I love making music, and make a lot of it. I started recording and overdubbing on dual cassette decks in the early 1980s. I've played in many bands and recorded in several studios. Today, in my own studio, I've created music that has appeared in more than 325 TV episodes on major networks.
As Sons of the Golden West, I produce indie rock and Americana. I am a multi-instrumentalist, and I play guitar, drums and keys. I can spice up the production with lap steel, banjo, ukulele, hand percussion, and any one of several hundred virtual instruments.
I am a good communicator and I'm easy to work with. I'm meticulous, creative, and I'm not happy if you're not happy. I've received nothing but five-star reviews from clients, and you can find them on my websites. I use pro-level gear, from mics to instruments to outboard gear.
As a testament to both my writing and recording skills, my latest album as Sons of the Golden West ("Punch Drunk Moon") received airplay on more than 50 radio stations, and made the chart at three of them. I produced the instrumental album and played all instruments.
As singer/songwriter Eric Butterfield, I just released an 11-song album called "Something In The Air". My first single, "Wake Me in Paris," reached the semi-finals in the International Songwriting Competition (unsigned category) and the Unsigned Only songwriting contest.
Networks that have used my music include A&E ("Born This Way"), MTV, BBC America, NBC ("Today Show"), OWN, CBS College Sports, and TLC.
You can find a list of TV credits (and a demo reel) at www.sonsofthegoldenwest.com and www.ericbutterfieldmusic.com
Click the 'Contact' above to get in touch. Looking forward to hearing from you.
CreditsAllMusic verified credits for Sons of the Golden West
4 Reviews - 1 Repeat ClientEndorse Sons of the Golden West
Very professional, thoughtful and creative! Helped me adjust the lyrics, when needed. Communication was timely. I would definitely work with Eric again!
This was a really wonderful experience for me, and I could not be happier as to how it turned out. Eric is patient, professional, and exceptionally talented. He is very experienced and his input was spot on with making this an exceptional end product.
I’d give a million stars if I could. Would highly recommend.
Wow! We were looking for a deep traditional blues song and every single expectation was surpassed. Highly recommended!
Eric is fantastic to work with. He listens to what you want and helps you find what you need. He just happens to be an great drummer as well! (Including other instrumentation)
Interview with Sons of the Golden West
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: Music has always been a big part of my life. And I've played many shows in many bands over the years. But in 2008, I began a concerted effort to build my own studio and produce music for TV and film. So far, my music has appeared in more than 325 TV episodes and a handful of films.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Don't rush it, and don't overdo it. Go for the overall feel, which you can ruin if you pursue overly chopped-up digital editing "perfection", which can lose its humanness.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I record in Pro Tools with a vast array of top-notch plugins (Universal Audio and many others) and microphones, such as Sennheiser MD 421 II, Shure SM57, AKG C414, a Warm Audio tube mic, tube mic pre, outboard compressor/limiter, and Pultec-style EQ.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. While I love the convenience of digital editing, what matters most is getting the right sound. That's why I have a rack with a tube mic pre, an outboard compressor/limiter, a tube EQ, numerous guitar pedals, a tape saturation box, and a few guitar amps at the ready. Fiddling with knobs is a lot more fun than clicking on virtual on-screen knobs with a computer mouse.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: You'll be happy with the results. I have not had a client return a project. If something's not right, I'll fix it. I am very good at what I do. But I don't pretend to do absolutely everything under the sun. If I don't think I'm the right person for your project, I'll tell you. I won't waste your time trying to be something I'm not. Your music deserves the best player for your style and needs. If your melody is out of my vocal range, I'll tell you, which, by the way, is roughly E2 to F4.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Be clear about what you want, and don't be afraid to ask for it. Bad communication can result in disappointment. I've never had a client turn down my creation, and have received very high marks for my communication and my productions. I put the client first, and I don't go down a road unless I'm sure it's what the client wants. I ask questions before I start and along the way to make sure I'm hitting the nail on the head.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Assuming this desert island has no electricity, I'd take my acoustic guitar, classical guitar, ukulele, banjo, and drum set. If this desert island had electricity, I would have to take my computer and a microphone to record all the ideas and songs I'd come up with.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: My songwriting is generally singer/songwriter and indie rock with an Americana undercurrent. I love straight-forward and natural-sounding, but I also sometimes go for a nuanced and atmospheric sound. My music that has appeared in TV shows ranges from heavy rock to quirky jazz/pop to science fiction drone.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I am particularly proud of "Punch Drunk Moon" by Sons of the Golden West, my most recent release. It was a one-man effort. I did all tracking, instrumentation and production. More than 50 radio stations played the album, which was a first for me in terms of promotion and airplay.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I am working on several songs for my next release to follow up on an 11-song album I released in November 2023 ("Something In The Air" by Eric Butterfield). Prior to that, in 2020 I released an instrumental album as Sons of the Golden West, whose follow-up is also in the works. That album received airplay on more than 50 radio stations and charted at three of them.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Writing, playing and recording music. What could be a better way to spend my day?
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: They ask if I write lyrics, because although they've written lyrics and I'm doing the music (and singing), they would like to work with someone who might have tips to make the lyrics better. The answer is, yes, I have written several hundred songs, so I often have input on how to make things flow better for the singer, without changing the meaning, getting the stress on all the right syllables, making sure consonants and sibilants and plosives don't collide, etc. If I have your permission, yes, I will make minor change to the lyrics for the sake of rhythm, flow of language, and sometimes word choice. Of course, you can always request that the original lyric be used, and that's OK too.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would happily work with any of the talented people I've previously mentioned. I don't have a particular number one.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I really enjoy the style and songwriting of Ryan Adams, Wilco, Son Volt, Elliott Smith, The Shins, The Decemberists, Gram Parsons, Pink Floyd, Nick Drake, Neko Case, Johnny Cash, Andrew Bird, Belle & Sebastian, Death Cab for Cutie, Ben Folds, REM, The Replacements, 16 Horsepower, Uncle Tupelo, Hank Williams Sr., Yo La Tengo, Fleetwood Mac, The Police, Pixies, Big Star, Pell Mell, Interpol, and way too many others to mention.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Almost daily, I am recording original songs for release, and instrumental compositions for a sync company and various music libraries. I write and record custom songs for clients, and record vocals and specific instruments for other musicians and songwriters. In addition to endless virtual instruments, these I play in the real world: Electric guitar, acoustic guitar, lap steel, piano, melodica, banjo, ukulele, bass, drums, and various hand percussion. I am a perpetual songwriter and lyricist.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Listen carefully. Listen again, and hear the accompaniment in my mind's ear. I serve the song and look for those magic moments.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Good melodic and rhythmic sense and judgement. I seek melodic and rhythmic phrases that complete a song, to help it say what it wants to say. Knowing when to shut up and let it breathe is key, to add dynamics and contrast. It's all about the song and the message. And, speaking of the message, I am also very experienced in helping a lyricist streamline what they want to say, for clarity (my college degree is in English Literature, with an emphasis in creative writing).
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: For full songs with vocals, I usually am writing singer/songwriter tunes with an Americana, indie rock, or power pop influence. I write in a variety of genres for my production music work, and write jazz, easy listening, and orchestral indie pop instrumentals, for example. (I've even done Vietnamese folk music).
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What kind of music do you like that you want your music to resemble without exactly mimicking? Is there a genre outside of the obvious that you might want to subtly make its way into your music? Do I have permission to subtly alter your lyrics to better fit the rhythm of the music I've written?
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I think songwriting is my strongest skill, the ability to create a mood and to convey it in a uniquely--and clearly!-- told story. I love clever lyrics -- as long as they're not trying too hard. But, it all has to start with a great idea, and then grab the listener with melodic and rhythmic hooks.