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Local Artist: Eric Bolander

Eric Bolander is a high school art teacher by day, rocker by night. The guitarist and vocalist from the rock band, Alcatraz Shakedown, came and performed on WRFL Live, Wednesday. Bolander and his drummer/backing vocalist, Ben Caldwell, played some songs from Bolander’s solo projects, including his most recent and second album, “The Wind.”

While Alcatraz Shakedown is a rock band, Bolander’s solo music is more Americana and folk. The music is very down to earth and heartfelt. The relatable songs have a real human connection. Bolander says he writes what he describes as, “sad bastard songs.” “Everything’s cool, I just write sad songs,” said Bolander. Bolander writes lyrics about life events he’s been through, reflects on earlier times or writes about experiences of people he knows.

“Sometimes it’s outside looking in,” said Bolander. “The song on my new album called ‘Maybe I’ is definitely a story of someone I know, personally, as if I were that person that went through that event. Sometimes I’ll take the backseat and write as an observer. But most of the time it’s true to something I’ve been through.” He explained that he writes his songs to be open ended so that the viewer can come first. He believes his music is all about that personal connection. Bolander embraces his roots from Northeastern Kentucky in what he described as the “foothills of Appalachia.”

“It influences me a lot. It kind of came full circle,” said Bolander. “As a teenager I was all about the grunge and the alternative rock ‘n’ roll and hard rock and metal. And then as I got older I started going back to the things I was hearing as a little kid… It still comes back, some of the old country, folk, Bluegrass sort of things, sounds and songs that I remember hearing growing up as a kid come back into my solo music.” Bolander also mentioned influences and inspiration from Bob Dylan, George Jones, Deftones and Prince. On his album, “The Wind,” Bolander includes an Americana rendition of Prince’s “Purple Rain.” “That’s kind of an homage to, in my opinion, one of the greatest songwriters of all time,” said Bolander.

You can find Eric Bolander’s music at