Life as a working musician, according to Worthington native Erica Blinn, is far from glamorous.
She lives in a modest apartment near the Worthington/Dublin border, keeps her overhead low and plays locally as often as possible to support the occasional out-of-state tour, which are often completed at a financial loss.
“We did a short tour in July and we played Athens, Georgia, for the first time,” said Blinn, 26, over coffee in early September. “There was a ridiculous storm where it was raining sideways and there were ambulances and fire trucks going down the road and we’re like, ‘Is this the end of the world?’ I think maybe 15 or 20 people made it in that night.”
Here in Columbus, however, Blinn remains a consistent draw at both her frequent stripped-down bar gigs (she performs regularly as a duo at places like PJ’s Pub in Powell and both World of Beer locations) and her more sporadic full-band concerts with her backing crew The Handsome Machine, which will join the singer for this weekend’s show at Woodlands Tavern. It’s an audience certain to grow when Blinn releases her long-in-the-works new album, Lovers in the Dust, which is due out late January 2014.
Judging by the album’s first single, “Whiskey Kisses,” Lovers promises to be a far more personal affair. The bluesy rock number is littered with references to the emotional wreckage left in the wake of a broken relationship, Blinn singing: “I can’t go another day without you”; “It’s been a hurricane here inside”; “I hate to admit it, but baby I’m a mess.”
“There’s a lot of truth in [the songs],” Blinn said. “I’m not good at making stuff up because it feels fake.”
Still, there’s no need to feel any sympathy for the singer. In spite of the occasional hiccup, the last year has been, in her own words, “pretty great all around.” She’s simply more likely to pick up her guitar when things are bleakest because those are the times she needs music most.
“It is tough to write when everything is going great,” she said. “I feel like writing is part of my therapy. It’s my way of getting things off my chest and really working through them.”