Dave Eggar embodies the most powerful combination of brilliance and eclecticism that I have ever witnessed in a musician.
Over the last several years, I have seen Eggar perform live many times, from weddings to clubs to festivals, and he is just as comfortable playing Bach on his cello as he is playing Jimi Hendrix, all the while accompanied by tap dancers, Irish dancers, break dancers, opera singers, or even martial artists. Dissonant choices, yes, but Eggar, who debuted on Broadway at the age of seven, Carnegie Hall at fifteen, and has recorded, performed, or composed music with Evanescence, Tony Bennett, Coldplay, and The Who, among a host of others, makes it seem perfectly natural.
Eggar, a resident of New York City, makes a concerted effort to travel through Southwest Virginia whenever he gets the chance. Such a rural, out of the way destination might seem odd, in and of itself, as his touring schedule regularly includes more exotic locales, particularly when he is on the road with American Idol winner Phillip Phillips, but for Eggar, it’s like coming home.
So I consider it a distinct honor, and such a tremendous reflection on the region where I live, that Dave Eggar regularly brings his amazing talents here, and I look forward to his performance this weekend at the annual Gathering In The Gap Music Festival in Big Stone Gap, Virginia.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Dave about the festival this weekend, playing bluegrass on the cello, and where in the world he is going next.
BRO – You have become a regular on the Gathering In The Gap bill. What is it that keeps bringing you back?
DE – I feel like Big Stone Gap is a second home for me. I have so many friends here and a deep love for the community. I look to and love Gathering In The Gap each year, as it brings together history and contemporary artistry in such a powerful way, from the morning competitions to the songwriting competition to the wonderful evening performances.
BRO – One thing you can get in Big Stone Gap that you can’t get in NYC?
DE – A true window into the history of Americana music in its purest and most honest form. Also, Alan Maggard’s studio, which has the real. authentic mountain music sound that I’ve never heard in New York City. And, of course, the mountains themselves!
BRO – How does a classically trained cellist approach Appalachian string music?
DE – The bow techniques were the most complicated for me. There are so many influences in Appalachian music – Irish, Scottish, spirituals, even gypsy music. It requires a very diverse and athletic use of the bow, so I practiced that a lot. Also, just working with so many old time musicians has been so powerful and exciting for me. It is those collaborations that influenced my style.
BRO – Along the same lines, what’s your favorite fiddle tune to tackle on the cello?
DE – I love playing “Jerusalem Ridge,” and most of Clark Kessinger’s repertoire.
BRO – You and your cello don’t stay put for long. What projects are on your horizon after the festival?
DE – Chuck Palmer and I just completed a huge symphonic project with the band Foreigner and the 21st Century Orchestra & Chorus, which we arranged and orchestrated and will be coming out in the next year. In a couple weeks, I’ll be hitting the road with Phillip Phillips. My band also has an exciting new show at the Barter Theatre on July 23rd, a collaboration with tap virtuoso Andrew Nemr called Tappalachia.
As always, it’s a busy time for Dave Eggar. Keeping up with him is like a touring musician’s version of Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego. But I know where he will be this weekend, and Trail Mix wants to offer you and a friend to catch him, along with Grammy winning bluegrassers Steep Canyon Rangers and a score of other regional musicians, this weekend at Gathering In The Gap Music Festival.
All you need to do is take a shot at the trivia question below and send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org. A winner of two passes will be chosen from all of the correct responses received by 5 P.M. tomorrow (Thursday, May 25th).
Question . . . . Dave has recorded with what late, great Southwest Virginia bluegrass icon?
Also, a heartfelt thanks to our friends at Heart Of Appalachia for their support of Trail Mix the last three months. Being a resident of the Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia, it has been a pleasure showcasing many of the musical outlets in the region.
And while you are typing up that email to send in for your shot at those tickets, make sure to take a listen to this month’s Trail Mix, which features new tracks from the likes of Humble Tripe, Joshua James, Head For The Hills, and The Mastersons.