There are some people who make you think you have been wasting your life. Eric Steckel is one of them. He started sitting in on blues sessions when he was 10!
The Eric Steckel Band’s debut CD, A Few Degrees Warmer, was recorded live in April 2002 when Eric was just 11 years old. I mean, really, a first CD at the age of 11! It’s also pretty obvious that this is not flash in the pan, judging by his career since then.
He comes from the Lehigh area in Pennsylvania, but has spent a serious amount of time touring in Europe, and now down here. (I don’t think that Brexit had any influence on this!)
He met John Mayall at the 2003 Sarasota Blues Festival (when he was 12 years old) where he became the youngest guitarist to ever play with the Bluesbreakers.
This was no flash in the pan either and, in 2004 ( at age13), Mayall invited Eric to appear in Sweden, Norway and Denmark during The Bluesbreakers’ Scandinavian Tour. In early 2005, Eric travelled to Los Angeles where he joined Mayall for session work on the Road Dogs record.
Since then, he’s had sold out concert tours in Holland, Germany, Belgium and Italy. He opened for Johnny Winter at The Paradiso in Amsterdam, thrilled audiences at the Tegelen Bluesrock Festival and shared the prime-time bill with Gregg Allman at the legendary Pistoia Blues Festival.
Back in the States, Eric rocked the main stage four years in a row at the Springing the Blues Festival in Jacksonville, Florida and became a yearly fan favourite at Musikfest in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Since his first disc he’s released five CDs beginning with Havana, a live record that recalled the sound of the ’60s and ’70s Bluesrock era and featured a stirring performance of the Hendrix classic “Little Wing”.
Eric followed with the Allman Brothers influenced Feels Like Home, a Bluesey record that featured original songs like ‘Southern Skyline’ and the radio-ready ‘Just Walk Away’.
Later, Eric’s quest to put the feel and soul of the blues into a modern day rock record led him to the Pocono Mountains and the powerful sound of the “Milestone” release. In 2012, he recorded the critically acclaimed Dismantle the Sun album. A “meat and potatoes” blues-rock project, Dismantle combined Eric’s guitar prowess and soulful Hammond B3 and featured a stirring cover of the late Michael Burks’ song, ‘Empty Promises’.
After 17 years on stage and in the studio, yet young enough to deliver the passion and feeling of the blues to a wider audience, Eric is appearing at the Barwon Club on the 30 th of July.
This bloke sounds amazing, and one not to be missed, who knows when he’ll ever grace the stage down here!
I can’t sign off without another push for Blues for Blankets. B4B will be at the Geelong Trades Hall on the 24th – use the front entrance. Doors 1:30pm, bands from 2pm. There’s details in last fortnight’s Forte.
So this fortnight, I’ll see you at Blues for Blankets at the Geelong Trades Hall, and at the Barwon Club for Eric Steckel.
Written by John (Dr John) Lamp
Proudly presented by the Sleepy Hollow Blues Club