By Marc Millman
When you can’t play a note, but music is practically all you think about, it’s most likely that if you make images, eventually you will be hooked on concert photography. Of course, this isn’t the 60s & 70s anymore. So most likely, you won’t get as lucky as William Miller in Almost Famous. The odds of anyone being a Cameron Crowe or Lynn Goldsmith is slim to none. So the best way to go about it is by gaining access the old fashioned way: trust.
No matter how diverse my tastes in music and no matter how many albums, CDs, tapes & mp3s I have, there are certain songs and certain artists like The Rolling Stones or Bob Marley that you keep going back to. For me, the first artist that I truly connected with on a deep personal level once I decided I was going to shoot live concerts was Eric Lindell.
The funny thing with Eric is that I can thank the iTunes Store for our friendship. Eric was a suggestion it made to me around the time that Alligator Records released Change In The Weather. From the first times I heard “Give It Time” and “Casanova” I was hooked. A few years later I saw him play at Sullivan Hall in the Greenwich Village. After the show, I went up and introduced myself. The next time he was back, we started hanging. In fact, it was on one of our earlier nights hanging out that I captured the image that became the cover to his West Coast Drifter album when we were just downstairs in the green room at Sullivan Hall laughing with a few friends and having a good old time. As Eric might say, everything was “Steady!”
The unintentional album cover- Sullivan Hall (Fri 2/11/11)
Since then, I’ve done more album covers and promotional pieces for him. I’ve also become a friend of his family and he of mine. In fact two of my favorite images I’ve taken come from Eric and his family. The first was a shot I got as a ran to catch up to him after he played the Blues Tent at the New orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 2011. As I ran out the back door of the tent after catching the first few songs by Gregg Allman, I rounded the corner towards the dressing room trailers and came upon Eric walking hand in hand with his young son Harlan. I knew the moment was right. All the pictures of him playing onstage could never convey the deep emotional response of a father and his child sharing a moment after the public spectacle of playing before a crowd of thousands and thousands.
Hand In Hand: Eric & Harlan Lindell (New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival- Fri 5/6/11)
Last year after another great set, we were back at the same trailers sharing a few laughs outside. Eric’s wife Sarah was there with her father. Both their son Harlan and Eric’s older son Ellery were there as well. Sarah asked if I could get a photo of them. I said sure but hat someone had to go get Harlan who was inside the trailer. I ran in and he didn’t seem overly interested. I came up with the idea of how to let him stay inside and still get the image. Once again, I came away with one of my favorite family portraits
Where’s Harlan?! (New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival- Thur 4/30/15)
We’ve had a lot of fun over the years now. I never tire of Eric’s singing. There’s something about the way he interprets old gems you never heard before or possibly did a long time ago but can’t figure out what song it is once he does his thing with it. The music is pure Americana. And E with his guitar in hand makes the type of sweet soulful sounds that bring a smile to his audience’s faces from the very first note.
Hanging before Dragon Smoke (Tue 5/1/12)
Eric’s Gibson Explorer (Maguire’s- Ocean Beach, NY- Fri 7/31/15)
Of course, life isn’t always fair. And around Thanksgiving this past year, I spoke to him on the phone. Sarah was pregnant, which we already knew. But they had run some tests and there were major issues with the baby. By Christmas they were leaving Florida and heading to Colorado where the Children’s Hospital of Colorado had the highest rate of success with the baby’s medical issues. And on March 2nd,Kay Chevalier Lindell (Baby K) named after his grandma “Millie Kay Chevalier” arrived via an emergency C-section. Baby K is now in the hospital fighting for his life. And Eric and Sarah are transplanted with young Harlan to Colorado. The man who lives life on the road has been forced to choose his family over his craft because that’s what a loving husband and father does for his family. About two weeks ago, Eric’s close friend and band mate in Dragon Smoke, Ivan Neville and his girlfriend Ashley put up a fundraiser on the GoFundMe site to help the family out. And with short order, some big fans helped to put together a benefit show in Brooklyn at The Hall at MP.
Rich In Love: A Late Night Show to Benefit Eric Lindell & Family took place as Friday night, March 25th melted into the early hours of Saturday. A crew of Eric’s cohorts from the Asbury Park area where he has established a Jersey Shore stronghold joined Scott Sharrard, American Idol contestant Elise Testone, the Bonerama horns, Seth Walker & Davell Crawford. Marco Benevento & Dave Dreiwitz even dropped in to jam straight from their Joe Russo’s Almost Dead gig at the Brooklyn Bowl. With less than two weeks of planning and almost no rehearsal a beautiful night of music was put together for fans to come and celebrate the Lindells and help raise more money for the cause.
Rich In Love: Seth Walker with Elise Testone “Give It Time”
Seth Walker sings Eric’s “Lay Back Down”
Marco Benevento sings “Why Can’t We Be Friends”
My hope is that people will read this post. If they don’t know Eric and his music they will check it out and deeply connect as I once did. And if not that, perhaps the human spirit will move you enough from this awful story to help the family out anyway. At the moment the family may feel like they are Low on Cash, Rich In Love as his 2008 album was named. But ultimately, we are all praying that if they give it time, things will get better…
Remember, you can donate to the cause here. And I am donating 25% of profits made from the sales of my images of Eric between now and the week after Jazz Fest (May 8th, 2016). You can look at all my work with Eric here.