Sunday, February 04, 2007

Eric Von Schmidt 1931-2007

via AP - Guitarist and painter Eric von Schmidt, a player in the Northeast's blues and folk scene in the 1950s and 1960s who influenced Bob Dylan, has died. He was 75. Guitarist and painter Eric von Schmidt, a player in the Northeast's blues and folk scene in the 1950s and 1960s who influenced Bob Dylan, has died. He was 75.

Von Schmidt began playing guitar when he was 17, and said he was inspired when he heard bluesman Leadbelly on the radio. He said he listened to many folk and blues recordings at the Library of Congress, where his father — Harold von Schmidt, who was noted for his illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post — would drop him off during trips to Washington.

He went to Italy in 1955 to study art on a Fulbright scholarship before landing in Cambridge. His first album, The Folk Blues of Eric von Schmidt, was released in 1963.

One of his better known songs was Joshua Gone Barbados, which has been performed by several other artists. The ASCAP Foundation, which promotes music education, gave him its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. He also painted album covers for Baez and other folk musicians.

You can see some of Von Schmidt's art at his official site.

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