The Desert Pulse artist spotlight on The Naturals
Name: The Naturals
Hometown: Santa Clara, UT
Band Members: Isaac Ericksen, Mari Ericksen, Zoe Ericksen
Influences: The Tallest Man on Earth, Bon Iver, Muddy Waters, Dallas Green, Bright Eyes, Iron and Wine and others.
The Naturals is a dynamic trio comprised of siblings; Isaac, Mari, and Zoe Ericksen. All raised in an extremely talented musical environment. They grew up watching and listening to their parents, Dick and Alice Ericksen, play live music from day one. Each joining in on the fun from the time they were very small. From humble beginnings in Potsdam, NY to present day, the Ericksen family, individually and collectively, have made huge contributions to the southern Utah live music scene. The Naturals project is born and rooted in the skills and talents developed by the Ericksen children through years of participation in the local scene and beyond via The Academy and a number of various bands they have played with.
Isaac, the eldest of The Naturals, got his start playing bass in his father’s Blues project, Dick Earl’s Electric Witness. He continues to be a vital part of this project adding a distinctive sound on bass. However, Isaac has developed a wide range of experience over the years playing with many other groups. He has played bass in The Academy Show Band, Carlie Wall Band, Verona, Wirelefant, regional jazz ensemble “The Jazz Band,” Lyonhead, Aegis, Juice Box Crew, Johns Houston’s Gospel Choir, and has toured nationally with Tas Cru and His Band of Tortured Souls, as well as with Tony Holiday and the Velvetones. Isaac has made numerous on-air appearances as the co-host of Electric Witness Radio, playing with Tas Cru on Ditty TV in Memphis, and as a guest performer on King Biscuit Time with Sonny Payne. Since returning home after living in the Florida/Georgia area for two years, he has taken on the role of Program Director at The Academy. Here he teaches youth of the area how to play in a band setting and develop their skills as musicians. In the role of band leader for The Naturals, Isaac focuses mostly on guitar and vocals; but, you might find him playing other instruments like the piano or even banjo.
Mari is the far-from-ignored middle child. There is no ignoring this girl’s remarkable talent. She has a wide range of abilities, from shredding the drums to serenading on uke or guitar. Playing music since she was eight-years old, she has continued to grow and develop her own unique style. She has won multiple awards for her drumming skills. Mari also plays in Dick Earl’s Electric Witness and has been doing so for over 3 years. Growing up performing with The Academy, she has gone on to be in other bands like Juice Box Crew, John Houston’s Gospel Choir, Trade Mark, and Vivid Youth. In the summer of 2017, Mari also begins her hand at touring, traveling with Tas Cru and His Band of Tortured Souls.
Zoe is the youngest of the trio, and maintains that she is not “the baby.” This lovely middle school singer has been on stage since she was 7 years old, first appearing with The Academy Punk Rock group. She quickly grew to being comfortable as the front person and lead singer of the family’s school of rock Show Band. Her other musical pursuits have included numerous musical theatre roles and singing with John Houston’s Gospel Choir as well as joining in one of the most incredible nights on record at The Desert Pulse Jazz Garden in June 2016 where her voice amazed audience members. When she attended a children’s workshop at the Yellow Pine Harmonica Festival as a 9 year-old, the presenter was astonished at her ability to hear and produce impromptu harmonies. This is when, the Ericksen mother, Alice first started telling her children that their talents were fascinating to other people because they all have “the naturals.”
The story plots in their performance was recently noted by DSU radio host, Portia Romero, when she commented on Isaac’s ability to take on different characters with his voice. Mari’s rhythmic command makes for brilliant percussive narration, and Zoe lends the magical third harmony that ultimately carries listeners to the moral of the story. These three truly are natural-born music makers and love to share that gift with others. Raised with souls rooted in blues, hearts blooming with jazz, and heads in the clouds of rock’n’roll, The Naturals mix what they know with what they dream. They do not limit their format to one genre, because they have cultivated a wide range of what they can offer a song and an audience through infusing a lifetime of being raised in and on music. The Naturals are exactly that, naturals at making music.
View live in studio performance of The Naturals: