Though 26-year-old Catwalk Blue singer and keyboardist Eric Selner has had a successful career with the local jazz-rock outfit, he says it's time to give a solo project a shot. But this doesn't signal the end of Catwalk Blue, which Selner formed with a bunch of high-school buddies five years ago; it's merely an opportunity to try something different during the band's downtime. Selner intentionally distances himself from Blue by drawing inspiration from the likes of Sting, Fela Kuti, and Uruguayan Oscar winner Jorge Drexler.
On his first solo album, Alive in Cleveland, Selner presents a selection of highly hummable tunes that echo John Mayer ("Something Is Wrong"), George Clinton ("Movie Star Baby"), and even jazz great Dave Brubeck ("Goodbye, Goodnight"). He keeps things relatively simple by layering the tracks with just keys, guitars, bass, and drums. For this week's Eric Selner Band show, he's hauling a much larger ensemble onstage — nine members total. "I use the bigger band to bring the sounds of my favorites to life," he says. "This is a much bigger production."