tim under a tree

"stark songs and breakneck picking" - New York Times
"among the world's finest folk practitioners" - Toronto Star
"one of the best voices in music" - T Bone Burnett

Tim Eriksen is acclaimed for transforming American tradition with his startling interpretations of old ballads, love songs, shape-note gospel and dance tunes from New England and Southern Appalachia. He combines hair-raising vocals with inventive accompaniment on banjo, fiddle, guitar and bajo sexto - a twelve string Mexican acoustic bass - creating a distinctive hardcore Americana sound that ranges from the bare bones of solo unaccompanied singing on his album Soul of the January Hills (Appleseed 2010) through the stripped-down voice and bajo sexto Christmas album Star in the East (timeriksenmusic 2012) to the lush, multi-layered arrangements on Josh Billings Voyage, the new album of northern roots American music from the imaginary village of Pumpkintown (timeriksenmusic 2012).

Eriksen's own compositions, which NetRhythms UK described as "strange and original works," have been featured in films like the Billy Bob Thornton vehicle Chrystal and the upcoming documentary Behold the Earth. Eriksen's other notable work has included extensive contributions to Anthony Minghella's 2004 Oscar-winning film Cold Mountain as well as collaborations ranging from hardcore punk and Bosnian pop to symphony orchestra and the 2010 Grammy-nominated album Across the Divide with Afro-Cuban world-jazz pianist Omar Sosa.

The former frontman of the prophetic groups Cordelia's Dad (folk-noise), Northampton Harmony (shape-note quartet) and Zabe i Babe (Bosnian folk and pop), Tim Eriksen is the only musician to have shared the stage with both Kurt Cobain and Doc Watson, and his media appearances have ranged from Prairie Home Companion to the Academy Awards. Having graduated from early shows at punk mecca CBGB, Tim's more recent performances have included his Carnegie Hall debut as a soloist in Even Chambers' symphonic work "The Old Burying Ground" and two week-long stints at the Blue Note Jazz Club with Omar Sosa. In the studio, he has worked with producers including Joe Boyd, T-Bone Burnett and Steve Albini.

While Eriksen's curiosity and passion have led him on many musical journeys besides American roots - from punk rock and shape-note gospel through South Indian classical music and Bosnian pop to world jazz and contemporary symphonic music - all his explorations are linked by the qualities of intensity, directness, and authority which combine in a music that captures a truth about human experience and expresses it without apology.


Tim Eriksen's work as an ethnomusicologist and teacher has included extensive research on shape-note music in New England and the venerable Sacred Harp four-part harmony tradition. He is a founder of what is currently the world's largest Sacred Harp singing convention, in Northampton, MA. In the words of Paste Magazine editor Josh Jackson, "no one has done more to help revive Sacred Harp singing among a younger generation."

Eriksen has taught college courses including American Balladry, Global Sounds, Film Music from Hollywood to Bollywood, American Music, and Songwriting at Dartmouth College, Amherst College, Smith College, The University of Minnesota, Hampshire College and Wesleyan University. In addition, he has taught hundreds of hour- to week-long workshops and seminars in shape-note harmony singing, American music history, ballad singing and instrumental accompaniment at festivals, universities, museums and arts centers, including the Smithsonian Institution, Harvard University, the Society for Ethnomusicology Convention, Colours of Ostrava Festival (Czech Republic), Camp Fasola (Anniston, AL) and the Early Music Festival in Jaroslaw, Poland. His students have ranged from a group of kindergarteners at an inner city school in Portland, Oregon to Nicole Kidman, Elvis Costello, Sting and a group of fifty Romanian extras in the film Cold Mountain and the senior citizen members of the now legendary Young at Heart Chorus.


Solo Albums:


  • The Old Burying Ground (Dorian/Sono Luminus 2010). Tim Eriksen appears as a soloist in the new symphonic work by composer Evan Chambers.
  • Omar Sosa w/Tim Eriksen Across the Divide: A Tale of Rhythm and Ancestry (Half Note 2009). 2010 Grammy Nominee - Best Contemporary World Music Album.

Selected Compilations:

  • Oak Ash & Thorn (Folk Police 2011)
  • Awake My Soul / Help Me To Sing (Awake Productions 2008)
  • Sowing the Seeds - The 10th Anniversary (Appleseed 2007)
  • Song Links II (Fellside 2005)
  • Alt-Traditional: A Tribute to Traditional Music and the Public Domain (Dren 2002)

Selected Movies/Soundtracks:

  • Behold the Earth ( Compass Light, forthcoming). Feature documentary about America's divorce from nature.
  • Chrystal (First Look 2005)
  • Cold Mountain (Miramax 2004)
  • Cold Mountain Soundtrack (Sony 2003). Produced by T-Bone Burnett.

Production/Liner Note Credits:

  • Help Me To Sing (Awake Productions 2008)
  • Sacred Harp Singing in Western Massachusetts, 2000-2001 (WMSHC 2002)
  • Elsa Namaaraa, Hundinu Harka Kee Keesa Jira (World in Two Cities 2001)
  • Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still (Appleseed 2000). Field recordings by Anne and Frank Warner.
  • Western Massachusetts Sacred Harp Convention (Hazmat 1999)


Cordelia's Dad

  • Double Live(Cordelia’s Dad 2011)
  • What It Is (Kimchee 2002). Recorded by Steve Albini.
  • Spine (Appleseed 1998). Recorded by Steve Albini.
  • Where Have All the Flowers Gone (Appleseed 1998). One track on CD tribute to Pete Seeger.
  • Road Kill (Scenescof 1996)
  • Comet (Omnium/NORMAL 1995)
  • Joy Fun Garden (NORMAL 1993)
  • How Can I Sleep? (OKra/Omnium/NORMAL 1992)
  • Cordelia's Dad (OKra/Omnium/NORMAL 1990)

Northampton Harmony

  • Hope (forthcoming)
  • The Hookes' Regular Sing (Hazmat 1996)
  • Glory Shone Around: A Christmas Collection. With Tony Trischka (Rounder 1995)

Zabe i Babe

  • Balkans Without Borders (Zoetek 1999). One track on compilation.
  • Drumovi (Bison Publishing 1997)


Arts Centers, Concert Halls and Clubs

Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC)
Carnegie Hall (NYC)
Red Rocks Amphitheater (Boulder, CO)
Barbican Center (London, England)
Grand Opera House (Belfast, Northern Ireland)
Blue Note Jazz Club (NYC)
Kennedy Center Millenium Stage (Washington, DC)
Lincoln Center Rose Hall (NYC)
Lincoln Center Out of Doors (NYC)
Sanders Theater (Harvard University)
Somerville Theater (Somerville, MA)
Fox Theater (Atlanta, GA)
Royce Theater (Los Angeles, CA)
Kodak Theater (Los Angeles, CA)
Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN)
New Museum of Contemporary Art (NYC)
Cedar Cultural Center (Minneapolis, MN)
Beacon Theater (NYC)
Old Town School of Music (Chicago, IL)
Civic Opera House (Chicago, IL)



Newport Folk Festival
Savannah Music Festival
San Francisco Jazz Festival
Celtic Connections (Scotland)
Rocky Mountain Folks Festival (CO)
Stimmen Festival (Germany/Switzerland)
Lowlands Rock Festival (Holland)
Spark! Festival of Electronic Music and Arts (Minneapolis, MN)
Colours of Ostrava (Czech Republic)
Folkove Prazdniny (Czech Republic)
Dranouter Festival (Belgium)
Rudolstadt Festival (Germany)
Open House Festival (Northern Ireland)
Sidmouth Festival (England)
Winnipeg Folk Festival
Vancouver Folk Festival
Rozstaje World Music Festival (Poland)
Jaroslaw Early Music Festival (Poland)
International Festival of Arts and Ideas (New Haven, CT)
Philadelphia Folk Festival
Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (New York)
Champlain Valley Folk Festival (VT)


Live Television and Radio:

Prairie Home Companion (NPR)
Academy Awards
Words and Music of Cold Mountain (A&E)
MTV Music News
Mountain Stage (NPR)
Polish National Television (news)
Belgian National Television (news)
Poland Radio 2
Danish National Radio (live broadcast and "album of the month")
BBC Scotland
BBC Northern Ireland
All India Radio

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Tim Eriksen Music- All Rights Reserved.


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