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Hard to Hardt

WUWF kicks off Acoustic Series
By Jennie McKeon

For those who need their Acoustic Interlude fix during RadioLive’s hiatus, you’ll be happy to know that WUWF is bringing Ed Gerhard and Cliff Eberhardt to Pensacola.

“Ed Gerhard has performed on RadioLive more than any other artist and has a tremendous following in this area,”said Executive Director Pat Crawford in an email. “Although we have only had Cliff Eberhardt on RadioLive a few times, his performances were very well received.  I am particularly impressed with his songwriting and musical artistry.  Both artists are from New England and know one another, so we thought it would be a great pairing.”

Grammy-winner Ed Gerhard has performed at RadioLive more than any other artist. He’s toured all over the world with his 6-string, 12-string or slide guitar; he sometimes plays a Weissenborn, an acoustic Hawaiian lap slide.

Gerhard learned to play the guitar in his adolescent years, dropping out of lessons and playing by ear, slowing down LPs to make out the complicated notes. By the age of 15, he was playing in churches and coffee houses.

Since 1977, Gerhard has resided in New Hampshire. But it’s when he ventures off the home front and onto tour that his music comes alive.

“I think that giving people something interesting to listen to and experience is job-one as a performer,” Gerhard said in an e-mail interview. “So, I try to select stuff to play that is interesting, sounds good and is engaging and affecting. I like music that encourages and rewards one’s curiosity. Music is something that speaks to the best part of us all and I want my listeners to feel and remember that.”

Like Gerhard, Eberhardt is also a familiar face to RadioLive audiences. Also like Gerhard, he grew up in a musical family and jumped on the circuit by the age of 15.

Eberhardt toured with his brother, Geoff, until he was 21-years-old. He moved to New York City in 1978 and became a taxi driver. He also played solo gigs, toured with Richie Havens and even wrote advertising jingles for Coke, Miller Beer and Chevrolet during the “Heartbeat of America” campaign. Today, the Red House recording artist is a large part of the Greenwich Village new-folk movement.

Both artists also cite Mississippi John Hurt as a musical influence, which is a good sign for blues lovers.

The duo will be playing as part of the Acoustic Music Series. The series is a collection of quarterly concerts, featuring two musicians at a time. Like RadioLive, this upcoming concert will be an intimate setting—the Emerald Coast Ballroom at the Hilton on Pensacola Beach. Tickets are $20, with only 200 available.

While the acoustic series is just a substitute for RadioLive, which should resume this time next year, it will continue the show’s tradition of bringing world-renowned artists to the area for a good cause: supporting local radio.

“The goal of the Acoustic Music Series is to raise funds in support of WUWF, while still remaining affordable for attendees,” said Crawford. “The Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front is donating the performance venue and lodging for the artists and the artists are performing for a fraction of their normal fees, so more than $16 of the $20 ticket price goes directly to support the station. We hope the audience will feel good about supporting a good cause while enjoying a fantastic evening of great music.”

RadioLive has always been a popular event for WUWF. It was only a matter of time before the station had to give its fans something for their patience.

“The hiatus of RadioLive has created a void for folks who enjoy seeing some of the best songwriters in the world performing their original compositions in a family-friendly environment
where the focus is the music,” Crawford said.

Inevitably, the musicians have as good of a time as the fans.

“Pensacola audiences are so appreciative of good music—the artists who have appeared on RadioLive over the last 24 years repeatedly tell us that Pensacola audiences are the best they have ever encountered,” Crawford said.  “Continuing to bring live music is an important part of the revitalization of Pensacola.”
Gerhard agreed.

“I love coming back to Pensacola,” the musician said. “It’s a beautiful place full of great people. I have an abiding love for all my friends at WUWF and for the wonderful audiences I’ve had there for many years.”

HARD TO HARDT
WHEN: 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 10
WHERE: Emerald Coast Ballroom, Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front
COST: $20
DETAILS: 474-2787 wuwf.org