OXFORD, N.Y. – 6 On The Square welcomes the return of singer/songwriters Cliff Eberhardt and Special Guest Louise Mosrie for a concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 11.
Eberhardt knew by age 7 that he was going to be a singer and songwriter. Growing up in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, he and his brothers sang together, and their parents played instruments. Living close to the Main Point (one of the top folk clubs on the East Coast), he received an early tutorial in acoustic music from James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Bonnie Raitt, and Mississippi John Hurt. He also listened to pop songwriters like Cole Porter, the Gershwins, and Rodgers and Hart.
At 15, Cliff and his brother, Geoff, began touring as an acoustic duo on the Eastern club circuit until Cliff turned 21 and moved to Carbondale, Illinois. There he found space to develop his own voice in a music scene that included Shawn Colvin.
After a couple of years there and a short stay in Colorado, he moved to New York City in 1978. Amid clubs such as the Bitter End, the Speakeasy, Kenny’s Castaway and Folk City, and peers like John Gorka, Suzanne Vega, Lucy Kaplansky, Julie Gold, Steve Forbert, Christine Lavin and Shawn Colvin), Eberhardt founded the Fast Folk movement. He also played guitar on the road with Richie Havens and Melanie as well as singing advertising jingles for products like Coke, Miller Beer and Chevrolet.
In 1990, Eberhardt’s song “My Father’s Shoes” appeared on Windham Hill’s Legacy collection, leading to a deal with the label and the release of his first album, 1990’s “The Long Road.” Moving to Red House Records in the 2000s, he released the critically acclaimed “The High Above and the Down Below,” named the which was named the No. 5 album of 2007 by USA Today.
Eberhardt’s song “Memphis” was included on “Cry Cry Cry,” an album of collaborative covers by the “folk supergroup” of the same name (comprised of Dar Williams, Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Shindell).
Other performers who have recorded his songs include Richie Havens, Shawn Colvin, Russ Taff and Buffy Sainte Marie. A collection of his songs has been published in “The Cliff Eberhardt Songbook” from Cherry Lane Publishing.
His latest album, “Shrew Songs: Music for ‘The Taming of the Shrew,’” was written for a production at the Folger Theatre and Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. Set in the old West, the production featured Eberhardt as the blind but wise old saloon singer bookending scenes with his songs and guitar phrases.