Home > Articles > CD Reviews > Ed Gerhard

Ed Gerhard


Ed Gerhard – The Live Album
1999 – Virtue Records

Having set album sales records with his previous studio albums, perennial “Top Ten”-er Ed Gerhard has taken his popular guitar music on tour and has put his tour on vinyl (er- plastic) for his first live album. Recorded “bootleg” style between 1995 and 1999 all across the United States, The Live Album features familiar favorites, new renditions of traditional offerings and international flavors which range from shadowy western slides to Polynesian and Irish lines. Two versions of the Gerhard favorite “Malaika” (including one on his new “mandotar” – a combination mandolin/guitar) shows how the humorous and inventive performer can give two entirely different voices to one song. The oddly-titled solo “Duet” demonstrates both Gerhard’s melodic range and dexterous duality, which ranges from harpsichordian brightness to bowed bass depth. With tips to fellow fret-men such as Martin Simpson, Michael Hedges and Mark Knoffler, Gerhard takes the best from the guitar canon and shoots in his own special style. From amid the occasional chair squeaks and fret scratches emerges an album which is most often studio clean yet which also captures the improvisational interest and fun of Gerhard’s live performances.

- Matthew S. Robinson
© 1999 M. S. Robinson, ARR

Ed Gerhard - Counting the Ways (Love Songs)
10 song CD
Released by Virtue Records
Produced by Ed Gerhard

As a guitar player and music writer, I know how it feels to hear a song in your head or on the radio and want to play it just as it sounds to you at the time. Unfortunately, this is no easy task. Whether it be the tuning, the strings, the chords, the picking pattern or the talent (or lack thereof), many songs never sound "quite right".
Such does not appear to be a difficulty for Ed Gerhard.
Using odd tunings, high strung and slack-key Hawaiian lap steel set-ups along with a refined elegance and emotion not often found in today's guitar solo albums, Gerhard takes us on a lilting and moving journey through some great classics done in new and softly daring ways.
Along the path, Gerhard calls on a number of old friends to help him. His pairing of pairing of Lennon and McCartney's "If I Fell" and "In My Life" is brilliant and well-mixed. A dreamy slide down Mr. Presley's "Can't Help Falling In Love" makes it an even more tender slow dance. Of Phil Spector's "Spanish Harlem," Ed asks "how the guy in the song was going to pick the rose then watch it grow in his garden." Regardless of how the rose grows, in Ed's care, it blossoms abundantly. For his version of Mississippi John Hurt's "My Creole Belle," Gerhard picks a "nice and loose" first-take duet with friend and fellow minstrel Arlo Guthrie (who is himself coming to Berklee on November 23).
The rest of the album consists of traditional American pieces -- such as a concluding pick through "The Water is Wide" -- as well as some more foreign yet no less acquainted choices -- such as the English ballad "Willy O' Winsbury," the African romance "Malaika" (which hints of Dire Straits' "Why Worry" and The Beach Boys' "Be True To Your School") and the Hawaiian good-bye song "Isa Lei". Every song is stirring, caressing the ears. A great album to read with, romance with, or fall asleep to (though it deserves to be heard with full wakened attention as well).
Gerhard's albums (more of which will be reviewed in future issues) are released by New Hampshire's Virtue Records, so I am sure he will be in the area soon. Until then, check him out on disc and prepare for what is certainly a most enjoyable concert experience.

- Matt "Rocky" Robinson
© 1996 M. S. Robinson, ARR

Be sure to read his Live Review...


©2003-2005 Boston Beats






Boston Music, Boston Artist Interviews, Boston Bands