Erik Jensen Releases First Solo CD, “Seas”

| June 1, 2012 | 1 Comment

When I was 15, I got my first guitar and I’ve never forgotten it. It was a nylon-stringed student model from Thearle’s in Mission Valley, on sale for $49.00, saved through dint and denial from my Saturday job running milk bottles to the door for the Golden Arrow milkman.  It’s a story I’ve shared often when talking about guitars.

Torrey Pines High School freshman Erik Jensen also has a story to tell from his 15th year that involves guitars but the comparison in our stories ends there.  Erik would easily, in the raw vernacular, blow me off the stage.  At age 15, he’s just released a solo CD titled “Seas” with a 15-song track list.  One of them, “Mexican Doorknob Festival,” was written by Erik’s father, Reece Jensen and two of his band mates in a 1983 Northern California band “The Guise.”  Erik re-wrote the song with his father’s permission and added his own solo to it.  (You can hear father and son’s duet of this song at YouTube with the search “Reece Jensen.”)  The other 14 songs on “Seas” were written, recorded and produced by Erik Jensen from 2010 up to just a few weeks ago when he completed the CD and it was uploaded for sale at  “I started seriously writing complete songs in the 5th grade,” says Erik, without a hint of incongruity. “Most of them incorporated many instruments, as well as lyrics and vocal parts. I received small amounts of praise for my musical composition skills,” he adds with understatement.

Erik Jensen

I saw Erik perform five years ago with his father’s band mates at a backyard barbeque.  Erik was extremely proficient for his age and I was struck with the thought that this kid might have a real shot at a career in music.  Jerome Dawson of “Wazabe Blue,” (where Reece Jensen plays bass) recalls Erik playing with his band at age 13: “I first called Erik ‘The Young Apprentice’ when he shared the stage with my band. Now, his solo CD shows that there’s even more to the very grown-up guitar sound Wazabe Blue fans enjoy when Erik plays with the band.”

The plaudits seem non-stop from people who taught Erik over the past years. Jeff Moore, his Encinitas guitar teacher over periods of several years: “When I would show him a technique or harmonic idea, he would get it, and then use it to express his own musical idea almost on the spot. Erik was ‘in the zone’ right from the start.”

Teacher Jon Villasenor, from Fusion Academy in Solana Beach says, “After only a few bars of a basic blues progression, Erik’s talent burst through with high bends, smooth slides and interesting runs … it was evident from our first hour together that this class was going to go somewhere interesting. Erik began turning out a variety of songs quickly, playing all the parts himself, layering, harmonizing and arranging. His output was prolific.”

Chris Conner, who worked with Erik as mentor for a couple of years says, “He is one of the most natural musicians that I have seen at his age. His guitar sound is mature and smooth, and his keyboard playing is impressive as well.”

Erik Jensen’s CD “Seas” cover was designed by Haley Jensen.

My favorite cut on “Seas” is “Labyrinth,” and it’s Erik’s as well. “I really tried to emulate human-like emotional dynamics using just a guitar with as little production as possible,” he says.

It’s a moving piece with drone notes skillfully riding below supremely building passages, harmonics that weave in and out like butterflies and the best use of a surprising touch of distortion in a solo instrumental piece I’ve ever heard.  Erik accomplished this musical feat using a four-string bass, a stand-up bass, his great-grandparent’s Hammond B-3 Organ, ukulele, electric guitar, acoustic-electric guitar, Yamaha piano and drums. I’m listening to this over and over marveling that a 15 year-old put this entire thing together. The cover art on “Seas” was done by Erik’s older sister Haley, and he has a song titled “For Haley” on the CD.  This is a serious piece of work by an amazingly talented young man, about whom we will be hearing much in the future.  If they sold stock in Erik Jensen, I’d be the first in line for some shares. To purchase “Seas” and hear sound samples, go to and type in Erik Jensen.

Erik’s CD can also be purchased at  and with search term: Erik R. Jensen.

Category: Music

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