January’s mercurial weather has been interesting. The Old Farmer’s Almanac may yield some historical data about the frequency of 70 degree days in January in central North Carolina. We can never know what to expect here in the Sandhills weather-wise. However, the weather inside at the Poplar Knight Spot is always cozy, the perfect temperature for listening. The friendly conversation subsides when the music takes over, this week, Sunday, Jan. 26, from a pair of accomplished songwriters, Cliff Eberhardt and Louise Mosrie. Doors open at 6 for the 6:45 general admission show.
Cliff Eberhardt knew by age seven that he was going to be a singer and songwriter. Growing up in Berwyn, Pa., he and his brothers sang together and their parents played instruments. His dad introduced him to the guitar, and he quickly taught himself to play. Fortunate enough to live close to the Main Point, one of the best folk clubs on the East Coast, Eberhardt cut his teeth listening to the likes of James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Bonnie Raitt, and Mississippi John Hurt, receiving an early and impressive tutorial in acoustic music. At the same time, he was also listening to great pop songwriters like Cole Porter, the Gershwins, and Rodgers and Hart, which explain his penchant for great melodies and clever lyrical twists.
That listening paid off. Eberhardt is a superb singer, with a vast credible range of emotions, and a soulfulness that draws from rock and pop, but also from the best folk ballad styles.
At 15, Eberhardt and his brother Geoff began touring as an acoustic duo, playing the Eastern club circuit until Cliff turned 21
and moved to Carbondale, Ill. There he found space to develop his
own voice within a vibrant and supportive music scene that included Shawn Colvin. After a couple of years there and a short stay in Colorado, Eberhardt moved to New York in 1978. Because the clubs were great — the Bitter End, the Speakeasy, Kenny’s Castaway, Folk City — and the company amazing — John Gorka, Suzanne Vega, Lucy Kaplansky, Julie Gold, Steve Forbert, Christine Lavin, and Shawn Colvin, New York was an ideal musician’s boot camp. Though he put in long hours as a taxi
driver, Eberhardt worked steadily on his music throughout the 1980s, doing solo gigs and studio work, and playing guitar on the road with Richie Havens, Melanie and others. Singing advertising jingles for products like Coke, Miller Beer and Chevrolet, including the Heartbeat of America, allowed him to devote more time to his songwriting. And fill it he has, with an enormous catalog covered by artists ranging from Richie Havens, Shawn Colvin, Russ Taff, David Broza/Maura O’Connell and Buffy Sainte Marie.
Special guest Lousie Mosrie will open the show. Mosrie got her start by taking top honors at the Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk
Songwriting contest and then went on to win or place at several other festival competitions including Telluride Bluegrass, Rocky Mtn. Folks Fest and Falcon Ridge Folk Fest.
The Rooster’s Wife is a community arts organization dedicated to bringing the best in live music to the Sandhills. Home base is the listening room of Poplar Knight Spot, 114 Knight St. Children are welcome, with admission waived for the under 12 set. No BYOB, please; a full bar is available featuring Reverie Cocktails, and Southern Pines Brewing products. Supper will be available for purchase. Check social media for menu.
Tickets to this general admission show are $20 for members. Annual membership of $5 to this private club may be purchased online or at the door.
For more information, the complete schedule, or to purchase tickets online, visit www.ticketmesandhills.com or call (910) 944-7502.