Eric Brewer has pursued all aspects of his instrument during his career as a guitarist from electrified rock, to jazz, funk, blues, acoustic, country, classical, and all points in between. His band, Eric Brewer and Friends, consists of bassist Ralph Reitinger, drummer Steve Barone, and keyboardist Charlie Meyer. The members have developed a remarkable onstage rapport, propelling the band’s improvisational element to extraordinary heights. The band draws inspiration from a huge list of influences, mixing guitar based rock, jazz, funk and fusion to create a jam band style that is uniquely their own.
Based in Erie PA, the band has performed throughout the region and developed an ever-growing fan base along the way. In keeping with the jam band status quo, the band changes up their set list with each performance, often segueing songs seamlessly to keep the momentum alive and the surprises rolling. The band also displays incredible versatility depending on the venue they’re playing, from a subdued, instrumental-only gig at a small jazz club, to a raucous, rocking set complete with vocals at a large outdoor amphitheater. At an Eric Brewer & Friends show, expect the unexpected.
No member is a stranger to the Erie music scene, and the band’s internal connections should not go unnoticed:
-From 1999-2004, Meyer (with Secret Agent Band), Barone (with Frog Tree Gorge Band) and Reitinger (with The Decibels) all played several shows together.
– Brewer, Reitinger and Barone played together in the funk/progressive rock band Spooner from 2004-2008.
– Meyer and Reitinger performed in the Latin jazz group Mambo.
-Barone and Meyer studied jazz under director John Marszalek at General McLane High School.
-Brewer and Reitinger played with blues band Ron Yarosz and the Vehicle.
In other words, these guys have been “Friends” for years, and it shows!
At each performance, Eric Brewer & Friends draw praise from both audiences and peers. This is evident in the band’s numerous Rock Erie Music Awards: All four members have won REMA’s in their respective instrumental categories, and the band won ‘Erie’s Favorite Jam Band’ for three consecutive years. In addition to headlining their own shows, they have enjoyed opening for internationally known guitarists Neil Zaza and Tim Reynolds, and have shared the stage with bass legend Tony Grey.
In 2012, the band decided to take the next step in their evolution by heading into the studio to record their first full-length album, Seeing Sideways. Spearheaded by producer/engineer Michael Graham and mastered by Grammy winner David Yost, the album is a perfectly honed sonic adventure that runs a bit counter to their typical live experience; Songs are shorter and more concise, while still retaining the instrumental (and vocal!) fireworks the band is known for. Seeing Sideways was released in March 2013 and is available at all the band’s live shows and is downloadable on itunes, CD Baby, and www.ericbrewerandfriends.com.