Eric Andersen (born February 14, 1943, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is an American singer-songwriter.
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In the early 1960s, Eric Andersen was part of the Greenwich Village folk scene in New York. His best-known songs from that time are "Violets of Dawn", "Come to My Bedside", and "Thirsty Boots" (the latter recorded by Judy Collins, Bob Dylan, amongst others).
In 1964, Andersen made his debut at Gerdes Folk City in a live audition for Vanguard Records. In 1965, Andersen starred in the Andy Warhol movie Space and in 1966 he made his Newport Folk Festival debut. He also took part in the Festival Express tour across Canada in 1970 with the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Band, Delaney Bramlett and others.
Andersen signed with Columbia in 1972 and issued his most commercially successful album Blue River. The master tapes of his follow-up album Stages were lost before the album could be released, resulting in the loss of much of the momentum he had gained with Blue River. The Stages tapes were found nearly two decades later and issued in 1991 as Stages: The Lost Album.
Andersen parted ways with Columbia and recorded sporadically for a number of labels throughout the remainder of the 1970s and into the early 1980s. In 1975 he performed with Arlen Roth at the opening show of Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue at Gerde's Folk City and again in Niagara Falls.
In the late 70s, Andersen was also a member of The Woodstock Mountains Revue, a unique folk group that also featured Artie Traum, Happy Traum and John Sebastian.
After falling into obscurity for a number of years, he reemerged in 1988 with a new album, Ghosts Upon the Road. Though the album only did modestly well, it was widely praised and placed on a number of critics' year-end "best of" lists.
At this time in his career, Andersen was living in Oslo, Norway, and, in the early 1990s, Andersen formed the trio Danko/Fjeld/Andersen together with Rick Danko (The Band) and the Norwegian singer-songwriter, Jonas Fjeld. The trio recorded three albums and performed together for nine years. In 1998, Andersen released his first solo album in a decade, Memory of the Future. Praised as "dreamy and introspective", the album was followed two years later by You Can't Relive The Past, which included original blues numbers as well as a selection of songs co-written with Townes Van Zandt. A double album Beat Avenue followed in 2003. Besides mostly rock-dominated ballads, the album's 26-minute title track was a jazzy beat poem relating his experiences among San Francisco's beat community of artists on the day of President John F. Kennedy's assassination.
In 2003, Andersen won the it:Premio Tenco award with Patti Smith in San Remo, Italy. It is an award given to outstanding songwriters. Previous awards have gone to Jackson Browne, Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and Randy Newman.
Andersen's next albums, The Street Was Always There in 2004 and Waves in 2005, were both produced by multi-instrumentalist Robert Aaron. In addition to covers of his own songs, the albums featured new versions of classics by his sixties contemporaries and friends, including David Blue, Bob Dylan, Richard Fariña, Tim Hardin, Peter La Farge, Fred Neil, Phil Ochs, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Paul Siebel, Patrick Sky, Tom Paxton, John Sebastian, Happy Traum, Lou Reed, and Tom Rush. His next album Blue Rain, released in 2007, was his first live album. It was recorded in Norway and contains a blend of blues, jazz and folk.
In 2009, Andersen contributed an essay titled The Danger Zone to the Naked Lunch @ 50: Anniversary Essays, a book volume edited by Oliver Harris and Ian MacFadyen devoted to William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch, considered one of the landmark publications in the history of American literature.
In 2011, Andersen released his second live album The Cologne Concert featuring Michele Gazich on violin and Eric's wife Inge Andersen on backing vocals.
In 2012, the filmmaker Paul Lamont (Toward Castle Films) started the production of The Songpoet, a documentary film, which is expected to be ready for global distribution in 2014.
In 2013, Andersen performed in the Greenwich Village: Music That Defined a Generation, a feature-length documentary about the Greenwich Village music scene.
Andersen has completed the recording of his new album Dance of Love and Death. The album is mixed by Steve Addabbo (Suzanne Vega), other musicians are Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Group), Larry Campbell (musician) (Bob Dylan band; Phil Lesh and Friends, Levon Helm Band), Michele Gazich (Mary Gauthier, Mark Olson (musician), Michelle Shocked) and Inge Andersen. The record is expected to be released in fall 2013.
In his lengthy career, Andersen has issued more than 25 albums to which many artists have contributed, including Joan Baez, Dan Fogelberg, Al Kooper, Willie Nile, Joni Mitchell, Lou Reed, Leon Russell, Richard Thompson, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Eric Bazilian, Arlen Roth, Tony Garnier, Howie Epstein, and many others. His songs have been recorded by artists all over the world, including the Blues Project, Johnny Cash, Judy Collins, Peter, Paul & Mary, John Denver, The Dillards, Ricky Nelson, Fairport Convention, Grateful Dead, Ratdog (Bob Weir), Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Gillian Welch, and Pete Seeger.