Saturday, September 16, 2006
irtuoso fingerstyle guitarist Howard Emerson is one of those rare performers whose style is instantly recognizable. His silky, yet extraordinarily precise picking has earned him a place in Long Island's music history. When he was a teenager, Howard was a member of Topper, which eventually became the Billy Joel Band, and he appears prominently on Joel's 1975 release Turnstiles. Acoustic legend Eric Andersen recruited him to record on Be True to You in 1976, and he has toured with Andersen as well. Most recently, Howard could be seen onstage with Dion, whose much-heralded return to his blues roots has gained national attention.
self-taught player to this day, he took up guitar in 1963 at the age of twelve. Although the Beatles were already a big influence in the decision, his heroes quickly became The Ventures, and in particular, Nokie Edwards, their lead guitarist. He learned to fingerpick in the fall of 1969 while cutting class at Berklee School of Music, which he attended, ostensibly, in order to avoid the draft. He learned bottleneck and open-tunings, and was very influenced by Ry Cooder, Randy Newman and Little Feat, in particular, Lowell George. He recorded and toured with Richard Supa, eventually recording two albums with him. After that he toured with folk legend Eric Andersen, for whom he opened on numerous occasions.
oward has opened for Chris Smither, David Bromberg, John Hammond, Dan Hicks, Jimmy Vivino, Johnny Johnson, Dion, Asleep at the Wheel, and many others. He teaches guitar at his home in Huntington Station, NY, as well as teaching many students abroad via the video tape lessons that he specializes in.
oward is much in demand both as a session man and as a showcase artist. If you have been to any of the recent Great American Guitar Shows, you have undoubtedly seen Howard demonstrating his trademark style as a representative for the Martin Guitar Company.
oward's style is pure magic, and can transform even the most jaded listener into a true believer. His music is expressive, dynamic, full of groove and magical poetry.
his was Howard's third appearance at the Hard Luck Café; he was featured at the second Hard Luck concert in 1992 and he was last here in 2001. This was an unforgettable performance and demonstration of his master talent in this Hard Luck Café return engagement.
Link to Howard's website:
Listen to his music:
and on the same program
he band's name, "Fourteen Feet", which is the height of the drop from the gallows, was chosen half in jest when singer/songwriter, guitarist Steve Welner began the project in the late 90's. Built around the songwriting of Steve, Fourteen Feet plays a "rootsy" blend of rock and roll, alt-country, folk and blues.
n addition to Steve (second from left above), the band is made up of Mike Breier (bass, vocals) (third above), Rich Lanahan (guitar, vocals)(on the extreme right with the great extreme mustache), and Len Weinstein (drums, percussion)(on the left).
ourteen Feet, natives to Long Island, is gaining respect not only among musicians, who recognize the level of talent and craftsmenship involved in their work, but among audiences who find themselves dancin', bobbin' and weavin' to the groove-oriented, Americana rock.
he band has received praise for their acoustic as well as their electric performances. Fourteen Feet has stirred up comparisons to the likings of The Wallflowers, Tom Petty, Son Volt, WILCO, and The Band, with vocals that conjure John Hiatt and Steve Earle. Songs from their first CD, All You Need have received airplay on commercial FM radio stations WEHM 92.9 and WBAB 102.3, as well as assorted college stations and podcasts.
n this occasion, even though their drummer was not able to make it here tonight, they delivered a rousing solid set, featuring cuts from their upcoming second album Running Hearts, due to be released this September, capping a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
Link to their website:
Listen to their music:
Our host tonight was Ira Perlman,
and our open mike featured performances by:
If you weren't here tonight, you missed yet another of the very best programs of the year ...