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Eddie From Ohio

February 07, 2001

Eddie From Ohio

By KATE COLEMAN / Staff Writer

Eddie from Ohio is not from Ohio. Nobody in the band is from Ohio.

There is an Eddie, however - percussionist Eddie Hartness - and he is the source of the name.

A former college girlfriend called him Eddie from Ohio, inspired by the guitarist from fIREHOSE - Ed from Ohio. His nickname stuck, and when the band was trying on names - other possibilities included Five foot Seven and The Beaslies - Eddie From Ohio seemed like a good choice, according to the band's Web site at

Saturday, Feb. 10, doors open at 7:30 p.m., concert starts at 8 p.m.

Kepler Theater

Hagerstown Community College


Tickets cost $15 for adults, $5 for those younger than 18; free for HCC students and staff. Tickets can be purchased in advance at Washington County Arts Council Gallery, 41 S. Potomac St. in Hagerstown, or at the door the night of the concert at 7 p.m.


For information, call 301-791-3132.

Eddie From Ohio is celebrating a decade together - 10 years of making a unique form of acoustic folk/rock music that defies categorizing. The group's original songs feature humorous lyrics and tight four-part harmonies in a variety of musical forms and rhythms.


EFO has graduated from the bar scene.

"We enjoy having our music listened to rather than ignored," says band member Michael Clem.

Since the group's 1997 and 1998 Mountain Green concerts in Hagerstown, the band has played at venues flung far from its Northern Virginia home base and former East Coast circuit. They've performed concerts in the Midwest, prestigious festivals in Colorado and California and on the nationally syndicated radio programs "Mountain Stage" and "World Cafe."

You might have trouble getting two seats together for EFO's nearly sold-out March 5, 6, and 7 shows at The Barns of Wolf Trap, but tickets are still available for the Saturday, Feb. 10, performance at Kepler Theater.

EFO members, vocalists all, are Clem on guitar, bass and harmonica; Robbie Schaefer on guitar, percussionist Eddie Hartness and Julie Murphy Wells.

"We've grown and retracted at the same time," says Clem.

The band's mailing list has nearly tripled to 20,000 names. EFO has produced six CDs and sold more than 100,000 of them. The band has done this on its own - "without the intervention of a major record label," according to the Web site at EFO is playing a little bit less for more people, which is by design, Clem says.

Last fall, Eddie From Ohio took a Caribbean cruise - along with 114 "Edheads," fans and friends from all over the country. The second voyage is scheduled for May 2002. The cruise, with an evening and an "unplugged" performance, was a "magnificent experience," Clem says. Even the question-and-answer session - which he thought sounded pretentious - went well.

EFO recently won its second Best Contemporary Folk Group "Wammy," Washington Area Music Association Award. Percussionist Eddie Hartness was nominated for Instrumentalist of the Year in the same category.

The band's 10th anniversary was in doubt after Murphy Wells' son, Liam, was born last February.

"We were all faced with the idea that the band wouldn't continue," says Clem, who's been playing with Schaefer since cafeteria talent show gigs in elementary school. But no one was more excited than Murphy Wells to be performing again when maternity leave was over, Clem says.

EFO "came out swinging," Clem says. Band members have been in the studio recording their seventh CD and are planning its release when they headline at Wolf Trap's Filene Center, Friday, July 27.

Although Clem confesses to a little bit of pre-performance nerves, he says he enjoys the folk music scene and the after-show high of the communal experience.

"We've met some wonderful people," he says. There's a genuine interest in the music - not the image, he says.

Eddie From Ohio's image is nonimage. Check out the Web site. View the "Embarrassing Blackmail Photos from Yesteryear" to see the pure down-to-earthiness of this band. Come to the concert and hear it in the music.

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