By LEE WARD

The daily Independent

ASHLAND Music always had a place in Eric Bolander’s life.

“My older brother and sister had a big influence on the music I was exposed to, with some influence from my parents,” the 37-year-old Garrison native said. “My brother was rocking out Motely Crue while my sister had Michael Jackson, Prince and other ’80s pop stars on repeat. Dad’s favorite singer was always Don Williams. I couldn’t tell you how many times I was in the back seat of Dad's Monte Carlo listening to Don Williams on eight track while Dad whistled along.”

These and other influences combine in Bolander’s own work as a solo artist and as a member of the rock band Alcatraz Shakedown.

Bolander is lead singer and rhythm guitar player for the band, whose records — “Right Side of What’s Left” and the EP “Light the Cannons” are available online. “Alcatraz Shakedown is rock and roll with an alternative flare,” he said, noting grunge was popular during his teen years and he became a fan of Soundgarden, Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Stone Temple Pilots. “Chris Cornell (of Soundgarden and Audioslave) quickly became one of my favorite singers, both in vocal quality/ability, and lyric writing,” he said.

Yet, Bolander retained more traditional tastes that likely were handed down through his parents.

“My mom’s family had some pickers that I never knew about until recently,” he said. “Mom’s grandfather had, at one point, played with Flat and Scruggs.

“My dad had friends that played music as well. Bluegrass music was always around if you wanted to hear it back in Lewis County. With Poppy Mountain being a close drive and a local sorghum fest, bluegrass pickin’ was close by.”

In yet another musical departure, Bolander calls R and B artist Sam Cooke his favorite singer.

“Often times, I’ll warm up for a gig by singing ‘Cupid,’” he said.

Bolander’s solo projects are “Postcards to Myself” and “The Wind,” which was released last month. They are available from online music sources and from ericbolander.com.

“I consider my solo music to be Americana folk with a soulful vocal approach.,” he said. “The Wind,” which was recorded and produced by Duane Lundy of Shangri La studios in Lexington, is available on a 12-inch vinyl LP which can be purchased at ericbolander.com.

While music permeates his life, Bolander also is a visual artist. He has a bachelor of fine arts in painting and a bachelor of arts in art education from the University of Kentucky. He earned a master of art education at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and is in his 12th year of teaching at Henry Clay High School in Lexington. He teaches drawing, computer art, photography and AP studio art.

“I really enjoy the visual art aspect of my job and how it ties into my design work for my albums and show posters,” he said. “This gives me full creative control over my solo work and allows me to custom fit all facets of the project together to become cohesive.”

Bolander will perform at 8 p.m. Nov. 4 at The Peddler in Huntington with Bryan Minks and Jeremy Roberts.

(606) 326-2661 |

lward@dailyindependent.com

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