California banjo sweetheart ERIN INGLISH is a unique and inspirational female songwriter. Like the late John Hartford, she is a solo act with a voice, a banjo, some body percussion, and poignant songs. This internationally-touring, banjo-wielding woman presents a “raw, sweet and sincere Emmy Lou-ish sound…[and] she makes the banjo sound like a musical instrument” (fan, North Carolina). From the thoughtful and conscientious messages in her songwriting, to her magnetic and entertaining stage-presence, Erin is a consummate performer and humanistic storyteller. She is a “retired” engineer, has lived abroad for four years in five countries, and her songwriting reflects her worldly travels and grounding passion for sustainability and art. In April, 2013, Erin released a solo album titled, “A Melody So Sweet,” and then toured – by bicycle – the entire coast of California to celebrate Earth Month. She is also the organizer of the largest collaborative project in the world amongst female banjo players – the Banjo Babes 2014 Calendar & Showcase Album – pre-ordering now and due out in November, 2013. (www.erininglish.com)
Born and raised on the Central Coast of California, Erin has been surrounded by Americana music all of her life. Having grown up in a household of musicians (her mother played viola, and her father is a professional accordion player with the San Luis Obispo-based quintet phenomena, Cafe Musique), she originally chose to be a student of classical singing. For years, Erin was dedicated to opera and musical theater, but also spent a great deal of time entertaining the left brain as she was on a robotics team in high school and found herself drawn to math and science as well. She picked up the banjo at the age of 17 when she moved to Berkeley to become an engineering student, and subsequently studied folk and bluegrass music with numerous great Bay Area musicians, such as Avram Siegel, Bill Evans, Jody Stecher and Laurie Lewis.
Erin did not take the most direct path to a musical career, and in spite of the nagging desire to bunk classes and play the banjo, in 2007 she earned a degree in mechanical engineering and begun her career as a sustainable and energy efficient design consultant. She worked in the engineering field for five years after college, playing music on the side, but made the decision to “retire” to play music full-time in 2012. Erin Inglish’s songwriter is a product of her life experience, and her informed and articulate songwriting is evidence.
While studying at U.C. Berkeley, Erin was knee-deep in engineering studies and otherwise obsessively dedicated to playing banjo locally in the Bay Area. Her second year there, Erin teamed up with her now former band-mate and ace guitar picker, Joe Ridout. They recorded an album in 2005 titled Hoi Polloi (greek for “The Commonfolk”). They released their CD at their debut show at the world-famous Freight and Salvage Coffee House in Berkeley, California, which was also a fundraiser for the local non-profit chapter of Engineers for a Sustainable World. During college, Erin served on the board of this non-profit, non-government organization, spending over 13 months living in Mumbai, India, doing field research and community training on point-of-use water treatment in slum communities. Wherever Erin’s travels take her, she always has the banjo with her and enjoyed sharing music with musicians along the way!
Erin most recently worked as energy manager and sustainability coordinator for the Lucia Mar Unified School District, and was known for being a local sustainability champion by day and a folk musician by night. Right out of college, she lived for three years in the Balkans and worked as the Regional Sustainability Advisor for Colliers International, Southeast Europe, pioneering energy and environmental consulting services for the company’s real estate consulting service line in 10 countries. Erin was a catalyst for the development of Green Building Councils in Croatia, Albania, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia. She carried out energy efficiency and sustainability research for the World Bank and internally for Colliers, and authored a book titled, “The Potential for Green Building in the Balkans.”
From 2010 to 2012, Erin collaborated with many wonderful San Luis Obispo county artists since returning to live in the USA, including a duet project with crooner Jody Mulgrew as Heartbreak Hill, and an energetic “bluesgrass” band, Chuck Johnson Spur, together with Michael “Mic” Hocking (bass) and three guys from Dan Curcio’s sensational Still Time – Nick Bilich (guitar), John Vucinich (drums), and Chris “Haircut” Arntzen (mandolin) .
In celebration of Earth Month 2013, Erin toured – with her banjo – by bicycle along the coast of California. Erin rode over 1000 miles from Arcata down to San Diego over the entire month of April, playing scheduled gigs in the evenings and visiting schools, local organizations, farms, bike coalitions, etc. during the days to talk about sustainability and share music.
Find out what Erin is up to today, detailed accounts of her Earth * Bike * Banjo – Earth Month Tour 2013 tour, and more on her website, blog (www.erininglish.com/Blog) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/