Eric "EG" Vines is happy to adopt the sleazy look of "The Salesman" in the video for the mournful song, premiering exclusively on Billboard today (Oct. 11) and featured on his upcoming debut solo album Family Business. But the look doesn't come easy, he tells Billboard.
"Unfortunately I have to glue that thing on, 'cause I can't really grow one," Vines says of his fake mustache.
The clip features Vines as a briefcase-toting presence offering up mysterious products to make a variety people's lives better, illustrating the song's discourse about consumer culture and the allure of easy solutions. Vines' "cryptic" look, meanwhile, was suggested by his wife.
"She ended up going on Amazon, finding the outfit. I describe it and literally the next day the packages were on the doorstep and I became that guy," he says. "I think the whole thing came together nicely, and maybe characters are a thing I use going forward. I always appreciate when good characters go hand in hand with a song; it adds another layer to the music you don't pick up on just listening to it."
"The Salesman" was, in fact, the first song from Family Business -- due out Oct. 11 -- that Vines began playing in his shows, even before the veteran of several bands, primarily the Bandoliers, released his first EP last summer. "Everyone was the most interested in ['The Salesman'] of any of the songs I was playing," he recalls. "Even before I put the EP out people were like, 'Oh, you got 'The Salesman' on there?' 'No, you have to wait a little bit for that one.' So it's been a crowd favorite for a little while."
Vines, who moved to Nashville from his native Alabama a decade ago, struck out on his own during late 2017 and has been honing his sound as a solo act since then. Topical songs on Family Business include storylines ranging from racism ("The Hate Remains"), to mass shootings ("Feel Again"), economic disparity ("Poor Man, Rich Man") and other issues ripped from the headlines.
"I'd always written in a little different style," he acknowledges. "I always had these singer-songwriter, more folk-y songs I was working on the backside of [the Bandoliers]. Several people had heard a few of the songs and encouraged me to pursue that route more. So, I just sat down and started writing a couple hours every day for a couple of years and found this is what I was best at and just kept moving from there."
Vines has sporadic tour dates set, including a Family Business release day back home in Birmingham, Alabama. He plans to add more dates during the fall and put on a more extensive push during 2020.
The video for “The Salesman” is below.