Wednesday, September 11, 2013

SONGPOET: Who Was The One Who Made Me Feel Unkind? Close The Door Lightly When You Go


When I was barely out of my teens, one of my favorite artists on the local New York scene was Eric Andersen, a folk singer who every girl I liked seemed to be in love with. That was one motivation for booking him to play at my college. I was a freshman when I discovered his cover of the Big Joe Williams song, "Baby Please Don't Go" on his debut album, Today Is the Highway, but it wasn't until the following year, when he released 'Bout Changes 'n' Things (which included classics like "Violets of Dawn," "Thirsty Boots," "Hey Babe, Have You Been Cheatin'," "Close the Door Lightly When You Go" and a great cover of Arthur Crudup's "That's All Right Mama" that Eric became one of the forever artists of my life. Forty years later I went to see him at McCabe's in Santa Monica and reconnected. And this week, I heard about Songpoet, a documentary about his life and career that's being produced by Paul Lamont and Scott Sackett. Here's what they have to say about the project:
Our aim is to make a film that deeply explores the influences and experiences that have helped shape one of the most distinctive voices in American music. We are honored that Eric Andersen has put his trust in us to tell his story. We'll take you along as we dig deeper into a world that is uniquely his and has helped to shape him as an artist. We've put all of ourselves into making a film that we’re proud of and have come a long way since first starting this project but now, we need a little extra momentum to complete primary filming and interviews. That’s why we’re reaching out to all Eric Andersen fans to lend a hand... To date, we've filmed in Toronto, Buffalo, New York City, Woodstock, The Netherlands, Germany and France. We've filmed Eric in concert, conducted multiple interviews with him and have interviewed and eclectic group of people that includes musicians, poets, artists, record producers, friends and family.

...Eric Andersen is one of the most poetic singer-songwriters to have emerged on the landscape of American music.  We think it's important that Eric is captured on film; sharing his thoughts, telling his stories and showing us a side of himself that we rarely get the opportunity to see.  But most importantly, because we feel that you would like to see a film about Eric Andersen as much as we would.
   They're offering all kinds of perks to people who contribute towards the project and you can check that out here, There's renewed interest in Eric now because of the he current release of “Thirsty Boots”-- Bob Dylan’s heartfelt tribute to Eric on Another Self Portrait.

For Eric, every big break seemed to be followed by disappointment.  In 1967, legendary Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein recognized Eric’s incredible talent and put him on his roster with the Beatles.  A few months later, Brian died unexpectedly.  Words can’t express how that must have felt to a young artist on the rise, but Eric didn’t let it slow him down. The early 70’s was the time of the singer-songwriter in American music and it was then that he was picked up by Clive Davis at Columbia Records. At the time, Clive was making household names out of people such as Carlos Santana, Billy Joel and Loggins and Messina. Now, he turned his attention to the singer-songwriters and Eric Andersen.  Clive sent Eric to Nashville where he recorded one of the most critically acclaimed albums of 1972, Blue River, produced by Norbert Putnam.  The follow-up album, Stages, again produced by Putnam in Nashville, was predicted to launch Eric’s career up the charts.  But one of the most baffling events in the history of contemporary music occurred that year-- a career-changer that still haunts Eric from the shadows.  All 40 master recording tapes for Stages mysteriously and inexplicably disappeared.  Never before or after has a record company lost a complete album.  Although the tapes resurfaced 17 years later, his career had been forever altered by the event-- no plausible explanation has ever been given.

But despite what’s happened along the way, he’s evolved and remained true to his art. And although we may never find out what happened to the Stages masters or how they disappeared from the Columbia vaults, the mystery deserves to be explored just as Eric’s absorbing story and captivating music need to be heard. 



At 10:07 PM, Blogger Cirze said...

Thanks for the mention, sweetie.

I loved this guy!



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