Several years ago a small independent radio station appeared on the internet. And it slowly wedged itself into a position of authenticity and integrity. How? Primarily due to the fierce independence of the owners and curators. They refusal to take money, advertising or payoffs for play time…
That’s quite remarkable when you think about it. Since then, Radio Tfsć Stuttgart seems to have emerged as one of the new “go-to” outlets for new music of all kinds. This is a welcome change in the radio winds of fortune. And among the many outstanding artists the station features is Eric Sommer, an “under-the-radar superstar” (MidWest Record, 2019) who is everything any singer, songwriter of guitar player/musician would want to become.
How? With 5 studio records to date, one live recording from Austin, Texas and a wonderful collection of prose and short stories. Oh, and non-stop touring. In the process, this guy has amassed an amazing catalog of songs, a treasure trove of unique perspectives, and critical, off-the-path arrangements of words, music and commentary. And a collection of guitars to die for!
Eric Sommer is a singer, performer, rambler and one of the finest touring guitar players in the land. Next time he’s in your area, go see him, and you’ll be glad you did. You’ll see something special: Eric Sommer on stage, singin’ an’ guitarin’ like no tomorrow!
He’s been everywhere and done just about everything: Tours with Nick Lowe, Steve Earl, David Bromberg, and British Pop icons Wreckless Eric and Bram Tschicovsky plus, as the frontman for the ATOMICS, Eric guided the band through three national tours with Mission of Burma, Gang of Four and The Dead Kennedys – putting the ATOMICS squarely in the center of the Post Punk and New Wave cyclone…
When Eric started out, he was mesmerized by a certain number of guitar hero’s which he listened to and tried to emulate and copy, among them Paul Butterfield, Steve Howe and Chet Atkins. Then there’s the story of how he started out finger pickin’, but only he can tell that one!
“Europe, Europe” digs into the unique position the EU finds itself in currently, and emphasizes the trade off between security and freedom. This approach allows the listeners to choose for themselves. “Tin Roof” is a more hard-edged rock treatment of a familiar theme. Twisted just a bit to get a different perspective. It’s a very popular song with Radio Tfsć listeners.
Of the 5-7 songs on the rotation, “White Knuckle Girls” is one of this Artists’ best. And one of the more quirky of the lot. It’s a complicated arrangement with a solid vocal mix and a jazz/rock feel that is catchy and memorable. It deals with the dark, poigniant themes of lonliness and alienation in the modern world.
This Artist has a remarkable, diverse catalog, and is well worth a listen.
Maggie Chernier, Paris 2019
“If there’s a place for musical perfection, it’s wherever you’ll find Eric Sommer – A blistering acoustic style plus a variety of slide and open tuning formats will knock you for a loop…” wrote Studdie Burns, New Melody Maker/UK in 2013. “How one guy can do this so well is remarkable, but if you look a little deeper there’s a batch of road miles around this lad… and it all makes sense.”
Eric started his musical career in the Boston area under the eye of legendary promoter Don Law and was onstage at The Paradise Theatre in Boston for a record 40 appearances. He has been a regular player on many national and international tours and showcases, and worked in Europe for two years with Nick Lowe and acts Bram Tchaikovsky and Wreckless Eric; during this period Eric worked on Danish, German and British rock stages, returned to Boston and formed The Atomics.
As a founding member of Boston’s legendary pop/new wave cult trio “The Atomics”, who toured non-stop with Mission of Burma, Gang of Four and The Dead Kennedy’s and were on the leading edge of several musical transformations, Eric never lost sight of his acoustic roots, returning to his heroes and mentors often: David Bromberg, Steve Howe(YES), Duane Allman (Allman Bros.), Bert Jansch, Davy Graham, Robert Johnson. Mr. Sommer’s current project with power trio “The Solar Flares” shake up Chet Atkins and David Bromberg’s influences with those of Randy Travis and British Rocker Elvis Costello – a remarkable mix.
And to keep track of it all, Eric started keeping notes, which evolved from napkin scribbles to paper and pen efforts, writing stories, making poetry and capturing the roads and bridges as they went by, plus people, places and… more people which become his notes, then become characters for songs, stories, and prose.
Eric currently has four volumes of verse, 5 studio albums, a LIVE in AUSTIN DVD as well as an electronica project titled “The Smallest Particle” and more on the way… this blog is an attempt to keep track of it all…
You can reach Eric directly at ericATericsommer.com and see more of his projects here on this website. Red Chairs, Black Pancake and Blue Turtle are all available here, as well as all current releases. Please share and comment below.
Singer/songwriter Eric Sommer is an unbelievable intersection of improbable influences and experiences channeled into an amazingly diverse catalog and a résumé that reads more like a musical adventure novel than a series of career bullet points.