Music review: Eric and the DiMarzios

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 29, 2011

By Sarah Hall
For the Salisbury Post
If you are looking for something new to listen to during this winter break, you may want to consider Eric and the DiMarzios.
That’s both the name of the band, and the title of their recently released debut EP. This Chapel Hill alternative folk group has become a campus favorite and is poised to introduce their music beyond the Triangle Area with this album.
The frontman and driving force for the group is singer/songwriter/guitarist Eric DiMarzio. Their sound has drawn comparisons to Mumford and Sons and the Avett Brothers with its fusion of folk and rock, and a bluegrass tinge added by fiddler Willem Lutter. The other “DiMarzios” rounding out the band are Chris Wright, bass; Will Wright, piano; and Rushi Gajjar, drums.
Eric is a Salisbury native who earned a degree in vocal performance at UNC and he is currently pursuing a Masters in music as well. His rich tenor voice exhibits the control that comes from vocal training while keeping a warm, folk sound well-suited for his songs.
The album commences with the rollicking “My Offbeat Heart,” which has one of those catchy refrains that makes you want to sing along. The next track stays upbeat with “The Long Walk Back from Hinton James.” Even those who have not experienced life in a Carolina dormitory can relate to freshman attempts at establishing a social life.
The song “Lucy” stands out musically, an example of strong songwriting. It should serve as a compass for Eric as he charts his future music course.
The song “Catching Up” returns to a driving bluegrass-ish style found in the earlier songs. But then “Let it Burn” provides contrast and some drama, advice based on experience set to three-quarter time.
The songs vary musically, but all six tracks on the EP revolve lyrically around a theme of unrequited love. Still, with most of the songs there’s an optimistic mood that belies regret and instead suggests hope, or at least resignation. In the song “Lucy,” Eric follows his father’s advice: “don’t let your head get in the way of what your heart sets out to do.” (That could apply to both love and making music.) And the song “If it Burns” echoes Tennyson’s philosophy, “ ’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
With the thread of yearning and unsuccessful attempts at romance running throughout the album, one would hope that by the end of the last song the singer will finally find Miss Right. But alas, it’s not to be. “Someone Else’s Song” is a pensive ballad of lost love.
The songs are simple and direct and make for good listening for those who enjoy the alternative folk sound. Whether you commiserate and resonate with the theme of lost love or not, this album is worth a listen.
The EP is available in digital format as well as on a disc, and can be found on iTunes or ordered through the band’s website: