Eric, Mary & Howie

Steel Strings

Years ago, at a time in my life when I was living alone (probably good for me but I didn’t think so then), I had a large apartment, a flat, with very little furniture. The good part was that you could hear the stereo everywhere, clearly, and I had a record called “Steel Strings” by guitarist Eric Schoenberg, a beautiful album which flowed through the rooms like a mountain stream, sound that felt waist deep, and filled the empty spaces in my home and in my heart.

Now, given how much the album meant to me, you would think Rounder Records would have eventually reissued it on CD, or made it available on iTunes. But no. I was sharing my disappointment with my friend Mary who was living in Tiburon, California, at the time, working at Sam’s Anchor Café, and she said, “Hey, his guitar shop is right up the street from Sam’s. I’ll ask him about it.” And in response to my wondering why it hadn’t been reissued, Eric Schoenberg said, “I wonder why as well.” But he had another nice CD for sale, and my friend bought it for me and it has tided me over.

Every now and then I go out again in search of “Steel Strings” and last week I found two other albums at Floating Records including one recorded in 1987 at Howard Schwartz Studio in Manhattan. I felt this was some kind of kismet, because Howie was a classmate from Junior High through High School, and there he was, recording Eric Schoenberg.

I really don’t know how to end this, other than to say it’s a small world, made better by music.


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