EB Lounge Retrospect: Singers

Eric Barnhart

Vocalists: Scottie Hodge – They Can’t Take That Away, Steamroller Will Ragland – Wonderwall, Almost Like Being In Love Erika Powell – Here You Come Again Gabrielle Bedell – When I Fall In Love, The Way You Look Tonight Anna Elyse Lewis – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

El. Bass – Keith Groover Cajon – Joseph Wehunt Saxophones – Doug Norwine Piano – Eric Barnhart

"Scottie Hodge has collaborated with me for several years. A while back, we worked together on a Kickstarter project along with Will Ragland, Erika Powell, Doug Norwine, Keith Groover, Joseph Wehunt, and a few others. While that never got released, a lot of work towards that end had been completed.

Scottie had asked me on a few occasions to see whatever became of those tracks and, if possible, send some versions of them her way. While searching through archives, I found the tracks from those sessions and a few others that, for whatever reason, were never released over the years. This release puts the finishing touches on those recordings and gathers them together.

Since moving to Greenville, I have had the distinct privilege and pleasure of performing in the EB Lounge with some of the finest vocalists in the Upstate. This release showcases a few of them. Hope you enjoy listening to them as much as I enjoy accompanying them!" -eee

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Ars Orandi, Ars Credendi

Eric Barnhart

Contemplative piano: all great music makes you feel; some great music makes you think.

Ars Orandi, Ars Credendi is Eric Barnhart’s seventh album scheduled to release November 1, 2016. While no stranger to the recording process, this is only Eric’s second release to have a decidedly contemplative bent, and it’s in this genre that he plans to stay.

From Eric: “My first foray into recording contemplative music, As We Forgive Our Debtors, was a hymns project I recorded in 2011. It was comprised entirely of solo piano improvised arrangements of favorite hymns I’ve sang and led in different worship contexts over the years. While I’ve thoroughly enjoyed making every album I’ve released, …Debtors has been the one that, time and again, people express a desire to hear more of in that vein.

“Ars Orandi, Ars Credendi is my answer to that request. I’ve been pursuing a Master’s degree in Worship Studies for the last year. The concepts we’ve been discussing and reading on have combined with desires and ambitions that have been fermenting in me for years and even decades. New monasticism, ecumenism and reconciliation, a heart for local community, a love for mystery, story and mission, and my life pursuit of listening intently for the music of the moment and seeking to give it voice have all combined in this strange alchemical brew that’s – sometimes more than a bit uncomfortably – definitively ‘me.’ It’s a single barrel run of my artistic soul.”

The resulting ideological and musical confluence is a twelve-track album of entirely solo piano with mostly improvised arrangements. Each song takes its name from an element commonly found in Christian worship. “For two millennia and across the world, Christians have been doing church. What may surprise some is that the essential aspects of Christian worship are found almost universally in every well-known representation of Christianity. The third song entitled “Assurance,” for example, is found in every denomination, affiliation, era, what-have-you; God assures His people of his love for them. My version here is an extension of that assurance as I’ve lived and interacted with it.

“My vision for this album overall was to capture the essence of these ‘worship moments’ and express them in a musical way, drawing from multiple cultural contexts and personal experience, in an effort to say how I personally find them meaningful. My hope is that, as I tell this particular story, others will feel shared sentiments and hear new perspectives on ancient words, regardless of their spiritual orientation. In a time where we are in desperate need of greater unity and understanding, this is my own small attempt at offering the same.”

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As We Forgive Our Debtors (2nd Edition)

Eric Barnhart

A recollection of hymns for solo piano

The four-year anniversary release of the album. Album notes:

As We Forgive Our Debtors: A Recollection of Hymns for Solo Piano is a project release that I've been planning to make for over a decade. From the time I began my first position as a music director for a church in 1998 to present, I have frequently performed improvised solo piano arrangements of hymns for churches and Christian events. Over the course of the years, I have received the occasional request from someone for an album made exclusively of these solo performances. I have always liked the idea but, for reasons that have changed with each passing season, had never found it the right time. Then, a few months ago, I began to feel prompted to finally pursue recording the project. Several things lined up in a matter of a few weeks to make it possible, and on a bright and windy Saturday afternoon of April 16, 2011, I sat down in the studio and recorded the songs which were to make up ...Debtors.

In pre-production for the studio session, I decided I wanted to go in with most of the songs already chosen. I made a list of ten hymns the previous Thursday that carried special significance to me. The overall selection process took probably 30 seconds at most; they were easy choices for me. Once I finished recording that Saturday evening, I had decided that one song didn't quite fit with the others and pared the track total down to nine.

The arrangement for each song on ...Debtors is fully improvised. I decided which hymn I wanted to play, hit the record button, and tried to let the music take me where it wanted to go. There was no preconceived structure to guide me, only certain images in my head and heart of how that particular hymn has accompanied me during my sojourn in this world en route to the next.

In his book The Healing Path, Dan Allender comments about recollection:

Memory is the key to faith. The dilemma is that as I remember the moments where God has redeemed me, I am also left with the many moments he has chosen, apparently, to abandon me or – even more painful to admit – betray me. Many will say, “God never abandons and certainly never betrays.” True. But then why are those sentiments a consistent complaint of the faithful who follow God (see Psalm 13, 39, 44, 88)? ...We suffer when we remember. And as we suffer, we doubt. It is doubt that sends us on a search to comprehend God. And it is that search that leads us not so much to God as much as it brings God to find us. Do we find God? Indeed, but only because he finds us first. And it is in the wonder of being found that we enter a place of rest and stability that gives us not only faith, but a sense of our identity and calling.

The last two years have been particularly painful ones for me and, admittedly, full of moments that have tested my faith. As I was buffeted by the maelstrom of events that unfolded, I was able to quell the private storm within me only when I allowed myself to use arguably the greatest power God gives his children: forgiveness. As I type these notes on Good Friday, I am reminded of the greatest example of its use in the words “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” This is love.

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In My Life: Solo Piano Sojourns

Eric Barnhart

Solo Piano arrangements of classics and current hits from radio, TV and film

Eric Barnhart: the Upstate's Piano Man.

On his latest release, In My Life: Solo Piano Sojourns, Eric showcases some of the most requested and memorable arrangements he performs as house pianist for the Westin Poinsett, a crown jewel in the center of downtown Greenville, formerly constructed in the 1920s and recently restored to its full grandeur.

The Muppet Show Theme: a staff favorite

As Time Goes By: a highly requested crooner classic

You've Got A Friend In Me: for all of the kids at heart

Just The Way You Are: for the (many, many, many) Billy Joel fans

Let It Go: popular with the 5'0” and under crowd

Radioactive, Not About Angels: helping the tweens and teens to feel at home

HP GoT LotR: a shout out to fellow fantasy nerds

In My Life: for the (many) Beatles fans

Closer To The Heart: piano can rock, too

Sixteen Tons: a new take on a country classic

Evergreen: for the (many) Babs fans

The final track, With Love, is an original improvisation.

BIO:

For Eric Barnhart, the piano is more than an instrument – it's home. From the days he began playing by ear on his brother's toy xylophone up through today, no other place has been as inspiring, challenging, or comforting as when his fingers are on the keys.

Wherever Eric has found himself over the years – the rolling fields of the rural Midwest, the clubs and beaches of Miami, the “New South” of Atlanta or his current home in Greenville, SC – the piano has been his way of embracing the local culture, absorbing it and making it his own. The crowds at his performances are never quite sure where their musical journey will carry them next: the sounds of sassy blues from a swanky jazz club; a driving tumbao for the salsa dance floor; a plaintive folk melody drifting off the mountain cabin back-porch, or a dozen other destinations. One thing, however, can be rest assured: it will be worth the trip.

"Eric's style and versatility make him one of my favorite musicians to work with. He possesses the subtlety to make ballads emotional and lilting, the energy to add just the right rhythm to the blues, and the touch to add his own interpretation to modern classics. Plus, he's always professional, polished, and has a constant smile on his face... and those things alone would make him a joy to work with, but the fact that he's a great musician is the icing on the cake." ~Whitney Walters, vocalist, actor, Executive Director of International Center for The Upstate

"Eric Barnhart is a gifted musician with an unparalleled ear for the sounds of classic rock and Americana. I've worked with Eric on dozens of tracks over a period of fifteen years and I can wholeheartedly recommend his craftsmanship as a writer, arranger, and performer." ~Jed Brewer, Director, Mission:USA Productions

"Working with Eric is a true joy. His heart, talent and dependability are second to none. Eric is truly one of my favorite musicians to work with in worship settings, recording sessions or just last minute gigs. He puts his heart and soul not only into his music but his faith as well. I am honored to know him not only as a fellow musician but a friend." ~Shane Martin, Nashville session guitarist & worship leader

"His shows are completely delightful. He is incredibly talented and knows how to play to his audience. Great fun when he takes requests! Don't miss it!" ~ Nellie L.

"Simply the best all-around piano player in the Upstate." ~ Lee L.

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To Dreamers

Eric Barnhart

A piano jazz collection of soothing melodies from days gone by, featuring duets with tenor sax, violin and female vocalist.

To Dreamers is my fifth release. When performing at local venues, people often ask me if I have any recordings representative of what they're hearing. This is it. To Dreamers is a collection of some of the most personally poignant songs I play. While each release I've done has literally been a dream come true, this one especially memorializes a season in my life when dreams and those who dream them have played a prominent role.

Just a short list of thanks to some of them: To Mom - for planting the seed To DPC - for grace To SFC - for yet more grace To Doug - for fulfilling a secret wish of mine to be able to jam with Lisa Simpson To Scottie - for your friendship To Dreamer - I'll try to float if stones should drag you under / I'll try to pray if cannonballs should thunder ~ ys To Sam - no dream could measure up to the reality of the blessing that you are To the Author, Creator, and Fulfiller of all good dreams - to Him be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.

May all yours come true ~eee

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Songs Of Disaffection / Songs Of Deliverance

Eric Barnhart

Him: a jazz pianist with the heart of a classic rocker. Them: 40 artists playing a myriad of musical styles. Together: a story of the human soul.

Midwesterner: I was born in Wisconsin and lived most of my childhood in a small town in Iowa, the youngest of two sons to a farmer and a social worker. I began formally studying piano when I was five.I believe the teacher thought I had potential but considered my study habits to be below average; I was much more interested in holding the sustain pedal down and playing the theme to Star Wars as loudly as possible.

Life in the Midwest is about as idyllic as it comes, but by the time I was seventeen and knew I wanted to pursue a career in music, I realized it wasn't going to happen in Iowa. So, to borrow a line from the masters of Brit bits: And now for something completely different.

So Flo Connection: I moved to Miami, FL in August of '92 and was promptly welcomed to Dade County by a little gala the locals liked to refer to as Hurricane Andrew. If I was looking for something outside of my previous experience, I certainly found it. I studied at The University of Miami for 2 ½ years, half as an audio engineer, the rest as a composition major with jazz piano as my principal instrument of study. On September 11, 1994, I became a Christian and soon got involved in different campus ministries. I also began to attend a church with some of my friends. The youth director there recruited me to be a volunteer youth worker; eventually he hired me to be a one-year intern.

When the internship was about to end, the youth director put me in touch with another church that was looking for a part-time director. At the time, I had left UM for two years and had just returned to finish my degree at Florida International University, this time as a jazz piano major. I ended up working at the church, first part-time and eventually full-time after I finished school, for the next six years of my life.

Musically, I began to write music for the church and for my own performances in Miami venues. I've always loved the recording process, and in 2003 recorded Perfect, the first EP of material I had been performing. Not long after the EP was recorded, God began to move my heart from South Florida to Atlanta. I accepted a job in the music ministry at another church in Atlanta in March 2004. I had been playing regularly with a band and wanted to record some of the latest songs before moving out of South Florida. In a symbolic gesture, I brought two of my bandmates with me to a studio in Atlanta to record the core tracks for the next album. I then returned to Miami to finish recording the rest of the album, mixing it and mastering it there as well with a good friend. The title, aptly named Liminal State, was finished a week before the move to Atlanta.

ATLanded: After living in Atlanta for a year, I began to feel the stirrings to record another project, this one a full length album comprising some tracks from Liminal State (which, incidentally, was never pressed) along with several newly recorded songs. The album would be based on a concept I've been dwelling on for several years: use a theme in two songs where one song explores the theme through the eyes of a disaffected American without a relationship with God, and the other song examines that same theme from a Christian perspective. The idea is borrowed from William Blake's use of Contraries in his works Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience.

The album, "Songs Of Disaffection/Songs Of Deliverance," is arguably the story of my "musical" life until now. But it is also a tale which, at least in my own eyes, is far grander in scope. And yet it is deeply personal. It is a story of the human soul. The text from the opening song reads: "Do we pierce the illusion and dance with infinity? / Do we spiral into madness on our quest for divinity? / Or does nothing lead to nothing, and chance to happenstance?" These three questions really can be summed up into one: DO WE HAVE REASON FOR HOPE? I echo the response of the readers to the aforementioned questions by saying, "let us see where faith and fortune rests." It is my earnest prayer that this album will help to illumine an adequate answer.

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Liminal State

Eric Barnhart

A modern-day Hornsby/Joel piano warrior with Sting-like lyricism and Mayer-like sensibilities.

Eric Barnhart: piano rock Wunderkind.

Influenced by John Mayer, Sting, and a bevy of blues and classic rockers, this singer/songwriter has attracted numerous industry veterans to his storytelling, including a cadre of professional musicians who have forged their own album and performance histories with artists such as Madonna, Murk, The Commodores, Wynton Marsalis, etc.

The alchemical elements of incredibly catchy tunes and a jamming live show have combined to create a surging fan base both in South Florida and Eric's new home: Atlanta. Eric has recently finished recording Liminal State, his latest project, at the fabled Tree Sound Studios in Atlanta, GA. Acoustic Rock with jazz blues influences comprise this nine-track album along with two cuts of Eric running solo at the keys. Casual listeners - beware!

Press Reviews

Success at Brand Name Venues

"He's good ... really packs the place out!" - Anthony Acevedo, Regional Marketing Director for Borders Books and Music

At the Grass Roots Level

"He's amazing! It's been a long time since I've heard piano rock this good! I hope he makes it!" - Kevin Rusk, Owner of the Famed Titanic Brewery Just Outside University of Miami,... and former owner of Tobacco Road, Oldest Bar and Liquor License No. One in Miami, FL.

Crossing Boundaries

"It was a real joy to produduce his CD; I doubt it will be long before someone picks him up!" -Grammy nominated artist DJ Stryke (a.k.a. Greg Chin)

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Perfect

Eric Barnhart

The cultivated keiongaku piano pop that you wish existed between Vertical Horizon and John Mayer. Keys-driven acoustic rock that gives your feet a mind of their own.

His sound: The cultivated keiongaku piano pop that you wish existed between Vertical Horizon and John Mayer. Keys-driven acoustic rock that gives your feet a mind of their own.

His origins: Hailing originally from the heartland, this University of Miami School of Music alumnus molds his melodies and Byronesque lyricism from the confines of a church basement in South Miami.

His energy: Influenced by John Mayer, Sting, and more classic rock artists than you can shake a stick at, this singer/songwriter has attracted numerous industry veterans to his storytelling, including a cadre of professional musicians who have forged their own album and performance histories with artists such as Madonna, Murk, The Commodores, Wynton Marsalis, Kenny Garrett, etc.

His uprising: The alchemical elements of incredibly catchy tunes and an awe-inspiring live show have combined to create a surging fan base since the six short months that the debut EP, Perfect, has been released. With the first run of 1000 CDs reordered and a mailing list of well over 1000 subscribers, Eric has returned to the studio to sate the hungry appetites of the So Flo scene. The results so far? Needless to say... casual listeners: beware!

Press Reviews

Success at Brand Name Venues

"He's good ... really packs the place out!" - Anthony Acevedo, Regional Marketing Director for Borders Books and Music

At the Grass Roots Level

"He's amazing! It's been a long time since I've heard piano rock this good! I hope he makes it!" - Kevin Rusk, Owner of the Famed Titanic Brewery Just Outside University of Miami,... and former owner of Tobacco Road, Oldest Bar and Liquor License No. One in Miami, FL.

Crossing Boundaries

"It was a real joy to produduce his CD; I doubt it will be long before someone picks him up!" -Grammy nominated artist DJ Stryke (a.k.a. Greg Chin)

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