Ed Gerhard performed at the All Star Guitar Night during the Winter NAMM Show many years ago. The gigantic conference hall was packed with a standing-room-only crowd including fellow musicians and prominent music-business folk. Gerhard’s version of The Water Is Wide was transfixing. His tone, haunting arrangement, and obvious love of the guitar flowed over the silent crowd, only to be followed by a rousing standing ovation.
While Gerhard has produced a sizable collection of recordings, his fans have accepted the fact that there may be a long wait between releases. There and Gone is once again worth that wait, an album that captures not only his intimate interaction with his stringed instruments, but also his selection of heartfelt titles.
Not one to repeat thematic stylings from album to album, Gerhard’s latest is split down the middle with covers and originals. He notes that he didn’t go out of his way to select the cover songs, as was the case with “Heart Like A Wheel,” he says these songs selected him.
Those familiar with his live performances will recognize his rendition of “Imagine.” Thanks to a serendipitous moment, Gerhard realized how you could string seemingly unrelated songs together and segued “Imagine” into “Across The Universe.” His talent at enhancing the emotion of a song captures Lennon’s solemn ode and then transitions into “Across The Universe” with the upbeat message that there may be hope after all.
Other covers include Leo Kottke’s “Three Quarter North”‘ in which Gerhard pays homage to one of his heroes. Gerhard recorded three takes, but reverted to his original attempt as it reflected a cleaner, more spontaneous version. As he explains, “When something started sounding too smooth or polished, I found it lost some of the immediacy, that ‘moment of discovery thing.”
For Weissenborn fans, Gerhard’s rendition of the traditional “Rye Whiskey Mash” is delivered with no less than four of the lap guitars: two 1920s Weissenborns, a Bear Creek, and a Breedlove made for him by Jayson Bowerman.
If you’re wondering when Gerhard’s next offering will be finished, have patience. He says he has a bunch of new tunes in the pipeline: “I’m already on to the next thing, whatever that may be.”