Eric Andersen

Antiwar songs by Eric Andersen
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Eric AndersenDal sito ufficiale / From the official site:
http://www.ericandersen.com


ERIC ANDERSEN'S songs, voice, and guitar have created a career, spanning over 30 years, that includes 21 albums of original songs, and numerous tours of North America, Europe, and Japan. His songs; have been recorded by artists all over the world, including Judy Collins, Fairport Convention, Peter Paul and Mary, Rick Nelson, Linda Ronstadt, The Grateful Dead, and Francoise Hardy.

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1943, he received his early education in Buffalo, where he taught himself guitar and piano- He saw Elvis Presley perform in a gold suit at the local city auditorium and the Everly Brothers play at his unruly high school gym. He also saw the Miles Davis Quintet at Kleinhan's music hall. He had folk groups that performed the
political songs of Woody Guthrie and the Weavers and spent a great deal of time reading the books of Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Jack Kerouac, and Allen Ginsberg. After two years of pre-medical studies at Hobart College, he hitchhiked to San Francisco to try out his new songs in North Beach coffeehouses and seek out the poets of the Beat Generation. He succeeded in meeting Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Neal Cassady at the City Lights Bookstore. Weeks later, he heard them recite at a poetry reading in Haight Ashbury, on the same evening President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Songwriter Tom Paxton discovered him that late fall of 1963, performing at the Coffee Gallery in North Beach. He heard his songs and invited him to New York City. In 1964, Eric was soon introduced to the Greenwich Village songwriting circle of Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan. He played his first gig as an opening act at Gerde's Folk City. Robert Shelton of the-New York Times wrote a review where he called him "a writer and performer of the first rank…possessing that magical element called star quality." He was signed to Vanguard Records and began recording his first album.

In the Village folk and jazz clubs, he witnessed the singing and playing of some of America's greatest blues, and jazz masters alive. The list of people heard whose music he absorbed, was vast; performers like Mississippi John Hurt, Judy Roderick, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Skip James, Lightnin' Hopkins, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Doc Watson, Dave Van Ronk, Doc Watson, Reverend Gary Davis, David Blue, Uncle Dave Macon, Fred Neil, Son House, Anita O'Day,, Charles Mingus, Bill Evans, John Coltrane, and Miles Davis. It was in these clubs where he learned, first-hand, how a master musician can with one voice or one instrument, captivate an audience.

Over the next three years he wrote and recorded four albums of his earliest songs, including his early classics "Come To My Bedside", "Thirsty Boots", and "Violets of Dawn", for Vanguard. The Brothers Four recorded a single of "Bedside" for Columbia Records and it was immediately banned from AM radio, on the grounds of obscenity. Judy Collins and the Blues, Project created pop hits of the latter two songs.

While waiting for his first album to be released, in 1964, Eric moved to the Boston area, where he often performed at the Club 47, in Cambridge. While living there, he attended Harvard Night school, to study literature courses on James Joyce, for one winter
semester. In addition to scuffling at odd jobs, he
miraculously avoided being drafted into the army, a harrowing tale later told in his epic song, "Ghosts Upon The Road." He found Boston a dead town and moved back to New York City, where he lived for a time with Gorden Friesen and Sis Cunningham, the publishers of Broadside magazine. His first songs were published there.

In the summer of 1965, he traveled to England for the first time, to play in London and at the Cambridge Folk Festival. That August, Phil Ochs introduced Eric to his audience at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, were they harmonized together on "Thirst Boots." That same year, Today Is The Highway, was released. In speaking about Eric's song "Come To My Bedside," New York Times critic, Robert Shelton, cited the lyrics –"typical of the new language and poetic patterns of what will one day be called an 'Eric Andersen song'."

In 1966, he made his Newport Folk Festival debut, and that same summer, he starred in the Andy Warhol film, Space. His second album 'Bout Changes and Things was released. The following year, 1967, he was about to be signed by manager Brian Epstein before he died. He met the Beatles in London and attended some recording sessions. Then Tin Can Alley, his third album, was released and he went on to record two albums, in 1968 and 1969, for Warner Brothers (Avalanche and Eric
Andersen) and one more for Vanguard (A Country Dream).

In 1970, he visited Amsterdam, London, and Paris, and upon his return, played the Festival Express, the legendary musical train tour across Canada. Eric was the only solo acoustic performer on a show that included Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, Buddy Guy, and the Band. He made his first appearance on national television, as a guest on The Johnny Cash Show.

He lived off and on at the Hotel Chelsea in New York, starting in 1971, where he spent time writing and performing. It was here he met the poets Patti Smith and Gregory Corso.

In 1972, Blue River, his largest selling album to date, was released on Columbia, produced by Norbert Putnam. Joni Mitchell sang the duet harmonies on the title track. The Rolling Stone, Album Guide awarded it four stars and credited it as being "the best example of the 70's singer-songwriter movements." The master tapes to his follow up album, Stages, were mysteriously lost by someone at Columbia as a result of a company shake-up and internal job politics. That senseless act was a devastating blow to his career. Between 1974 and 1977 he recorded two albums with Clive Davis at Arista Records, Be True To You and Sweet Surprise. He performed at the opening show of the Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Review, at Gerde's Folk City in New York, and again in Niagra Falls, in 1975. In 1989, Eric's Ghosts Upon the Road, his first American album
in a decade, was released to wide critical acclaim. It was produced by Steve Addabbo (co-producer of Suzanne Vega). Assisting musicians included John Leventhal Andy Newmark (drummer from John Lennon and Roxy Music), and Shawn Colvin (background vocals). New York Times music critic Robert Palmer wrote the liner notes. CD Review gave it 9 and 10 stars both for performance and sound. The album won two New York Music Awards (for best contemporary folk album and performer). The Rolling Stone Album Guide awarded it 41/2stars, saying that "The entire set stand as one of the best albums of the 1980's."

The 90's witnessed a host of new, recordings that resulted in four new albums from Eric, two in a trio format with Rick Danko and Jonas Fjeld. In addition to those have come re-issues of six of his earlier albums (including three Vanguard CDs, an Arista/Archive compilation, and two upcoming Sony and Plump releases.

In 1990, after 17 years, the missing tapes for the Columbia album, Stages, were found under mysterious circumstances, in the Sony tape
vaults in New York. They were re-mastered and released for the first time, in 1991, as Stages: The Lost Album, on Columbia Legacy records. It won the New York Music Award for best folk album of the year. Rolling Stone magazine, while reviewing Stages as a new album, described it as "a masterwork".

While working together on extra bonus tracks for The Lost Album, in New York City, Eric
teamed up with lead singer and bassist Rick Danko of the Band and Norwegian musician and songwriter Jonas Fjeld. In Oslo, in early 1991, they recorded and album built around their songs and harmonies. D.A. Pennebaker followed them on an Amtrak concert tour in upstate New York, and made a documentary film that has still never been shown.

The album Danko Fjeld Andersen was awarded the Spelleman's Pris, the Norwegian equivalent of the Grammy Award, in 1992. In the United States, it won the American Independent
Distributors award for best adult contemporary album of the year. Paul Evans called it "soul music of deep and lasting appeal (Rolling Stone). A second album, Ridin' On The Blinds, was recorded in 1994, both for Rykodisk, and that release made the top ten charts of the Americana and Triple A radio airplay lists.

In November, 1996, Eric was, an invited guest at the Conegliano (Venice), Italy Poetry Festival where he performed his songs and poetry alongside the Russian poets Andrei Voznezensky and Yevgeny Yevtushenko. He returned there again in November, 1997, to perform with guests Lou Reed and Jay McInerney.

The fall of 1997 witnessed the release of Collection, a re-mastered CD compilation of Eric's 1970's Arista albums, on Archive Records. This newly collected set according to Dirty Linen's February, 1998 review, was the resulting union of "two brilliant, largely overlooked studio albums." Eric was also a guest on the Jack Keroac tribute album Kicks, Joy, Darkness on Rykodisk, and the Phil Ochs tribute double CD, What's That I Hear, on Sliced Bread Records, released respectively, in May, 1997, and March, 1998.

Memory of the Future, Eric's first new studio recording in ten years, was released this year on Appleseed Records. Memory was recorded in Los Angeles, New York and Oslo. The
supporting talents included Howie Epstein and Benmont Tench (both from the Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker band); Dylan bassist Tony Garnier, Rick Danko and Garth Hudson (from the Band); sax and keyboardist, Robert Aaron; backup singers Eleanor Mills and Sari Andersen; Jonas Fjeld and Richard Thompson. Goldmine called Memory "a strong, ambitious album, if not Andersen's best…let's hope it won't be another decade between albums." Eric is working on a new album for Appleseed Records and will be recording this spring and summer 1999.

In July, 1999 his classic album, Blue River, newly re-mastered (and will include two previously unreleased tracks) was released on Sony Legacy; Ghosts Upon The Road was released on Plump Records (distributed by RE.D./Sony). As Robert Palmer wrote in his liner notes for Ghosts "This is great American music from one of the masters. And it's about time." In addition, his writings were part of a compendium book published by Hyperion Press entitled The Rolling Stone Book of the Beats, released in July 1999. He also performed on May 15 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at a Phil Ochs Tribute conference and concert and on July 1 at Central Park in New York for a Joni Mitchell celebration. He also appeared on the Bravo cable channel, on their artist interview series, and in the upcoming American PBS television special, Lost Voices, which is scheduled to be aired next year.

His website will soon include an ordering page from which his audience will be able to purchase his CDs and books.

When not on the road performing or recording, he spends time with his family and works at his writing. He divides his time between New York City and his home outside of Oslo, Norway.