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Shirley Eikhard

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Shirley Eikhard began her multi-faceted musical career at the ripe age of 12 when she was paid 15 dollars to sing "Ode to Billy Joe" and "Early Morning Rain." By the time she was 14, she had nailed a contract as a folk and country singer. In 1972, Eikhard began releasing singles and albums ending in a 1978 Greatest Hits album. After a hiatus of about ten years, she returned as a full-fledged jazz singer with her Going Home for Blue Note, which won the East Coast Music Award. Jazz wasn't new to Eikhard. She had been listening to the likes of Paul Desmond, Chick Corea, Flora Purim, and Cleo Laine, whom she met in 1973 and with whom she continues to correspond. With each ensuing album, Eikhard extended both her performing and composing horizons. This ever-increasing honing of her multifarious talents culminated in End of the Day, released in 2001. There she composed the entire play list, played six instruments, produced, and did the engineering, all at her home studio. Like her performing, her skills as a composer were evident at an early age. At 15, she composed a guitar instrumental for Chet Atkins. Although she has been writing since she was quite young, at the urging of Hal David, half of the successful Hal David/Burt Bacharach team, she went on to refine her composing skill. Her songs have since been recorded by such artists as Bonnie Raitt, Anne Murray, Rita Coolidge, Cher, and others. In addition to her own albums, she has appeared as a backup vocalist on albums by Emmylou Harris, Anne Murray, and more. Eikhard's major interests outside of music are the care and feeding of stray animals. Her musical listening preferences, like her performing, are eclectic and include John Coltrane, Ben Webster, Keith Jarrett, and Jeff Johnston. ~ Dave Nathan

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