Musician and Columbus native Erica Blinn has gone from sharing the stage and a guitar with her father at a young age to touring around the country with some big names, including Blues Traveler, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Devon Allman.
As part of a series called Music Journeys, Mike Foley reports that Blinn's current release reflects on her past, present and future.
In some ways, Erica Blinn's latest material represents not just a softer side, but her real side. Though she moved to Nashville in the fall of 2015, central Ohio will always be home for Blinn. She attended Worthington schools and Ohio State University. Her earliest memories of music involve her dad either playing guitar or spinning records around the house.
"My dad always let me play with his vinyl, taught me how to use it properly and take care of it," Blinn said. "I think it just felt like music was always a part of me. My dad bought me Linda Ronstadt CDs when I was 7, and I thought this is what I want to do with my life."
So it seems fitting that for the first time in her career, Blinn's dad Jerry - a long time fixture in the Columbus music scene - plays on one of her new songs When I'm With Suzie (I Do What I Want).
"I had sat in with his band, but he had never sat in with mine," she reflected. "He came down to Nashville the day before the session started. We were having a rehearsal, and he started playing the bass line. And the guys just said, yes that is the thing for this song. It was exciting to look over and see my dad doing that with me for the first time."
Blinn's new 11-track Better Than Gold release reflects the transition of moving. Some songs were started back home and finished in Nashville. Others were started in her new home and finished in Columbus. The song Dreamer's Heart represents the constant doubts she's had about whether to continue musically.
"It's my life. It's kind of a positive song about some bummer stuff. Being in debt, wishing you had more time and wishing you hadn't worried about certain things when you were younger and just focused on the one thing that makes you happy."
But it's the doubts, according to Blinn, that represent the most important time to continue and stick it out - whatever the career.
"Really try to imagine what would happen if you stop doing the thing that you're doing and did something else," Blinn said. "Think about all the things that could be good about that, all the things that could be bad about that and just weigh those out. I think you'll know. For me, as soon as I start imaging myself in another position or doing anything else, I just know in my heart that would crush my soul. That would not work."
Besides the special moment with her dad and some genuine reflection, Blinn's favorite song on this collection comes at the very end with the track Loving You.
"I think I want to explore more of the Loving You sound, at least a little bit further in that direction. I'll never abandon the other sounds, but I think it's okay to be a little eclectic as well. I'm just writing songs that come to me. I'm not going to ignore a song just because it doesn't fit with the sound I have going already."
Blinn says Loving You almost didn't make it on the record because it was so different, but she stuck with it and says people have been really responding to that song. And that's the meaning of music for Blinn - to connect with the listener in a real way. She's certainly done that with her latest material.
Blinn's band teams up with Angela Perley & The Howlin' Moons for a limited-edition live split-vinyl release show March 30 at Thirty One West in Newark. The live recordings feature songs performed at Earthwork Studios. Both bands will play a full set to celebrate the project.
Bonus Blinn: One of my favorite songs is Don't You Be Lonely. In this additional segment, Blinn discusses how that song came together.
Music Journeys is dedicated to sharing good music and compelling stories from musicians in central Ohio and beyond. For comments, questions or to share your story, contact Mike Foley at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://twitter.com/RadioFoley