Eddie Heinzelman is an in-demand session musician/sideman who currently plays guitar, mandolin, and sings background vocals with hit songwriter and Country/Americana artist, Radney Foster.
A native of Brookville, IN, Eddie got his first guitar at age 8 and began formal Classical guitar lessons.
- "My grandma bought me my first guitar, a Harmony from Sears, for Christmas when I was 8. I wanted to be a singing cowboy like Gene Autry, but I also wanted to really learn how to play guitar "right". There was a music store next to where my mom worked so she signed me up for lessons. She would come home from work, then drive me back the 45 minutes each way, every week. She did that for 8 years until I could drive myself."
Within just a couple years, his teacher, David Dolata, a Master's student at the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, recognized Eddie's talent and began grooming him for the college audition process. Until one day, Eddie's brother brought home the album that would change his entire direction.
- "When I was 12, my brother came home from school with the album, Led Zeppelin IV, and I was mesmerized from the first note to the last. It spun my head around on my shoulders, I had never heard guitar playing or songs that sounded like that before. I sat in front of the stereo and listened to the entire album 5 times in a row, absorbing every nuance of every note Jimmy Page played. I knew at that very moment that was what I wanted to do - write my own songs, learn improvisation, and play electric guitar".
Eddie continued Classical lessons until he was 14, while also studying electric guitar Blues and Rock with other teachers. However, most of those lessons only lasted a few months. Eddie was learning faster than they taught.
- "I devoured music at the time, eager to learn everything I could. I'd read about a guitar player then go buy his albums. Then I'd research who his influences were and go buy those albums. I did this with every guitarist I could find. I wanted to learn their styles and then what influenced each of them so I worked backwards, and the depth of musicians and styles I covered that way was really broad. When I was 15, one teacher in particular taught me how to visualize and listen to music in order to separate the parts and instruments. I'd take a song to him each week; he'd transcribe it for me to learn. I'd learn it and take in another song the next week. But after just a couple months, I was able to transcribe on my own so I looked for the next challenge...and the next teacher."
At this same time, Eddie had been performing professionally since the age of 13, quickly establishing a reputation as a premier and versatile guitarist around the Cincinnati, OH area, working with regional and national acts in various genres from Country to Rock to Jazz to Classical music.
- "I was playing in multiple bands at gigs like weddings,dances,VFW halls, and bars, and I would get calls to fill in because I could learn songs fast. Then when I was 16, wanting to be the best musician I could be, I set my sights on finding a Jazz teacher. I was also teaching lessons by this time at a local music store, and that's where I found Scott Elliott who was a graduate of the Berklee School of Music and was a Grad Student at the College Conservatory of Music at the time. Scott really helped me take my playing to the next level, combining my technique with advanced Music Theory. My practice time went from an hour a day to 5 hours a day in preparation for my audition. I made it into CCM, but instead of a Classical student, I went as a Jazz major."
After graduating from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music's Jazz and Studio Music program, Eddie formed the country band, Durango, with his brother and released an EP, 'Closer To Home' that was featured in the CMT Dance Link video series. Soon thereafter, he moved to Nashville, TN to focus on writing songs and began playing guitar live and on sessions for other singers and songwriters.
- "After graduation, I wanted to focus again on writing my own music, and I began developing my own approach and really wanted to get back to Country music where I could blend all of my experience and versatility. My versatility is my calling card and what I draw on for recording sessions, writing songs, and the frequent calls I would get to sub and fill in. I've gotten most of my artist gigs through initial sub work, and I've been very fortunate to have performed with some of the biggest names in the business and tour throughout the US as well as in Norway, England, China and Japan."
Eddie's extensive resume includes performances with a variety of artists, including Jazz legends, Joe Henderson and Norris Turney, Opera star Barbara Daniels, Pop star Tiffany, Broadway star Michelle Pawk, and Contemporary Christian artist, Jason Crabb, as well as a literal "Who's Who" of Country, Bluegrass, and Americana artists:
Radney Foster, Darius Rucker, Kelly Willis, Ricky Skaggs, Jack Ingram, Chase Bryant, Larry Gatlin, Billy Yates, Mary Gauthier, Darden Smith, Michael Peterson, Bill Lloyd, Julie Roberts, Vince Gill, Deana Carter, Darryl Worley, Gene Watson, Jeannie Seely, Collin Raye, T. Graham Brown, Jimmy Fortune, Moe Pitney, John Berry, Ty Herndon, Bill Anderson, Jim Ed Brown, Buddy Jewell, Marty Raybon, Mandy Barnett, Rhonda Vincent, Dailey & Vincent, George Ducas, Danielle Peck, Sunny Sweeney, Trent Tomlinson, Teea Goans, Adam Gregory, Leona Williams, Jimmy Payne, LuLu Roman, Andy Griggs, Trailer Choir, Tammy Cochran, George Hamilton IV, Jeff Bates, Sherrie Austin, Ray Scott, John Rich, Jeffrey Steele, and Noel Haggard to name only a few!!
What do his peers say?
Johnny Hiland - "Eddie has become one of my dearest friends and is a great, great guitar player"
Radney Foster - "Eddie is an amazing guitar player, a dang fine singer songwriter, and a prince of a man. He is a great harmony singer and makes me better on stage"
A dynamic and charismatic performer whose versatility and experience as a musician enhance his songwriting talent, his debut album, "Hey, Songwriter" was released in February 2017 and not only showcases Eddie's guitar proficiency but his artistry as a songwriter. The twelve songs on the album were written or co-written by Eddie, who also co-produced the project with one of Nashville's most talented engineers and producers, Casey Wood. "Hey, Songwriter" is an Americana collection of heartfelt songs that touch on love, loss, adversity and triumph, blending influences from Country, Bluegrass, and Roots Rock. Every song stands on it's own, and is beautifully delivered with Eddie's vocals and guitar work, from the first track "I Don't Mind the Rain", "She's Water", "Ole Guy Clark", "Picture of the Man", "Moving On", "Off the Hooke", to the last, "Hey, Songwriter". Eddie's talent for weaving together story and melody results in engaging tapestries in lyric and music.
- "This album is two years in the making. I had been pitching songs in Nashville for several years pursuing a writing deal. I came close several times, but one day, about 4 years ago, a publisher asked me "Do you even want a publishing deal?" No one had ever stopped to ask me that. I always thought I did, but I think my answer surprised us both. Since then, I've been wandering the desert, so to speak, with my writing, moving beyond all of the things I was told I was supposed to do and how I was supposed to write as a songwriter into a realm of writing and performing what I want to write. And I've never been happier with my songs. Plus, songs never have a chance to do their jobs of touching and communicating with people if they're sitting in a catalog somewhere or you leave it up to someone else to tell you which one is worthy of listening to or pitching. So I went back to the examples of my heroes like Ray Wylie Hubbard, Radney Foster, Steve Earle and Guy Clark and other writers and artists I respect so much like Mary Gauthier, Darden Smith, and Jack Ingram, and I refocused on my original Zen-like philosophy that success is in the work itself. I think Darden Smith says it best: "Write songs. Tell stories. Move people". That's all I ever wanted, and all I plan to do from here out."
As a songwriter, Eddie's cuts include:
"Crawl" - co-written with David Norris and The Voice winner, Craig Wayne Boyd, is featured in the soundtrack and movie, "Dead In 5 Heartbeats", and available on Nick Nicholson's "Stronger Than Whiskey" album
"Best Part Of My Day" - available on Karen E. Reynold's "Paper Castles" album
"Before We Fly" - available on Shane Michael Taylor's "I Will Stand" album
"Friendship On Fire" - available on Brian Martin's "Famous For Something" and Chuck Allen Floyd's "Good On The Inside" albums
"She's Water" - available on James Lann's "Honky Tonk Kung Fu" album
Drop by the Tour page to see where you can catch Eddie performing around Nashville or on the road with his own band as well as with some of Nashville's finest artists!
For Song Licensing or Booking Information, Contact Eddie here: Contact Eddie