You might not get the chance to be serenaded underneath the Eiffel Tower by a Parisian street performer, but Eric John Kaiser provides a pretty solid approximation. The self-described "French troubadour" now lives in Portland. But from the sound of the EP Portland Rendez-Vous, his birthplace is still first in his heart.
That sense even defines the stylistic qualities of the album. Kaiser's music basically boils down to fairly straightforward pop with serious French-folk influences.
This guy can tease the hell out of a melody. Electric guitar provides solid springboard into more exotic horns or accordion. As an individual who gets improbably excited about a good accordion solo, I was embarrassing myself with spastic head-bobbing before the first track concluded. Lyrically, I have no idea—it's all in French, and I'm your garden-variety monolingual American. But it sure sounds nice. I caught the word "baguette" at one point and subsequently craved a good loaf of French bread, so I suppose the album's songwriting affected me in some respect.
My own reaction probably provides the strongest endorsement. After listening to the EP, I immediately acquired the rest of Kaiser's material. That doesn't happen very often.
Eric John Kaiser plays The Missoula Winery Wednesday, Jan. 26, at 7:30 PM. $10/$8 Alliance Française members.