The 1984 National Fingerpicking Champion, guitarist/songwriter Eric Lugosch, hails from Philadelphia.
He has lived in the midwest for the past seven years, where he is a teacher at the well known Old Town
School of Folk Music in Chicago and also at the fingerstyle guitar program at the Wisconsin Conservatory
of Music in Milwaukee. Eric is currently recording an instrumental CD, entitled Black Key Blues, on which
his tune "Pork Belly Futures" can be heard.|
Reflecting on his musical upbringing, Lugosch recalls,
"My mom spent a good number of years as a singer in nightclubs, and also during the war. I always remember
her being accompanied by a pianist by the name of Bert Barthalameu. She was french and would often sing
French folk songs, and as a joke, burlesque around the house imitating the unique warbling of Edith
Piaf. I was a lot younger than my brothers and sisters, and by virtue of growing up in the musical renaissance
of the sixties, was immersed in a diverse world of music."
Lugosch's earliest musical experience was
singing first and second soprano, and eventually alto with the Philadelphia Boys Choir. "I learned the
disipline of singing in a section," he says, "and started hearing things with an orchestrated ear. Motifs
and lines are still an integral part of my thought process in writing."
Lugosch started playing guitar
when his older brother returned from Vietnam with a little nylon stringed Yamaha. "I was twelve and in
my last year with the choir. The guitar was a natural outlet when the singing ended. I remember my brother
was taking fingerpicking lessons, and I would go up into his room and steal his weird vertical tablature
and learn the songs before he did. At first he didn't like it, but after a while he was, and still is,
very supportive. I did the John Hurt and Rev. Gary Davis thing from the start, so solo guitar was my
format right from the very beginning. I didn't go the traditional rock band route. I
think I was pretty
introverted, and so I spent a lot of time experimenting with the guitar, working out lines, searching
for that choir sound on the instrument. It sounds funny, but I was writing songs and instrumentals right
from the start. I just always had songs in my head and had to work them out."
Lugosch desired to go
to music school, but couldn't gain admittance as a guitarist. "I never studied classical guitar," he
says, "which back then, was the only option for a guitarist in music school....so I decided to audition
as a voice major, and to my surprise, was accepted into Temple University's Music School. It served as
a vocational school of sorts, where I learned how to take dictation, which way the stems should go, and
most importantly, to hear and write music away from an instrument. There are a lot of
have educated my guitar playing. Foremost are Duck Baker and former Winfield champ Rolly Brown. They
were always enthusiastic and supportive of my playing and writing. They gave me a harmonic understanding
of what I had done musically without making me a disipline of their repertoire. I still feel it's paramount
as an advancing guitarist to have a good harmonic understanding and the confidence to be a disiple of
your own imagination, as opposed to someone elses. This is not to say that you can't learn from listening
to others. You should listen a lot. But listen to how they turn their phrases over chord changes. That's
their signature. Start looking for yours."