Published Feb 27, 2007With roots rock icon Charlie Sexton producing, Peter Elkas and friends step up on Wall of Fire, a wonderful batch of soulful rocknroll. Though Elkas is proud of his focus, the former Local Rabbit is an eclectic songwriter who tastefully tends to a range of interests and guitar-driven sounds. Grounded in classic soul and R&B, Elkas still blurs genres, seamlessly moving from sweet folk to soft pop to romantic rock with earnest sincerity, crafting a timeless sound all his own. That said, Wall of Fire is very much a collaborative effort; Elkas finally has a steady band (jokingly named the "Elka-holics) and that camaraderie has led to fully realised songs and a cohesive album. Despite some heavy, heartbreak-oriented subject matter, rockers like "Fall Apart Again and beautifully arranged pop songs like "Sweet Nancy and "Something Beaming possess an infectious spirit, and the players pride is palpable. The lovely title track conjures the Band (with George Harrison sitting in on a solo) for its sweeping, impassioned performance, while live staple "Darling See finds Elkas flirting with playful machismo. Every song shines like a gem and Wall of Fire is more proof that Peter Elkas is one of the most talented popsmiths in the world.
How was working with Charlie Sexton?
This was probably the finest recording experience Ive had because it really came together for the band; we really bonded musically and personally, and Charlie got right in there too. For such a "cool cat, Charlies very willing to goof around and hes quite a mimic; he imitated Dylan and some times we thought Christopher Walken was in the room.
Is this record a departure?
Its only different from my previous writing style in that hopefully its better. On the last Local Rabbits record, I stumbled upon something that was working for my voice: soul and R&B. I think Charlie was nervous when I mentioned those styles to him but the songs were in that vein, so they came off as believable.
And it feels like youre in a band again?
I have a slight feeling of fraudulence referring to the project without a band name attached because theyre a huge part of it. Its funny when you think about Springsteen, the E Street Band werent inducted into the Hall of Fame because their name doesnt appear on the records. Thats kind of a shame. Actually, I feel worse about Springsteen than I do me. (MapleMusic)