What do you get when you combine an up-and-coming Brazilian singer/songwriter with the mastermind producer behind Blonde on Blonde and The Sound of Silence? An album that represents the best part of the ’60s music scene, with a fresh, youthful approach and optimistic bounce. In short, you get Eron Falbo’s debut, 73.
Some musicians have a (kind of unfounded) sense of entitlement when it comes to expecting careers to drop into their laps; Falbo is just the opposite. The genesis of 73 tells of a pre-destined assurance, culminating with a call to legendary ’60s producer Bob Johnston, Falbo’s only choice for his first album. After hearing a handful of rough cuts over the telephone, Falbo successfully convinced Johnston to come out of retirement to embed his fingerprints in this record. So, off to Austin Falbo went, and the rest, as they say, is music history. Or will be, one day.
Don’t let Falbo’s Brazilian beginnings give you the wrong impression. Now based in London, his sound is ambiguous except that it’s damn good. Like Falbo himself says, “I can speak Cockney Londoner or Texas American, dine with hobos or princes and Iâ€™m equally interested in Mysticism as I am in Richard Dawkins.” He started his career as a DJ, before joining a cover band, and finally embarking on his own journey, which has taken him to this moment — his moment.
In many ways, 73 is a textbook debut. Falbo test-drives a variety of sounds and personas; sometimes it’s unclear where he’s going from track to track. One minute he’s rocking country (“Sacagewea’s Son”), combining “Rainy Day Woman” Dylan with sunshine pop (“What I Could’ve Been”), and laying down some smokehouse blues (“Any Fool A Man”). But where this eclectic mix would come off confused and harried for a lesser artist, it’s just Falbo showing off his chops.
My prediction is by the time he gets a trilogy under his belt, he’s not only going to be a superstar, but his sound is going to be inspiring the next generation of musicians to follow the trail that he — and Bob Johnston — are blazing.