Local musician Elijah Black bares soul on ‘Naked’ album

Allan Lamb

Fun fact: Elijah Black lives just one mile away from our writer Allan Lamb’s home in Green!

Credit: Andrew popik

Elijah Black (née Bill Elias), of Akron, was the singer of local band Peace Tree until 2003 when the members all chose to venture upon separate paths. Peace Tree had opened for legends such as Motley Crue, Neil Young, Cinderella, Styx, Blue Oyster Cult and Deep Purple. They even had a special guest performance on the “Jenny Jones Show” in 1999.

His new solo release, Naked ‘gainst the Blue Sky, is a melodic, soulful and often rootsy effort that will satisfy fans of Deep Purple, Soundgarden and post-Black Album Metallica. The music is somewhat fitting for cruising on a motorcycle or a round of pool in a smoky bar.

“When Peace Tree broke up, I had half of an album written that we didn’t end up recording,” said Black. “I wasn’t even going to do this, but Dave (Brooks, the producer,) wanted to make an album from the stuff I had written.”

Most of the album was recorded at The Grooveyard in Akron. The other three tracks, “Drive-Bye,” “Bleed for You” and the title track were recorded, while the rest of the songs were remixed and arranged at The Neon Cactus. The album has a very clear sound, balancing the vocals with the music, making sure each instrument is just as audible as the rest.

“We took our time recording it, mastering it and mixing it,” claimed Black. “I worked with the best people in this town.”

That includes the producer, engineers and musicians.

Black’s voice is the heart and soul of the album. However, the musicianship of Black and his studio and stage band are notable as well. Black is the lead vocalist and guitarist with Freddy DeMarco on lead guitars, Adam Mercer on drums and Scott Ross on keyboards.

The drummer, Mercer — along with Matt Cleary, who does the guitar solo on the track

“Kind Wednesday” — plays with Jani Lane, formerly of Warrant (”Cherry Pie”), who Black has connections with.

“I got a great band,” Black said. “These guys are awesome.”

The music is certainly not for everyone. However, if you like classic rock or roots rock, you won’t be dissatisfied with Elijah Black.

Contact Pop Arts reporter Allan Lamb at [email protected].