March 15, 1996
A New Voice to Listen for on the NW Scene
By Sharon Wootton
With his debut “Knack for Negilgence,” singer/songwriter Eric Dahl formally tosses his hat into the talented Northwest acoustic music scene. After listening to the CD, here’s the prediction of the week: Dahl will live long and prosper. That is, if fates are kind and he’s in the right place at the right time. But whatever Dahl’s professional fate, his intelligent 12-song effort is a keeper. If it sounds vaguely familiar, there a good reason. Dahl relies heavily on Northwest images from the wheat fields to Kurt Cobain and the Sonics.
But his songs aren’t parochial in a limiting sense. There are the broader themes of relationships, the complexities of life, and childhood. In fact, one of the best lines on the introspection scale is: “Strange how childhood’s never over when it’s done, shades each promise like background noise . . . .”
(Seattle) No. 40 March 1996
Eric Dahl delivers a set of songs on Knack for Negligence that should establish him as an original presence among Northwest urban and rural songwriters. His musical style embraces rock, blues, country and folk. John Hawk provides excellent guitar work throughout the disc.
June12-June 26, 1996 Issue #231
By Chris NIckson
I’ve never heard of him either, but Eric Dahl has turned in one of the best CDs by a local singer/songwriter that I’ve heard in a long time. Sounding like a less-annoying John Hiatt, the music ranges from acoustic neo-rockabilly to the thoughtful and introspective. He also has a killer way with a line. “Smells like a house to make a poor fly rich,” or “I went to see the Sonics ‘cause I had a lotta money,” not at all shabby. Wish I’d written them. Helped by John Hawk on guitar, a sort of Mark Knopfler minus the noodly bits, this is a class act all the way. He has the talent, all he needs now is the luck for someone with a major label to recognize it.
February 5, 1997
Singer/songwriter Eric Dahl returns to his native Northwest from Austin for a performance with Woodinville’s “Java Jive” series. Dahl has gained fans in both of his stomping grounds with his sharp, colorful lyrics (he began as a poet while studying a Oxford University), and moody, atmospheric music , which mixes blues, rock, country and folk. This Saturday he will play with his regular cohorts, guitarist John Hawk and singer Terry Martin. The performance will benefit a local Habitat for Humanity project.
Austin American Statesman
Thursday January 16, 1997
Fresh Blood: Eric Dahl
By Chris Riemenshneider
Austin loves it whenever a musician gives up residence in the Northwest to live here. And with good reason: The welcoming of past newcomers like the Derailers and Starfish had a quick payoff.
Eric Dahl also deserves a hello. A passionate, poetic, melancholic singer-songwriter, who until August called his native Seattle home, Dahl came to town for really no reason other than to hone his craft.
“I had the chance to move somewhere new and, by all accounts, Austin seemed to be a songwriters’ town, “ Dahl said, “It’s funny, because I’ve read all the articles and all the talk about Austinites not wanting all those people coming and taking over their city, which is understandable. But it’s different if you’re a musician. People sort of come up to you with open arms.”
Dahl said this without actually performing in Austin. His regular bandmates, guitarist John Hawk and singer Terry Martin, live out of town and it hasn’t been profitable for them to come here yet. But the three, who together create moody, atmospheric music that accentuates Dahl’s colorful lyrics, finally play Steamboat on Sunday.
Dahl has been writing songs and poetry since his youth (he won a prestigious poetry award while attending Oxford University, but it wasn’t until two years ago he began earning a following in Seattle for his music. The 1995 independent CD “Knack for Negligence” received ample praise in the area press, and convinced him to give Austin a try, while keeping his ties to Seattle.
“In a sense, I’m living in two cities,” Dahl said. “I mean, everything I own is here, but I go there to perform. It’s like I’ve been playing music there and just watching and listening to music here, taking it all in.”
That’s what Dahl does as a songwriter – he takes in his surroundings and encompasses them in a melody that captures the atmosphere and the color. As proof, Seattle can be heard throughout “Knack for Negligence,” from the hustle-and-bustle weariness of “Ordinary Computer” to the bitterness in “Untitled for Kurt Cobain,” in which he sings, “Not an emblem, not a symbol/He’s just one of our own . . . what if this one had grown.”
That song; which he only sang once (when he recorded it), came from Seattle. Austin, Dahl said, has had a similarly dramatic effect on his songwriting. He has been working a on CD for a possible March release, and he said his new songs are about everything from this summer’s drought to a Hill Country lightning storm he saw.
He may have an icy winter freeze to add to that list too.