Through honoring his grandmother, singer-songwriter Eric Bolander weathered his own emotional firestorm with his 2019 record The Wind, followed by two standalone singles “Magic Moon” and “Window” in 2020. Bolander has now released “Cold Men”—a modern protest song chronicling the Blackjewel miners’ protests in Harlan County, Ky.
This new single, produced by Duane Lundy (Sturgill Simpson, Ringo Starr) at his studio in Lexington, Ky., is a natural transition in Bolander’s catalog as a deeply emotional protest song to a weathered existence in an ever-tumultuous world. It may be a document of a specific event, but it’s a microcosm of the pain so many have felt in the past year.
DittyTV is thrilled to offer the world premiere video of “Cold Men” below, but before that, we want you to get to know Bolander a bit better with this 5 Questions segment.
1) You grew up in small-town Eastern Kentucky, so who were your musical influences growing up, and when did you first start playing?
Growing up in northeastern Kentucky, not far from the Country Music Highway 23, there were always great opportunities to see and hear performances of traditional folk, country, and bluegrass music. I remember as a kid going to a yearly fall festival, known then as the Sorghum Festival, close to my aunt’s house. This was set up out McDowell Road in Lewis County, back up in the hills a bit and in the middle of nowhere (most things were middle of nowhere back home … ha ha). It was wonderful with carnival-style food, kids games, and amazing music that I would grow to appreciate later in life. I was a teen in the ’90s, so I welcomed the grunge and alternative rock music with open arms. It was only later when beginning my writing career that I reflected on all the traditional country and bluegrass music my parents and other family members loved (some of whom played).
I am still a high school art teacher at Henry Clay High School in Lexington, Ky. I love this job as much as touring and playing music. Though time management can be a tricky ball to juggle, I am truly driven by the passion to create art. I also work as a freelance graphic designer in my “spare” time. As a visual artist and performing artist, it gives me a perspective past the songs I write, meaning I can envision the end product both musically and visually prior to finishing an album. I hired my good friend and amazing digital artist, Jimbo Valentine of Amalgam Unlimited, to do my album and single art along with several other designs. This gives me the freedom of wearing the art director hat and not being chained to my ideas completely and overthinking every step of the way while releasing new music and content. Having all these experiences in fine arts allows me to be in a constant state of creation. Perhaps it’ll be my downfall and greatest success all at the same time. ha
I grew up in northeast Kentucky in the foothills of Appalachia in a town (Garrison) of 800. I immediately identified with these folks as it is similar to my upbringing both geographically and culturally. Folks in Appalachia have long been outcasts from most accepted cultures and it’s easy for stories like this to go unheard and/or forgotten. We’re not the south, we’re not the north, we’re not sophisticated, we’re “uneducated” according to every national media outlet … it’s time that folks from the Appalachian area be seen for their beauty, work ethic, perseverance, and willingness to help a stranger no matter where they’re from. I’m a proud Appalachian son and brother; though my home is in Lexington, Ky., with my wife and daughter now, I’ll always leave part of my heart and soul in those foothills.
This single, “Cold Men,” is the third single I’ve released since June 2020 that will be part of a full-length album set to release later this year (perhaps late summer). I am hoping to have some special merchandise opportunities for fans soon including some of my own digital art creations based on my song lyrics. More on that in the coming weeks!
I have been so fortunate so far in my music career to open for and play support for a handful of amazing artists to include Ian Noe, Tyler Childers, Arlo McKinley, Justin Wells, The Steeldrivers, Sunny Sweeney, John Moreland, Chris Knight, Larry Cordle, and more. If I were to pick an artist not amongst that list, I would have to say Dallas Green. City and Colour is one of my favorite bands and Dallas’ writing style—both sonically and lyrically—hits me about as hard as anyone in the game. Dallas, if you’re reading this, have your people contact my people!