There are not too many folks out there throwing their two cents into the pool of musical currency who can say that they hail from as far north as Juneau, Alaska. So, it’s not a surprise to know that Tollefson’s creative oeuvre has been well informed by where he’s from. Especially considering that his sophomore effort is aptly entitled The Polar Ends.
Surrounded by the thunderous rhythm section of Jay Foote and Brian Jones, guitarist Sam Kearney and producer/engineer Rob Evans, Eric created an eight-track album where pure rock 'n' roll sits comfortably alongside lovelorn laments, and where mournful strings, swooping guitars, ethereal background vocals and purposeful tape hiss all make perfect sense.
About 90 seconds into the first track on The Polar Ends, “Tollefson plainly sets the tone: “Love will come racing through your veins,” he sings in his resolute baritone. “Who would’ve thought it’s a poisonous thing?” (“Heart On A String”)
The rest of the record’s songs are a deep and satisfying exhale, as if Tollefson sings primarily to rid his ribcage of the sorrow, satisfaction and rich stories that simmer within it. His sound breathes the doleful spirit of the blues yet pulses with savvy pop sensibility, whether he’s transmitting it via a muscular electric groove or a gorgeous, gently plucked acoustic guitar.
Because Tollefson tends to traverse a plethora of musical styles, it was an appropriate decision to engage two producers: the aforementioned Evans, who helmed the album’s rockers, such as “Whose Love” and “Vultures,” and the Franchot Tone, who produced “Heart on a String” and “Before You Go,” a staggeringly beautiful heartbreaker pulling in master pedal steel player Eric Heywood, (Son Volt and Ray LaMontagne, among others). The song also stands as The Polar Ends first focus track, sporting a nifty video, which has just premiered.
Taken as a whole, The Polar Ends is more than the next album from a confident young singer-songwriter. It feels like a vibrant introduction to a vital new recording artist.