HGR CD Review: JD Eicher & the Goodnights

JD EICHER & THE GOODNIGHTS – INTO PLACE (Rock Ridge Music) By the sound of Into Place, the third album by Pittsburgh’s J.D. Eicher & the Goodnights, it becomes clear that group namesake J.D. Eicher has ascended into place as a top notch pop songcrafter, and his band has settled into place as seasoned, efficient musicians. A happy vibe, irresistible song hooks, eloquent and thoughtful lyrics, clear vocals and tasteful performances all converge into place among eleven remarkable numbers through the album’s duration. Front and center, Eicher’s voice is crisp and understandable, and he sings his clever wordplays with personality, feeling and sincerity. His lyrics are observational, personable, witty and even literary in scope; the gearshifting disc opener “Ode to the Underdog” celebrates those who struggle to gain their footholds in life. Perhaps the most infectious number on the album, “Give It Up” finds Eicher satisfied with who he is. He wittingly calls out a litany of everyday grievances on the tongue-in-cheek “You’ve Got a Lot of Growing Up to Do,” and celebrates a time traveler on the whimsical “Edgar Greene’s Time Machines.” Eicher & the Goodnights welcome O.A.R. sax player Jerry DePizzo and guest singer Joy Ike on the playfully bluesy “Lately Lady.” The group shows a more serious side several times; the acoustic ode “People” laments those who disappoint us, the sullen “Oh My God” offers a soul-searching prayer, and the album-ending title song double-shot “Into Place” is Eicher’s ultimate realization of his niche in life. Keyboardist Ben Portz, bassist Jim Merhaut and drummer Dylan Kollat efficiently and tastefully support Eicher with clean, bright arrangements and fills; and Dustin Burnett’s production and engineering gives the set a crisp sheen and polish. Into Place marks the ultimate arrival of J.D. Eicher & the Goodnights as something truly special. This album offers delectable ear candy pop rock we only wish we could hear on a radio these days...Good night! (The CD can be obtained through the group’s website, www.jdeicherandthegoodnights.com.)