Retiring the name of his old band Unit 7, Eric Olsson’s songwriting has evolved significantly since he mostly shelved the guitar and began obsessing over the piano. Dirty Little Secret showcases every aspect of this transformation, from ragtime to jumpy, Blues Brothers/zydeco-inspired fare to intimate ballads. At its best, it’s achieved something as genuinely Chicago blues/New Orleans Cajun as you can get in New England (we’ll call it “Dr. John Kerry” gumbo-chowdah groove). Some tunes nearly verge on the icky commercial blues/pop of Randy Newman, though mostly it’s too legitimately jazzy to get there and instead veers into melodic English rock/pop a la Queen or cabaret-style numbers (“Broken Clock”) that recall the Dresden Dolls or Bowie’s Aladdin Sane, and certainly don’t come from any place that’s sunny all the time. There are truly soulful moments in numbers like “November Song” that are 1970 Van Morrison-worthy. —Tom Sturm
Tickets are available at Northampton Box Office,76 Main Street. 413-586-8686 and online at IHEG.com or at the door.