a Minnesota Music Award (and several nominations) and glowing reviews along the way. Erik’s 2006 first solo CD Green Eyed Alone drew praise from critics and fans. The Pioneer Press called it a “warm and engaging disc” and Pulse of the Twin Cities called it “a great CD accessible to everyone.” Erik’s follow up 2009 solo CD Sometimes, was called “a diamond in the rough, well-crafted, richly romantic, Jayhawks-evoking country-folk recorded with loving clarity…” by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“Giving himself the freedom to explore all possibilities, St. Paul, Minnesota singer/songwriter Erik Brandt lets go with his eclectic, third solo project, “The Long Winter.” The frontman for the Urban Hillbilly Quartet steps out here with his own dark-but-hopeful blend of folk, country, rock ‘n’ roll and jazz.”
Janet Goodman. Music News Nashville. April 2012

“The Long Winter” is Brandt’s third solo slab and the best thing I can say is that it has me wanting to explore his entire back catalog. Brandt mixes elements of rock, country,
jazz and folk into the enjoyable 11-track release that consistently piques my interest.”
Jeffrey Sisk. The Daily News (PA). Feb 2012

“Heretofore known as a rootsy/Americana tunesmith, Urban Hillbilly Quartet leader Erik Brandt branches out into rockier and stormier territory around some raw, moody ballads on his new album, "The Long Winter.””
Chris Riemenschneider. The Star Tribune (Mpls). Feb 2012

“Brandt and his supporting cast of collaborators certainly throw their stylistic net far and wide with this collection, taking in sweet 'n' sharp power-pop with a Jayhawk-esque slant on opener ‘Greater Than’, to crunchier country rock on ‘Don’t Let It Happen To You’, to the fairly standard low-slung Blues-Rock of ‘Anywhere But Here’. But even by these standards, the hushed bluesy jazz of ‘Thoughtless’ (including clarinet solo) near the album's close is a curveball that somehow pays off well.”
Ian Fildes. April 2012

"The Long Winter by Erik Brandt is a beautiful album. What really blows my mind and influenced my thinking is the continuity of the performance. A "must buy" album."
John Shelton Ivany. May 2012

“If superlatives come strong enough to do master singer-songsmith Erik Brandt’s The Long Winter (House of Mercy Recordings) justice, they escape this reviewer.
Long-time head honcho of storied veterans the Urban Hillbilly Quartet, Brandt pulls off a true tour de force with ingenious, eclectic originality, some of strongest songwriting you’re likely to ever come across. … Bottom line, the man is a musician’s musician. Erik Brandt’s The Long Winter is one of those rare finds you’re going to find yourself yammering about to friends, family, and anyone else you can get to still long enough to listen.”
Dwight Hobbes. Mar 2012

‘The Long Winter,is a very catchy, poppy, and approachable record that just about anyone could listen to …It incorporates a little bit of everything, from Swing and Americana to synth–driven dream pop.”
Daniel Erickson. April 2012

“If you like songwriters who write intelligent lyrics and really have something to say, then Erik Brandt is right up your alley.”
Kristyn. Pop Culture Madness. June 2012



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