Is it okay to be proud of where one comes from even if that past is far from perfect? Can a country learn from the scars of its past and build something greater than any flawed, hand-me-down patriotism could ever encapsulate? According to New Jersey-born-and-raised folksinger and songwriter Jason Erie, the answer is a resounding “yes.” On Erie’s new full-length album, Tiny Fires, he spearheads a rebuilding effort, employing his signature hyper-sensory poeticism in intimate, harrowing portraits of the common man’s oft disregarded depth and frailty. With sharp lyrical jabs like “Even God’s been shopping on Amazon” or “At least we have a McDonald’s now,” Erie explores everything from modern consumerism to isolation, attempting to reconcile the marred realities of the U.S. of A. and the flawed system passed down by its forebears. With that said, Erie’s message on Tiny Fires runs far deeper than any run-of-the-mill, partisan protest record. Rather, it is an inherently unifying exposé on what it means to be human in a seemingly smoldering world and to find a home in its ashes. Fans can also stay tuned to upcoming news pertaining to Tiny Fires at jasoneriemusic.com.
Over the course of 12 songs, Tiny Fires takes the listener across a sonic landscape that manages to incorporate everything from intimate acoustic ballads to raucous rock anthems—all of which showcase Erie’s unmatched versatility. Ultimately, whereas producer Brett Ryan Stewart (Wirebird Productions) creates a masterful musical backdrop for the record, it is Erie’s extraordinary lyrical content and the consistency of his heart which ties the whole collection together. Where the first half of Tiny Fires is brimming with raw, dystopian hopelessness, in the latter half, the listener is greeted by a coming to terms of sorts. Erie seemingly begins taking ownership of his own role as a father, son, American, and human being. Perhaps the most obvious illustration of this empowerment comes in the song “Sins of my Father”—a marching rock track that seems equal parts anthem and dirge. In it, the perspective is taken of a son grappling with the troubled history of his father and his own identity within that lineage. Certainly, the lyrics are deeply personal to Jason. “I’ve always been close to my dad and realize now that he worked really hard not to become his father. Thanks to that I get to say I hope to become more like him. Now that I am a father, this song serves as a reminder that trauma does not define who we are.” On another layer, the lyrics are also undoubtedly relevant to Americans forced to question their own collective history, the sins of their forefathers. It seems to beg some very important questions.
More About Jason Erie: Within only a few years in Nashville, Jason has established himself as a must-know act in the renowned East Nashville Americana scene and a rising star in the Americana scene abroad. His first studio offering The Art of Letting Go garnered widespread critical acclaim and landed the #28 slot on the Roots Music Report Americana chart. The Music Mermaid said, “The thing about Erie is that he’s not just a wildly talented musician — he’s a poet, a gut-puncher, a soul-shaker, an artist so in tune with the special ways that words can be spun. Not all singer-songwriters can do this, but somehow Erie does it all.” This sentiment seems to be shared by anyone who has witnessed Jason’s live performances throughout his tours of the North and Southeast U.S.—as evidenced by his victory in the 2019 Eddie Owens Presents: Songwriter Shootout in Duluth, GA. Past winners of this competition include John Mayer, Shawn Mullins, Clay Cook, Jennifer Nettles, Tyler Childers, and Elliot Bronson.