He is one of the top acoustic guitarists in the world, but would normally not be mentioned in a blues directory.
By Frank Matheis
Nonetheless, he should be. Ed Gerhard, with his distinct, long, silver hair, plays the blues with such emotive power that it will make your head spin and your eyes mist, so why should he be excluded?
The New Hampshire guitar maestro, teacher and quintessential blues guitarist, is simply a graceful player– an indescribably soulful and stunning instrumentalist with a strong blues repertoire. Playing both 6 and 12 string standard guitar and Weissenborn lapsteel, Gerhard gets a distinctively clean, rich tone and gives every note room to breathe. He plays eloquently and with deep feeling, never too much, never too little– just right, just perfect. The instrumentalist most often performs solo and is often seen performing in international guitar festivals, shoulder to shoulder with the pillars of the international acoustic guitar world. Notable for his inventive use of many different open tunings and a strong melodic sense, Gerhard is not so much a show-off technician, but a rare player whose emphasis is feeling, but also a sense of the beauty of sound. Occasionally, critics of the blues will refer to it as simple, even “crude”. Just listen to Ed Gerhard, who elevates the blues to a level of high musicianship that it is simply beautiful.
His colorful repertoire includes many blues and spiritual standards, such as “My Creole Belle” to “Just can’t keep from crying sometimes”, “Not blind in Heaven”, and he also performs a wide range of American and international folk songs. Gerhard also masters a wide range of blues styles, covering the gamut of traditional blues from ragtime to Piedmont, from Mississippi Delta to Betonia, clean over to Hawaiian Hula blues. He deserves to be considered to be among the top echelon of acoustic blues performers today, and you can count on Ed Gerhard to provide supreme listening pleasure no matter what.
Acoustic blues lovers will love “Sunnyland” issued in 2006, a blues focused collection, but every album by Ed Gerhard is a delight.
In a lifetime of hearing music, and 40 years of loving the blues, this reviewer has never heard a better guitar performance than when Ed Gerhard performed at his radio show to a live studio audience. I consider his version of “Just can’t keep from crying sometimes” one of the most unforgettable musical experiences of my life.
This article first appeared at thecountryblues.com
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