Born and raised in Cedar Rapids, Craig Erickson mixes styles and life influences into a stew of Blues, Rock, Funk, Jazz, and Fusion with a distinctive ‘70s influence similar to Cream, Hendrix, ZZ Top, Johnny Winter, and Tommy Bolin.
His earliest musical influences were found growing up in a home with a Jazz guitarist father and piano teacher mother (Craig’s sister is a versatile musician as well).
Craig started cornet at age 8 and switched to guitar at 12, fronting many bands in junior high and high school.
The mid-‘80s found him teaching over 40 students a week. His dedication and determination led him to the discerning ears of Mike Varney, head of Shrapnel Records, home to some of the most talented guitarists on the planet. Varney was starting the Blues International label with classic players such as Rick Derringer, Leslie West, and Pat Travers and he chose Craig as an upcoming Blues rocker.
Their first collaboration, Roadhouse Stomp, came in ’92 and Erickson had barely finished the record when he was flown back to California to co-write and arrange Glenn Hughes first comeback album, Blues. Glenn had recorded and toured with Deep Purple and Trapeze. Craig later joined Glenn for a Trapeze reunion tour in ’94, and a Tommy Bolin tribute tour in ’98.
The ‘90s also found Erickson recording several home CDs for Mike Varney that gained international distribution and European touring opportunities.
In 2001, Erickson released Shine with vocalist, Rob Lamothe. Craig and Rob traveled twice to Europe for Shine tours and followed with another album called Ride.
Craig followed that up with his first ever full-length instrumental fusion CD. On Cosmic Farm, Craig composed all of the CD’s songs and was joined by an all-star cast including Jeff Sipe, Shawn Lane, Susan Tedeschi, Phil Lesh, Trey Anastasio, Rob Wasserman, Rickie Lee Jones, Lou Reed, T. Lavitz and others.
2005 reunited Erickson and Sipe for a tribute to guitar genius Shawn Lane in Memphis. Erickson also had the chance to perform with bassist John Avila (Oingo Boingo/Imperial Crowns) and drummer Tony Austin (Solomon Burke).
Erickson’s latest recording Big Highway goes full circle back to Roadhouse Stomp with Blues/Rock grooves, blistering licks, melodic slow Blues and songs that cover classic Blues themes.
PHOTO © SCOTT ALLEN – VIVIDPIX.COM