March 1, 2013
Tracy Grammer & Cliff Eberhardt
We are delighted to present a co-bill featuring Tracy Grammer and Cliff Eberhardt. Widely known for her work with the late Dave Carter, Tracy Grammer is a nationally-touring multi-instrumentalist and singer who has accompanied and opened for Joan Baez and recorded with Mary Chapin Carpenter. With several albums that have topped the FOLKDJ-L airplay charts and two intimate EPs that have won critical raves, she has proven herself “one of the finest pure musicians anywhere in folkdom.” ¶ Cliff Eberhardt is one of the most talented musicians on the solo acoustic circuit, full of well-crafted songs and rich, emotional vocals. One of the most original songsmiths currently on tour, his profound lyrics are sometimes overshadowed by his extraordinary guitar playing.
A favorite on the folk circuit, Tracy Grammer is primarily known as a sensitive and creative song interpreter with warm vocals and stage presence, pristine fingerstyle guitar, and an unshakable dedication to promoting the legacy of her late partner, songwriter Dave Carter. Tracy Grammer saw Dave Carter perform three songs at a songwriter’s showcase shortly after she moved to Portland, Oregon in 1996. “Here were stories that could stand alone as poetry, sung with compassion, intelligence, and a hint of Texas twang,” Grammer says. “I knew instantly that I was in the presence of greatness; I knew I had received my calling in life.” They met on their way out the door and by late 1997 had entered into a mutual “marriage in music.” Their unique strengths and diverse backgrounds came together in powerful synergy. Carter conjured mystical, romantic, true fictions while Grammer complemented his expert guitar, banjo, and voice with beautifully intoned violin, mandolin and emotionally potent vocals.
The duo signed to Massachusetts-based label Signature Sounds in 2000 and released two chart-topping albums of what they called “postmodern, mythic American folk music.” Then, on the morning of Friday, July 19, 2002 in a room at the duo’s favorite hotel in Hadley, Massachusetts, Carter returned from a run complaining of chest pains. Soon thereafter, he died in Grammer’s arms from a massive heart attack, just three weeks shy of his 50th birthday. Grammer continues to perform Carter’s songs and has produced three solo and two duo albums since Carter’s death, including the critically acclaimed tribute CD Flower of Avalon with John Jennings as co-producer and Mary Chapin Carpenter contributing backing vocals and liner notes. In 2012 Red House Records released Little Blue Egg, an album of previously-unreleased Dave & Tracy recordings.
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Red House recording artist Cliff Eberhardt knew by age seven that he was going to be a singer and songwriter. As a child Cliff taught himself to play guitar, piano, bass and drums. In his teens Eberhardt was fortunate enough to live close to the Main Point (one of the best folk clubs on the East Coast) to cut his teeth listening to the likes of James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Bonnie Raitt, and Mississippi John Hurt — receiving an early and impressive tutorial in acoustic music. At the same time, he was also listening to great pop songwriters like Cole Porter, the Gershwins, and Rodgers and Hart, which explain his penchant for great melodies and clever lyrical twists.
A driving force of the Greenwich Village New Folk movement and well known among his peers, Cliff’s songs have been covered by the likes of Richie Havens, Buffy St. Marie, Erasure, Lucy Kaplansky and the folk superstar band “Cry, Cry, Cry” (Dar Williams, Richard Shindell, Lucy Kaplansky). Most recently Cliff composed original music for, and performed in, the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Folger Theatre production of The Taming of the Shrew, in Washington, D.C. The show, which was set in the American frontier of the 1800s, was directed by Helen Hayes award winner Aaron Posner, and the reviews were outstanding. The show’s director cites Cliff among his inspirations for the show: “So we have this unique Shrew, influenced and inspired by “Deadwood.” Of course, it is influenced and inspired by many other things as well, most particularly the amazing music of singer/songwriter Cliff Eberhardt, who is composing original music and performing in a role we call The Blind Balladeer.”
- Tracy Grammer is a brilliant artist and unique individual. Her voice is distinctive, as is her mastery over the instruments she plays. Joan Baez
- [Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer have] become a treasured part of my music collection. . . . Flower of Avalon presents more songs by Dave Carter, with Tracy at the helm as artist, interpreter, co-producer and the beating heart at the center of it all. Her pure voice conveys the simple truths of these songs; her gifts as a musician are like that of a painter who is a master of chiaroscuro, offering light and shadow at every turn. . . . I was honored and humbled by the invitation to sing on this record. Mary Chapin Carpenter
- A gracefully gifted multi-instrumentalist, singer and producer. Pasadena Weekly
- One of the finest pure musicians anywhere in folkdom. The Boston Globe
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- In another age, Mr. Eberhardt would have found his niche on Tin Pan Alley or writing for Broadway shows. His songs display the highest level of craftsmanship, his guitar playing is superb and his singing deeply emotional. The Washington Times
- Eberhardt is as welcome as iced tea in August. People
- Eberhardt is better than ever, Steve McQueening his way into your heart at about ninety-eight miles an hour, kicking ass with fresh insight and new ways to lament old yearnings. Philly Rock Guide
- In a field of sensitive, new-age guys, Eberhardt digs deeper into life’s complexities and discovers much more compelling things to celebrate. The Boston Phoenix