Want to go?
WHAT: Erin Thomas at The Listening Room
WHEN:6 & 9 p.m. Friday & Saturday, Aug 3 & 4
WHERE:The Listening Room, 220 East Perry Street, Port Clinton (inside the OurGuest Inn & Suites)
COST: $13.50 cover includes two drinks
INFO: 419-734-7050 visitthelisteningroompc.com
Erin Thomas is a fighter. It wasn’t too long ago that fate played a cruel card in the form of a hand injury forcing her to leave behind her career as a French horn player. However, the Nashville session musician, who was a part of the renowned Nashville String Machine, which recorded with such artists as Keith Urban, Garth Brooks, and Carrie Underwood, had a backup plan that is now coming to fruition in a big way.
Less than a year after her injury, Thomas has transitioned from French horn player to full-fledged singer-songwriter in the style of Alison Krauss, Patty Griffin, Eva Cassidy and Norah Jones. Her debut effort, “You Don’t Know Me,” is highlighted with “That Kind of Love,” a duet with Vince Gill.
Now, the South Carolina native is taking to the road in support of her new album. Her travels bring her to the north coast for four intimate shows on Aug. 3 and 4 at The Listening Room in Port Clinton. Funcoast talked to Thomas about her unique story, her country sound and what she hopes audiences take away from her music.
Funcoast: First of all, tell us about your debut album.
Erin Thomas (ET): It came out in late April. I’m really excited about it. I got to work with some of the best musicians in Nashville, and frankly, the whole world. The fiddle players are renowned, and all of the musicians on it were really great. It’s kind of a bluegrass- flavor instrumentation. We have more of a folksy country feel on a lot of the tracks. It’s pretty unique. I’d say it’s definitely a folk album.
Funcoast: How long have you been working as a singer-songwriter?
ET: I’ve been writing since a year ago. This whole thing has kind of lead me to a second career after being a horn player here in Nashville for the last 12 years. When I had a stress injury that caused me to stop playing the horn, that’s when I started doing songwriting. But it’s not totally new to me. I grew up doing it. I sort of put it on the shelf for 20 years while I was really focused on horn playing.
Funcoast: It’s pretty wild that your main career suddenly ended and a year later you’re releasing an album with Vince Gill. That doesn’t happen too often.
ET: Exactly. I worked with Vince Gill in the past. I was in an orchestra that toured with him. So I knew him before. I called him up to let him know what I was doing and to see if he wanted to jump in and be a part of it and he said, “Sure, great. I’d love to.” So in a way, I’ve already worked with many of these guys, and I’m just sort of turning the table a little bit on what I’m doing, but I’m still the same musician and still working with the same people. It’s kind of a neat twist.
Funcoast: It sounds like you’ve come to terms with your injury, which for some folks would have been personally devastating.
ET: Well, it sounds a little bit airy-fairy, and I’m not usually that type of person per se, but I do believe that this is what I’m supposed to be doing for this time, coming out of the devastation of that. Honestly, when I started playing guitar and singing again I was doing it to get my mind off of basically losing my career and the devastation of that was really hard to take. So I thought I would do something else musically that’s just fun. I never planned on doing an album. I never planned on writing a bunch of songs. I wasn’t really doing it for that purpose initially and one thing led to another. When I started to write songs the creativity just began to flow out in a way that has never happened to me before. So I feel like this is what I’m supposed to be doing for now. I feel quite good about it and feel really great creative energy coming out. It’s the first time in my life that anything like that has ever happened.
Funcoast: Regarding your upcoming solo show in Port Clinton, what do you hope music fans take away from your performance?
ET: I hope they feel uplifted, encouraged that anything can happen and anything can be used for good in life. I have a song called “Think About It” and it’s basically about the power of positive thinking. I’m trying to be really positive right now in this time in my life and I hope that rubs off on people after they hear me play.
Erin Thomas is scheduled to play at 6 and 9 p.m. on Aug. 3 and 4 at The Listening Room in Port Clinton. Cover for the event is $13.50 and includes two drinks. For more information, call 419-734-7050 or visit thelisteningroompc.com.