By Gary Mandell and Gary Kohatsu
Boulevard Music anticipates the return of one of the music industries finest all-around performers in Ed Gerhard. He will entertain audiences at the Culver City Music center from 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26. Tickets are $20.
“Performing on 6-string, 12-string, slide guitar or Acoustic Hawaiian Lap Slide, Ed Gerhard captivates his audiences with virtuosity, generosity and sly humor. Known for his gorgeous tone and compositional depth, Gerhard can move a listener with a single note.”
Scott Alalrik of the Boston Globe said it best when he wrote ‘Gerhard does not write instrumentals. He writes songs only a guitar can sing.”
In 1977 Gerhard moved to New Hampshire where he has resided ever since. Joining a thriving folk and acoustic music scene proved invaluable for the young guitarist. “There seemed to be no limitation on places to play back then, or more importantly, what you could play” Gerhard said. “You could play anything you wanted as long as people stayed around and drank.”
Based truly on the quality of his work, he built his considerable reputation, beginning with his debut album “Night Birds” in 1987. It garnered a spot in the Boston Globe Critics Poll Top 10 Albums of the Year.”
Shortly after the album’s release, Windham Hill Records included Ed on its Guitar Sampler (Vol.1). One of the highlights of the three hundred thousand unit selling Sampler, “The Handing Down” introduced the world to the beauty of Ed Gerhard’s music. “That one piece made me a lot of friends around the world,” Ed says.
Ed has released his ninth CD “There and Gone.” He was awarded a GRAMMY® for his inclusion on the CD “Henry Mancini; Pink Guitar.” Warner Brothers, MelBay and Hal Leonard have all released Ed Gerhard’s music in books. His guitar work can be heard on recordings by Arlo Guthrie, Jorma Kaukonen, Bill Morrissey and in the Ken Burns films “Mark Twain” and “ The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.”
Gerhard took a break recently to talk to the Culver City News about his background, his upcoming performance at Boulevard Music, and his future.
I started playing when I was 14 and took it seriously right off the bat. I started playing in little church basement coffeehouses when I was 15. I was hooked right away.
I’d have to say the two big influences for me were Andrés Segovia and Mississippi John Hurt. Two very different approaches, but really a big part of my core.
I loved the tone, beauty, and passion of Segovia and the relaxed informality of John Hurt. I feel like I’ve been subconsciously trying to fuse those two approaches in my own playing.
(My musical style is) instrumental guitar music. I play my own stuff, along with my own arrangements of folk melodies, pop tunes, whatever comes into my head. I like stuff that’s got some gravitas to it.
I live in New Hampshire and when I’m off the road I don’t get out much. There are some really fine musicians there, though, from the local veterans to the young folks just getting started. All kinds of styles. It’s really great when I get a chance to hear them.
As for best and worst gigs, the worst gigs turn out to be your best. Often one will have to deal with a bad audio rig, inexperienced sound techs, frustrating sound checks and any number of sudden snafus. The thing to remember is that you’re there for the listeners, not the other way around. Once I’m onstage playing, I’m a pig in shit.
I’ve played at Boulevard Music for many years now and I’m always real happy to come back. They’re great people who care about what they do. And they really care about the music. That means a lot to me. I’ll play a mix of my older and newer stuff, including some tunes on a Weissenborn-style acoustic lap steel guitar. That thing sounds amazing.
As far as what I have out there, I’ve got a bunch of recordings and some songbooks.
I’m at least two years behind on this record of cover tunes I’ve been developing. I’m finally ready to get underway once I finish this tour. It’s been a busy road year so far and I’m expecting to travel a lot this year. I’m in Hawaii now, playing some shows and will likely do another Japan tour in the fall. I’m happy to be out there in the world playing music.
Boulevard Music is at 4316 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City. Online tickets sales close at 6 p.m. the night of the show. Any remaining tickets are for sale at Boulevard Music when doors open at 7:30 p.m., unless noted otherwise. Tickets may also be purchased in person at Boulevard Music or by phone 310-398-2583 using a major credit card.