Guitarist Ed Gerhard slides into Brandon Town Hall
BRANDON — Ed Gerhard’s unique approach to the Weissenborn is playing a significant role in reinvigorating interest in this somewhat esoteric but beautiful instrument. Not sure what a Weissenborn is? It’s a brand of lap slide guitar manufactured by Hermann Weissenborn in Los Angeles in the 1920s and 1930s. (Thanks Wikipedia). Not sure what it sounds like? Go see Gerhard, a Grammy award-winning guitar instrumentalist, perform with his Weissenborn at the Brandon Town Hall on Saturday, March 23, at 7:30 p.m.
Performing on 6-string, 12-string, slide guitar or Acoustic Hawaiian Lap Slide, 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.
Gerhard’s relationship with the guitar began at age 10, when he happened upon classical guitar master Andrés Segovia on TV.
“I’d heard all the pop music on the radio and maybe a little of that ’60s folk stuff, but this was the first time I’d ever heard the guitar all by itself and the sound just instantly got me,” he remembers.
Gerhard got his first guitar at age 14. His initial interest in classical guitar changed dramatically when he heard the music of bluesman Mississippi John Hurt. He quit lessons after the third one, and instead took some informal lessons with friends and learned by ear, slowing down LPs to half-speed to pick out the tricky parts. At 15, Gerhard was performing in local church basement coffeehouses, playing solo and jamming with friends.
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. When Gerhard was not performing solo he could often be seen sitting in with other musicians.
His debut album “Night Birds” was released 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 Gerhard on its Guitar Sampler (Vol.1). One of the highlights of the 300,000 unit selling sampler, “The Handing Down,” introduced the world to the beauty of Gerhard’s music.
“That one piece made me a lot of friends around the world,” Gerhard says.
Since then, Gerhard has released nine CDs. He was awarded a GRAMMY for his inclusion on the CD “Henry Mancini; Pink Guitar.” Warner Brothers, MelBay and Hal Leonard have all released 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.”
Today, Gerhard tours in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan, China and Korea.
Tickets to Saturday nights show at the Brandon Town Hall are available online at 802Tix.com, or at the 802Tix box office at 77 Grove St., Rutland; at Kamudas Country Market in Pittsford; or at the door if available. All tickets are $25 (+ $2 processing fee). A portion of proceeds will benefit the nonprofit Pittsford Village Farm.
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