Wednesday, January 16, 2019     Volume: 19, Issue: 45

Santa Maria Sun / Music

The following article was posted on April 11th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 6 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 6

Eric Andersen brings decades of lyrical work to Tales from the Tavern in Santa Ynez


The 1960s folk music scene in Greenwich Village, New York City, was an explosion of creativity, with artists like Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Maria Muldaur filling the coffee shops and pubs with their no-frills sound.

Eric Andersen was one of those artists, picking an acoustic guitar and sharing his unique poetry with audiences in that transformative time and place.

Iconic folk/rock singer-songwriter Eric Andersen will perform hits featured on the new Sony/Legacy Recordings collection, The Essential Eric Andersen, at Tales from the Tavern in Santa Ynez on April 25.

Andersen’s music definitely made an impact. His songs were recorded by artists like Dylan, Judy Collins, and the Grateful Dead, and now, Sony/Legacy Recordings has released a 42-track double CD release, The Essential Eric Andersen, an extensive retrospective on the iconic singer-songwriter’s career.

He’ll bring those songs and the new collection along with him when he performs in Santa Ynez on April 25 for the Tales from the Tavern concert series. It’s a chance for Central Coast music lovers to either acquaint or reacquaint themselves with Andersen’s extensive collection, he said.

Andersen told the Sun that he was closely involved with picking the music for The Essential Eric Andersen, which is available on streaming platforms, CD, and vinyl.

“I had to roll my sleeves up and get involved with this thing,” Andersen said. “It took a while to get the sequences because it’s basically chronological, different songs and the versions, and the producer said it’s the best one she’s ever done because it was created like it was a new record, a work of art, not just slapping together the best known songs like they usually do with these things.”

His early style epitomized the “folk guitar guy” style, he explained, with poetic stanzas over rhythmic finger picking and chords. He never really performed folk songs, Andersen explained, but his songwriting style comes from that tradition.

Telling tales
Tales from the Tavern presents Eric Andersen performing live with opener Teresa Tudury on April 25 at 7 p.m. at the Maverick Saloon, 3687 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez. More info: (805) 688-0383 or

“It’s like blues, early blues from the Delta, or those Appalachian folk songs,” he said. “Or Woody Guthrie, singing these incredibly great songs with just him and a guitar. The guitar’s not totally in tune and he’s not totally in tune, but you hear these lyrics, and these things are like bedtime stories. … You get carried away in your imagination.”

One of the most iconic songs of his early career was “Thirsty Boots,” a song he wrote about a friend who was involved in the Civil Rights movement, inviting him to “take off your thirsty boots and stay for a while.”

But Andersen’s career went well beyond Greenwich Village and the 1960s. He explored different instruments and mixed in styles of rock, blues, and jazz over the decades. He also collaborated with a vast array of well known artists of the rock ’n’ roll scene through the ’60s and beyond.

There was the famously wild and drug-fueled tour in 1970 dubbed Festival Express, which included the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Band, the Flying Burrito Bros, Buddy Guy, and Andersen.

It was an incredibly creative time, Andersen said. He got close with a few artists, like Rick Danko, the bassist for The Band. He also collaborated with Townes Van Zandt, who wrote “Pancho and Lefty” and other country/folk standards.

“I’m the only one he ever wrote songs with, we wrote four songs together,” he said. “It’s crazy, all these things, all these people you work with. It’s kind of beautiful.”

Tales from the Tavern at the Maverick Saloon in Santa Ynez features artists who write in the tradition of the troubadour, with the poetic depth and storytelling that Eric Andersen is known for.

Some longtime friends and collaborators will join Andersen for his California tour, he said. The Tales from the Tavern performance will include Cheryl Prashker, a percussionist, playing djembe; Steve Postell, who’s played with David Crosby; Jennifer Warnes on lead guitar; and violinist Scarlet Rivera.

Rivera has been a sought-after violinist ever since she played on Dylan’s album Desire and on his Rolling Thunder Revue tour, Andersen explained.

“All those pictures of Dylan and Baez and Scarlet, she was the wild violin player with the long red hair,” he said.

Tales from the Tavern, which takes place at the Maverick Saloon, celebrates songwriters who can spin a good yarn, and Andersen is full of stories. He will share some memories that span the decades, he said, from his beginnings in New York to his later years living in Europe.

He lives in the Netherlands currently, and has new projects on the horizon with collaborators he met in Europe, he said. A side passion of his is poetry and spoken-word performances of work by the famous writer/philosophers Albert Camus and Heinrich Boll.

“We’re going to cover the span of years, from the songs I’m known for to brand new things that I’m writing,” he said. “It’s not down the beaten trail. Some of it’s a little bit anti-fascist kind of stuff. You know, Camus and and Heinrich Boll were anti-Nazis.

“The plot thickens, huh?” he laughed.

Managing Editor Joe Payne appreciates a good storyteller and songwriter. Contact him at

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