A criticism of Eric Shiveley
Maybe it's a characteristic of talented people, but Eric Shiveley is annoyingly modest. Praise his work, and he's like a shy kid standing in the driveway, eyes downcast, watching his toes move the dirt around, mumbling "Glad you liked it." You know the pretty girl that kindly deflects your compliment? That's Eric. Maybe he finds my fawning quaint or gratuitous...or creepy. Maybe like the pretty girl.
I've tried to keep perspective. It has been suggested by members of Tequila Mockingbird that Eric has a dark side. Wendy Clark has a chilling image in her Facebook photo album cautiously captioned "Eric Shiveley Made Us Do It." I concur with Mark Mauldin that Eric's blind spot is the treatment of his dogs, who he garishly costumes, then, exploits in his website photography. Never mind that Eric's insists on giving them dubbed or captioned speaking roles in his videos and films, often in horribly rendered foreign accents. Nothing is ever way out of line, but you do scratch your head. Who am I to judge?
How, then, can a man on PETA's watch list keep so many creative barrels in the air? Eric is a singer-songwriter, guitar player, drummer, sound engineer, producer, screenwriter, actor, and filmmaker. He not only gets a lot of work done, but often does it grandly.
A case in point is his film, Everyone But You, showcased and lauded at multiple indie film festivals this year and an inspirational touchstone to DIYers everywhere. There's a good 800 bloggers praising the hell out of it, so I've resisted the temptation to pile on. I will say, however, it's one of my favorite documentaries. Ever. Certainly, knowing the production travails of the filmmaker influences my affinity for this film, but, great is great, and a full year after attending its first or second screening, EBY's images and dialogue still linger. The screenplay is brilliant, and Eric is perfect as EBY's protagonist and narrator . If you haven't seen the movie, it is, indeed, too bad for you since mass film distribution details are still in the works.
There is a silver lining. The soundtrack from Everyone But You is available for a pittance at Fuzz.com. In addition to singing and playing all instruments, all of the songs were written, engineered, produced, mixed and mastered by Eric at his studio, Desert Air Recording. This is an exceptional introduction to Eric's music with selections from nearly all of his no-longer-available albums including "When It Begins" and "Go To Pieces" from the 2000 release, Everything Is Good, and the title track from The Way It's Going To Be (2003). The majority of the soundtrack is culled from Eric's spectacular 2005 album, El Diablo (recommended: "Last Time I Called You Baby," "Actual Size," and "Give Up").
If you buy only one digital album this year, make it this one. In a world of uncertainty it's nice to run across a sure thing.