“And so as these years roll on/I always come back to where I belong,” sings Sully Erna on the title track to his new solo album and BMG debut, Hometown Life, the follow-up to 2010’sAvalon. A personal, confessional, raw work which takes yet another stylistic left-hand turn from the music he has created as front man for the multi-platinum rock band Godsmack,Hometown Life offers a wide-ranging glimpse of Erna’s eclectic musical tastes--from thesinger-songwriter Billy Joel/Bruce Springsteen narratives of the title track and the bossa nova touch of “Take All of Me,” to the breezy island feel of “Your Own Drum,” the finger-snapping Motown bass lines of the bluesy “Turn It Up,” the country flavors of “Different Kind of Tears” and the wide-screen canvas of mini-symphonies “Blue Skies” and “Forever My Infinity.” All of them tied together with Sully’s unflinching view of the emotional roller-coaster of his life, drawing us into an intimate space that he only hopes people will embrace as they have another of the album’s unlikely influences--Adele.
“Who hasn’t been inspired by Adele?” marvels Sully, whose musical touchstones range fromJames Bay, new country favorites like Chris Stapleton and Brantley Gilbert to soul legendsRay Charles, Etta James and Amy Winehouse.
Produced by Erna in his New Hampshire studio--now a one-stop headquarters for all thingsGodsmack--Hometown Life offers a departure from the tribal, world music feel and experimentation on Avalon, its songs more accessible, sonically and musically precise. Ironically, Sully used all the same musicians from that album, with the exception of percussionist Niall Gregory. Sully collaborated on two of the songs-- “Different Kind of Tears” and “Your Own Drum”--with Nashville-based tunesmith Zac Malloy, who has also written for Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw, Jake Owen, Skillet and Daughtry.