Notes of Life – Eddie Lightner

It’s the rare artist that emerges fully formed courtesy of a debut album that somehow suggests he or she has been making music forever. Credit Eddie Lightner for accomplishing such a feat with his fine initial eight song outing titled, appropriately enough, Notes of Life. Not only does he prove himself to be a skilled singer and mandolin player, but a capable songwriter as well, an artist who manages to illuminate specific moods through his melodies. His obvious enthusiasm is borne from the sheer exuberance he exhibits as a picker and player, and yet it’s also clear that he has the ability to effectively relay those sentiments in song.

Taking advantage of a highly capable instrumental ensemble — specifically, Christopher Henry on guitars and harmony vocals, Malia Furtado contributing fiddle and harmonies, Chris Blauciak on upright bass and harmony vocals, Gina Furtado contributing banjo and shared vocals, and Matt Zuckerman on resonator guitar, lap steel and harmony vocals —  Lightner turns each track into a finely tuned, well-focused expression of emotion and engagement.

While Lightner’s lyrics consistently convey shared thoughts and feelings — examples being the album’s upbeat opener, What Took You So Long, the earnest and engaging Notes of Life, a sweet serenader titled Watermelon Moon, and the infectious sing-along provided by Back To the Mountain— the set’s concluding instrumental, Daybreak In Dixie, effectively sums up the spirit shared throughout. Here again, Lightner finds joy and jubilation in simple circumstance, and in so doing, offers inspiration for us all.

Ultimately, Notes of Life lives up to its title, while affirming its author’s credence and conviction. It’s nothing less than an astute example of how to turn the basics of bluegrass into a purely singular statement.

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About the Author

Lee Zimmerman

Lee Zimmerman has been a writer and reviewer for the better part of the past 20 years. He writes for the following publications — No Depression, Goldmine, Country Standard TIme, Paste, Relix, Lincoln Center Spotlight, Fader, and Glide. A lifelong music obsessive and avid collector, he firmly believes that music provides the soundtrack for our lives and his reverence for the artists, performers and creative mind that go into creating their craft spurs his inspiration and motivation for every word hie writes.