This folk-rock quartet from the Washington, D.C./suburban Virginia area was only formed in 1991, but they've quickly become favorites on the folk festival circuit with their jazzy, rootsy blend of folk-rock. The group's popularity grew with the growth of Triple A (adult album alternative) radio stations in the 1990s, and their crossover appeal prevented them from being labeled purely a folk act.
Composed of Julie Murphy (vocals), Robbie Schaefer (guitar and vocals), Eddie Hartness (percussion and vocals) and Michael Clem (guitar, bass, harp and vocals), the quartet came together in northern Virginia when longtime friends Schaefer and Clem decided to form an acoustic rock trio with Murphy, a mutual friend from high school choir. Hartness was recruited soon after the group's formation to add percussion treatments. A year later, Clem and Murphy were able to leave their day jobs and the band began to attract growing crowds to its residency show on Tuesday nights at Bad Habits Grille in Arlington, VA. They got the name Eddie from Ohio from Hartness, whose girlfriend started calling him "Eddie from Ohio" after eD fROMOHIO, a member of the now-defunct group fIREHOSE.
In their relatively brief existence, the neo-folk/folk-rock band's sound has been compared to 10,000 Maniacs, the Indigo Girls, Crosby, Stills and Nash, and Shawn Colvin, but their eclectic approach has appealed to well-educated music fans: they artfully blend bluegrass, folk, calypso, jazz, acoustic blues and pop and rock melodies. Their eclectic philosophy is a reflection of their influences: Clem and Schaefer cite Bruce Cockburn, Lyle Lovett and Shawn Colvin, while Hartness' tastes run toward alternative rock, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam. Lead vocalist Murphy grew up listening to 1940s jazz, including Billie Holiday and the music of the Gershwins.
In its six years of existence, the group has played to festival crowds from New York to Colorado and produced four albums for their own Virginia Soul Records label. Eddie From Ohio released its fourth album in 1997, Big Noise. Their earlier releases include I Rode Fido Home (1995), Actually Not (1993), and A Juggler On His Blades (1992). ~ Richard Skelly