A Review of the CD
"Looking Out The Fishbowl"
by Eddie From Ohio

"Looking Out The Fishbowl"
by Eddie From Ohio

Copyright 1999 VSR 006
Virginia Soul Records
P.O. Box 7431
McLean, VA 2106

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 12/99
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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No, Virginia, there is no Eddie From Ohio. Er...let me try that again. There is an Eddie From Ohio but there really isn't an Eddie From Ohio. Got that? No? What I'm trying to say is...what am I trying to say? There are four musicians who comprise the group Eddie From Ohio, one is named Eddie but he isn't from Ohio. Glad I could set you straight...now explain it to me.

Michael Clem, Robbie Schaeffer, Julie Murphy Wells and (sounds of trumpets) the dubiously-named Eddie Hartness are the members of EFO and they carry on their playfulness past their moniker hijinks well into their music. Theirs is a quite often unique, tongue-in-cheek, just a little off-beat presentation, whether it be of quirky humor or more sober matters.

"Stupid American" opens the release, a percussion-driven, danceable number that takes a poke at American cultural pedestrianism abroad. Too often expressed and exposed, our faux pas unfortunately make Americans the easiest group to spot in a foreign country.

Recognition, displacement, freedom and irony seep out in "Fifth of July," The band's uniquity is displayed by the lyrics, with a special homage to Johnny Horton's "Battle of New Orleans:"

"Old Dominion" pays homage to the state of Virginia, the state in which all four band members attended college. It is backed by a veritable who's who of musicians: Sam Bush on mandolin and fiddle; Jerry Douglas on dobro; Bela Fleck on banjo and Tony Rice on acoustic guitar. The group, in its sometimes backhanded, sometimes straightforward method, sings the praises of old Virginny: "Minnesota 1945" is a fairly direct but still subtle look at human connections bridging so-called barriers: With a nice twist at the end, "Twenty Thousand Hearts" goes: "Maylee, I Had a Dream" is a macabre exploration of a faltering relationship, with a touch of Paul Simon to boot: A wry and definitely different view on overcoming physical separation in a relationship, "Atlantic,"closes things out: This is a great party band. What filters through on this release is the sense that this group must have a great joie de vive at their live shows. It's readily apparent theirs is a dynamic stage presence that dovetails well with and strongly enhances their offbeat and nuanced music and lyrics. I wonder why they didn't settle on Edna From Ohio?

Main vocalist Julie Murphy Wells is joined by Michael Clem on bass, guitar, harp and vocals; Robbie Schaefer on guitar and vocals; and Eddie Hartness on percussion and vocals.

Track List:

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