There are very few artists in the same league as Eriksen and fewer who possess the credentials and praise. Known for his interpretations of American traditional music from New England to Southern Appalachia, Eriksen embodies the music he studies. An ethnomusicologist and teacher, he has done research on music in New England and the Sacred Harp tradition. He has also taught courses ranging from American Balladry to Bollywood at prestigious institutions like Dartmouth College, Amherst College, and Smith College just to name a few; however, Eriksen is better known for his work in films like Billy Bob Thornton’s Chrystal and his contributions to the 2004’s Cold Mountain.
Combining his haunting vocals with instruments like the banjo, fiddle, guitar, and bajo sexto (a twelve string Mexican acoustic bass), Eriksen creates music that is distinct and inspired while remaining familiar yet foreign. His ability to play and utilize these instruments and his incredible knowledge of world music produces the essence that is the melting pot of American music.
In his chilling Shaker Steps video, Tim Eriksen and the Trio de Pumpkintown open up with the intro “Brethren Sing” in the Sacred Harp tradition, then move into the hair-raising and mystic “Follow The Birds.” Filmed in a courtyard of a church in downtown Lexington, Kentucky, which also runs God’s Pantry food bank, I couldn’t imagine a place more fitting for this ethereal performance.