Eric SommerHometown: Boston, MA
Bird's eye view of guitar virtuoso Eric Sommer
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Mr. Sommer has turned a simple strumming style into what may very well be the next big thing: an explosive and dramatic free-form style and, in the process, he's become one of the finest free-form pickers anywhere, borrowing from Steve Howe, Merle Travis, Doc Watson and turning out a style that is authentically unique. And almost impossible to copy.
The free-form guitar style utilizes an original and explosive fret approach – using every fret on the neck and re-tuning on the fly, bending the neck and slapping the strings, sound holes, guitar tops and sides.
But Eric Sommer does more – a wide variety of open tunings, a range of guitars and a collection of small, wonderfully obscure vintage guitar amps add to the presentation. And seeing Mr. Sommer work all these elements in a live show is something audiences remember for years.
One of the noticeable standouts in any Eric Sommer show is the on-the-fly improvisational approach to many of the breaks, solo sections and dramatic lulls in an "audio-wash, wall-of-sound" presentation.
The combination of raw amp feedback cycled with acoustic guitar overtones that seem to merge in the air is a remarkable process to experience.
Mr. Sommer has been taking notes and writing down his thoughts and observations for a number of years – Red Chairs and Black Pancake are the result – two collections of stories, prose and commentary on life, looking around the corners and where to look for happiness and oil-change coupons.
Eric started his musical career in the Boston area and has been a regular player on many national tours and showcases. He worked in Europe for two years on Danish, German and British rock stages, returned to Boston and formed The Atomics, a cult power-pop band in South Boston.
His influences are as diverse as Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, Steve Howe and The Ramones. Mr. Sommer's current project with power trio "The Solar Flares" shake up Chet Atkins and David Bromberg influences with those of Randy Travis and Elvis Costello - a remarkable mix.
With open tunings, slide guitar, lap-slap tone guitar and a remarkably aggressive fingering style approach, watching Eric Sommer will make you jump out of your seat and holler for joy! There are very few players who have maintained this authentic American style of guitar and Eric Sommer is one of the very best.