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"It's something I have seriously tried not to do," says Woodstocker Eric Erickson of his career as a singer/songwriter. "I have worked as a folk radio broadcaster ( a member of the original airstaff of the legendary WDST and RadioWoodstock.com), a microbrewer, and a carpenter, among other things, but I have always wound up back on a stage somewhere, with a guitar in my hands."
And so, well into his 4th decade as a performer, Eric finds himself as an emerging artist. "...after all those years as a submerged artist!" he jokes. "It's as close as I can possibly imagine to having a calling. And it's an interesting position to be in: I can have a blossoming career and a mid-life crisis at the same time! It gives me a unique perspective and unlimited fodder for songs."
The result is a catalog of songs that are personal and universal at the same time. Although all people are unique individuals, we experience the same feelings and emotions. "It's just the details that are different," Eric observes.
So universal are these emotions that listeners are inspired to leave comments in Eric's web site guest book and on his mailing list such as: "Thank you! That's just how I wanted to say it!" and " really touched me personally..." "There's no greater compliment to a songwriter," responds Eric.
Ardith Recordings released Eric's début album, At Long Last, in May of 1999. Assisting on 11 original tunes (as well as a wry cover of the Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand") are some of Woodstock's finest acoustic musicians: guitar maestro Artie Traum, John Sebastian of the Lovin' Spoonful, fiddler Jay Ungar, cellist Abby Newton and Peter, Paul and Mary's bassist, Dick Kniss. The result is a CD with a very informal, comfortable feel that showcases Eric's songs splendidly.
The follow-up, The Shadow of the Moon, was released by Ardith in June, 2004. Returning to assist were Artie Traum, Jay Ungar (this time with Molly Mason on mandolin), and Abby Newton, as well as Woodstockers Betty MacDonald (violin) and Gus Manicini (alto sax). Peter Davis plays calrinet and the album is anchored by a band featuring Scott Petito on bass, Sam Zuchini on drums and Vinnie Martucci on keyboards. The Shadow of the Moon is a collection of ten Erickson originals along with his take on James Taylor's "Slow and Steady" and the old Bing Crosby number "Moonlight Becomes You".
The influences of American pop music and sixties rock 'n' roll and folk apparent in Eric's songs are enhanced by his membership in the a capella vocal ensemble Woodstock Renaissance. The group's repertoire encompasses music from the Renaissance and Middle Ages as well as traditional folk tunes, barbershop quartets and spirituals. All have found their way into some aspect of Eric's own songs.
While the comparison of Eric's vocal style to that of James Taylor is inevitable---"It's no coincidence," says Eric---he hastens to add, "I hope that people will also find a trace of Lowell George, Tim Buckley, Pete Seeger, and maybe even a little Randy Newman!"
E² On Stage
Some of the venues Eric has played:
Falcon Ridge Folk Festival
The Joyous Lake, Woodstock
The Kleinert/James Art Center, Woodstock
The Café Espresso, Woodstock
The Bearsville Theatre, Woodstock
The Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge, MA
The Towne Crier Café, Pawling, NY
12 Corners Coffeehouse, Rochester NY
The Interlaken Inn, Salisbury, CT
Bodles Opera House, Chester, NY
Clearwater's Great Hudson River Revival, Croton-on-Hudson, NY
The Center For Performing Arts, Rhinebeck, NY
The Guthrie Center, Great Barrington, MA
Unison Arts and Learning Center, New Paltz, NY
Kenny's Castaways, NYC
Minstrel Coffeehouse, Morristown, NJ
E² On Stage With
Eric has opened for or shared the stage with:
Happy and Artie Traum
Adrian Legg (acoustic guitar master)
Rick Danko (of The Band)
Ronnie Gilbert (of The Weavers)
What others have said about Eric:
Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul and Mary:
"Eric is a warm, wonderful performer. His songs carry on a marvelous tradition that we gratefully inherit."
Sharon Nichols, The Woodstock Times:
"Eric Erickson is the embodiment of the American singer/songwriter."
Kitty Montgomery, Kingston Daily Freeman
"...his voice settles in to float along to pass on the humor and vulnerability in his material."
Stephen Israel, Times-Herald Record, Middletown, NY
"Eric is truly in a class of his own as a songwriter… don't miss him."
E² On The Air
Some of the stations that play Eric's music, and have hosted him live:
WKZE, Sharon, CT
WXPN, Phila., PA
WJFF, Jeffersonville, NY
WRPI, Troy, NY
WFMT, Chicago, IL
WDST, Woodstock, NY
WTBQ, Florida, NY
KZSC, Santa Cruz, CA
WNAV, Annapolis, MD
KLCC, Eugene, OR
KBCS, Portland, OR
WNHU, Branford, CT
WXXE, Syracuse, NY
WRKF, Baton Rouge, LA
CKHA, Haliburton, ON, Canada
Eric is a member of:
AFM, local 1000
BMI (Ardith Music, publisher)
North American Folk Alliance