(Editor’s note: This was long overdue – Eric Luecking has been contributing heavily to our site for months now but I realized: he’s never really introduced himself to readers here. Don’t miss his Summer Songs post either! –O.W.)

My stepdad used to always say to me when I was a kid, “You can’t live life on the entertainment circuit,” to basically drive home the point and you can’t be all play and no work. But who says you can’t enjoy what you do? It’s a revelation I’m trying to come to terms with and put into practice of how to better extract joy from what I do in life.

Some people enjoy a fine wine; I enjoy a well-written song and a thought provoking movie. Recently I’ve been catching up on Pixar movies I haven’t seen. After getting past animation being their chosen media form and really sinking my teeth into the subject matter that dwells underneath, there are really excellent underlying themes and life lessons.

My brother has been a mobile DJ for nearly 20 years, and I’ve helped him rock out a few weddings here in the Midwest, although with me tying the knot a few years ago and now being a proud papa of a beautiful baby girl, my time spinning tunes for the entertainment of others has been quite limited. And honestly, I’m okay with that.

Making mix CDs and turning others on to music that turns me on is still something I love to do – hence, the writing here at Soul-Sides.

I’ve always enjoyed writing. As I took on summarizing in poem-form the short stories that were assigned reading during my sophomore year in high school English, it was a task that was not an assignment by my teacher but one which I enjoyed challenging myself to see if I could do. My teacher would read them aloud to the class so I knew I was doing something right. Hey, I may have been a nerd, but I had a passion.

Fast forward to a few years ago when I went to a soul/funk exhibit in Indianapolis at the State Historical Society. I wrote a piece on it and sent it to Egon at Stones Throw Records. He enjoyed it, which encouraged me further. I hounded him to no end on an Indiana Funk project he had been working on for sister label Now Again. Finally, I begged my way onboard to the project, helping him conduct interviews and writing pieces that will hopefully be incorporated into the liner notes of the as yet unreleased project.

Then, last year, I e-mailed back and forth with OW about Soul-Sides and asked to contribute an article on Sam Cooke. Well the ink has yet to run dry in my pen as I’m still writing about the best music in the world – soul music.

Current Top 3 Playlist:

1. Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes – Wake Up Everybody: a call to action with hopes of making a better world to live in

2. Michael Jackson – Man In The Mirror: another call to action song dealing with how to make the world a better place. I’ve recently revisited it since MJ’s untimely death after not hearing it for many years. After gaining some life experience and a greater appreciation for a well-written tune, it’s such a beautiful song for trying to improve yourself and the world around you.

3. Steve Martin featuring Vince Gill and Dolly Parton – Pretty Flowers: I know, it’s not a soul tune. Country music, and especially bluegrass, has never been one of my favorite genres. However, when I first heard this song being performed on the American Idol finale this season (subsequently, the only episode I watched this season), I was taken away by its inviting melody and simple, but heartfelt storyline. Ray Charles always has maintained how great the storytelling is in country music (one of the few, true American musical styles), and this song tells a wonderful story about a couple falling in love. And yes, the banjo is being played by THAT Steve Martin, the legendary comedian. The whole album is truthfully wonderful, and I will not be one bit surprised if it wins a Grammy next year. Rounder Records has a knack for garnering nominations year in and year out.

Contact: You can tell me how much you love or hate my writing – or just generally say hi – through soulsideseric AT