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Cliff Eberhardt knew by age seven that he was going to be a singer and songwriter.
Growing up in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, he and his brothers sang together and their parents played instruments. His dad introduced him to the guitar and he quickly taught himself to play. Fortunate enough to live close to the Main Point (one of the best folk clubs on the East Coast), he cut his teeth listening to the likes of James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Bonnie Raitt, and Mississippi John Hurt — receiving an early and impressive tutorial in acoustic music. At the same time, he was also listening to great pop songwriters like Cole Porter, the Gershwins, and Rodgers and Hart, which explain his penchant for great melodies and clever lyrical twists.
At fifteen, Cliff and his brother Geoff began touring as an acoustic duo, playing the Eastern club circuit until Cliff turned twenty-one and moved to Carbondale, Illinois. There he found space to develop his own voice within a vibrant and supportive music scene that included Shawn Colvin. After a couple of years there and a short stay in Colorado, Cliff moved to New York in 1978. Because the clubs were great (the Bitter End, the Speakeasy, Kenny’s Castaway, Folk City) and the company amazing (John Gorka, Suzanne Vega, Lucy Kaplansky, Julie Gold, Steve Forbert, Christine Lavin, and Shawn Colvin), New York was an ideal musician’s boot camp. Though he put in long hours as a taxi driver, Cliff worked steadily on his music throughout the 80’s, doing solo gigs and studio work, and playing guitar on the road with Richie Havens, Melanie and others. Singing advertising jingles for products like Coke, Miller Beer and Chevrolet (“The Heartbeat of America” campaign) allowed him to devote more time to his songwriting.