Tim Eriksen is "widely regarded as the best ballad singer of his generation" (BBC Radio). He combines hair-raising vocals with savvy arrangements for fiddle, banjo, guitar and bajo sexto, transforming American tradition with a "northern roots" Americana sound that embraces old New England murder ballads, “shape-note” gospel and haunted originals alongside Southern Appalachian and Irish songs. His 2010 Appleseed CD Soul of the January Hills, featuring fourteen solo unaccompanied songs, is hardcore Americana at its most elemental, and he appears as a soloist in Evan Chambers' new symphonic work The Old Burying Ground (Dorian/Sono Luminus 2010).
Considered "among the world's finest folk practitioners" (Toronto Star) for his expertise in traditional song, Tim is also known for his own compositions - “strange and original works” (NetRhythmsUK) with a “rare sense of purpose” (Q Magazine) that have been included in films like the Billy Bob Thornton vehicle Chrystal and the upcoming feature documentary Behold the Earth. Eriksen's other notable work has included extensive contributions to Anthony Minghella’s 2004 Oscar-winning film Cold Mountain as well as collaborations ranging from hardcore punk and Bosnian pop to symphony orchestra and the 2010 Grammy-nominated album Across the Divide with Afro-Cuban world-jazz phenomenon Omar Sosa.
The former frontman of the prophetic groups Cordelia's Dad ("folk-noise"), Northampton Harmony (shape-note quartet) and Zabe i Babe (Bosnian folk and pop), Tim Eriksen is the only musician to have shared the stage with both Kurt Cobain and Doc Watson (not to mention Jack White and Ralph Stanley), and his media appearances have ranged from Prairie Home Companion to the Academy Awards.
Having graduated from early shows at punk mecca CBGB, Tim’s more recent performances have included his Carnegie Hall debut as a soloist in Evan Chambers' The Old Burying Ground and two week-long stints at the Blue Note Jazz Club with Omar Sosa. In the studio, he has worked with producers including Joe Boyd, T-Bone Burnett and Steve Albini.
TEACHING AND SCHOLARSHIP:
Tim Eriksen's work as an ethnomusicologist and teacher has included extensive research on "shape-note" music in New England and the venerable Sacred Harp four-part harmony tradition. He is a founder of what is currently the world's largest Sacred Harp singing convention, in Northampton, MA. In the words of Paste Magazine editor Josh Jackson, "no one has done more to help revive Sacred Harp singing among a younger generation."
Eriksen has taught college courses including American Balladry, Global Sounds, Film Music from Hollywood to Bollywood, American Music, and Songwriting at Dartmouth College, Amherst College, The University of Minnesota, Hampshire College and Wesleyan University. In addition, he has taught hundreds of hour- to week-long workshops and seminars in shape-note harmony singing, American music history, ballad singing and instrumental accompaniment at festivals, universities, museums and arts centers, including the Smithsonian Institution, Harvard University, the Society for Ethnomusicology Convention, Colours of Ostrava Festival (Czech Republic), Camp Fasola (Anniston, AL) and the Early Music Festival in Jaroslaw, Poland. His students have ranged from a group of kindergarteners at an inner city school in Portland, Oregon to Nicole Kidman, Elvis Costello, Sting and a group of fifty Romanian extras in the film Cold Mountain and the senior citizen members of the now legendary Young at Heart Chorus.
Tim Eriksen tours the UK with Cath & Phil Tyler in April 2012.