Red House recording artist Cliff Eberhardt knew by age seven that he was going to be a singer and songwriter. As a child Cliff taught himself to play guitar, piano, bass and drums. In his teens, he was fortunate enough to live close to the Main Point (one of the best folk clubs on the East Coast), He 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.
A driving force of the Greenwich Village New Folk movement and well known among his peers, Cliff’s songs have been covered by the likes of Richie Havens, Buffy St. Marie, Erasure, Lucy Kaplansky and the folk superstar band "Cry, Cry, Cry" (Dar Williams, Richard Shindell, Lucy Kaplansky).
In addition to producing 9 CDs, Cliff has taught hundreds of workshops for which he always receives rave reviews, including the Kerrville Folk Festival. Cliff will open up the Wildflower! Festival with a workshop on writing melodies.
We’ll start with a brief history of melodic writing and then show how to incorporate a melodic vocabulary into your songs, including what to look for to get out of melodic repetition. Bring in songs that are incomplete or songs that you feel need improvement, not songs that you are married to or have already recorded. You’ll be asked to start with just a verse and a chorus to work on, no complete songs until later in the session. We’ll talk about how to insert different chords and use different intervals of your existing songs to improve your melodies; how to make the songs have more memorable melodies; and how to insert intros, bridges and endings. By the end of the session, we will try to reconstruct your work into a complete beautiful song. Usually during the session most students start to get it and add their own suggestions. That’s when I get to take cat naps. The point is, I’ve never taught this class where the students didn’t have a great time.
Check out an interview with Cliff that includes his perspective on music and songwriting.