A cap­pella fella

Tim Erik­sen

Pasatiempo - - Onstage This Week -

claims to be the only mu­si­cian who has shared stages with both the tra­di­tional folk mas­ter Doc Wat­son and the late rocker Kurt Cobain. And that ex­am­ple of the va­ri­ety of styles within Erik­sen’s mu­si­cal grip is just the tip of the ice­berg.

He is per­haps best known as the lead singer of the “punk folk” band Cordelia’s Dad, which he co-founded in the late 1980s. He also has a de­gree in eth­no­mu­si­col­ogy from Wes­leyan Uni­ver­sity, has stud­ied the Car­natic mu­sic of In­dia, and is an afi­cionado of New Eng­land’s “shape-note” mu­sic and of the “sa­cred harp” four-part har­mony tra­di­tion of the Amer­i­can South.

Erik­sen’s tour sched­ule in­cludes three evening con­certs in New Mex­ico: Fri­day, Nov. 12, at the Out­post Per­for­mance Space in Al­bu­querque; Satur­day, Nov. 13, at Cow­girl BBQ in Santa Fe; and Sun­day, Nov. 14, at The Taos Inn. For these gigs, he teams up with the duo Wild Earl. Its mem­bers are vi­o­lin­ist and singer Betse El­lis, who is also a long­time mem­ber of The Wilders; and Un­cle Earl found­ing mem­ber K.C. Groves, who sings and plays man­dolin and gui­tar.

Among Erik­sen’s re­cent projects were a record­ing and Carnegie Hall con­cert of The Old Bury­ing Ground, an Evan Cham­bers com­po­si­tion on which Erik­sen worked with the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan Sym­phony Or­ches­tra and opera singers Anne-Carolyn Bird and Ni­cholas Phan. Erik­sen’s raw, pow­er­ful vo­cals are a mem­o­rable ad­di­tion on jazz pi­anist/ per­cus­sion­ist Omar Sosa’s 2009 al­bum Across the Di­vide:

A Tale of Rhythm and An­ces­try. His voice rings naked and alone on his lat­est al­bum, Soul of the Jan­uary Hills (re­leased in May by Ap­ple­seed Record­ings). He recorded the al­bum’s 14 songs unac­com­pa­nied, in one take.

Pasatiempo spoke with Erik­sen by tele­phone on the first day of Novem­ber. Pasatiempo: Do you col­lect folk songs? Tim Erik­sen: I do. There’s lots of stuff float­ing around un­der the sur­face that’s re­ally won­der­ful. I get reper­toire from a lot of places, in­clud­ing my own head, but in terms of build­ing my skills as a mu­si­cian and fol­low­ing my in­ter­est, there has been a lot of his­tor­i­cal re­search and trav­el­ing and just be­ing

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