best painters never waste a stroke, the best directors never waste a scene,
and Ed Alkalay's way with words places him in the upper echelon of modern bards."
-Justin Kownacki, Splendidezine.com
In 2009, Ed released his 3rd CD, I Hate You, of original roots music. The songs range from rock ("You") to alt-country ("Texas") to blues ("One More Time") to comedy ("That Girl's Gonna Make a Woman Out of Me") to roots rock ("I Hate You"). A few years ago, Ed moved to the White Mountains of northern New Hampshire where he currently lives a quiet life with his family. He continues to write music and record, and he performs live occasionally. A summary of his musical career breaks down as follows:
2005 to present: These days Ed focuses most of his musical hours on songwriting and recording. Ed's 3rd CD, I Hate You, has just been released. He is currently composing songs based on poetry of W.B. Yeats, Edgar Allen Poe, and Dorothy Parker, among others.
1998 to 2004: Ed was very active in the Washington, D.C./Virginia music scene, writing and performing original roots music as a solo artist, with his band, Liquid Poodle, and as a duo with talented singer/guitarist Jack Gregori. Ed released his 2nd CD, Turning Dorian Gray, in 2002. His song "Texas" was featured on the Focus Compilation of songwriters in the DC/Virginia/Maryland area. While living in D.C., Ed also studied composition with Anthony Stark, and has composed several art songs, a fugue for string orchestra, and a piece for string quartet.
1993 to 1998: During these years, Ed lived and performed in New York City as a solo artist and with musical partner Pat Almonrode. He was active in the Fast Folk songwriting group in New York City and his song "I Never Rode a Freight Train" was included on the Fast Folk CD "New Voices in NYC". Ed also released his first CD, Diamond Chain, during this period.
1991-1992: While getting started as a songwriter, Ed performed as a street musician in and around Boston, and performed regularly at the clubs and original music bars and coffee houses in the Boston area.
Ed's music influences range from rock, country-blues, and folk to classical.
Over the past fifteen years, Ed has performed at many venues along the east
coast, and has ventured inland as far as Nashville to perform his original brand
of roots music. His songs have received airplay all over the world and he has
received numerous songwriting awards.
Ed is also an accomplished instrumentalist - garnering praise for his deft instrumental ability on electric and acoustic guitar and banjo. His voice has been described as having a "bottomless range" and has drawn comparisons to John Gorka, Johnny Cash, and Brad Roberts of the Crash Test Dummies.
D.C. PERIOD, 1998-2004 - TURNING DORIAN GRAY
In 1998, Ed re-located to Washington, D.C. Fresh with new songs, and a desire to further expand his musical styles, Ed emerged as one of the most original writers, and eclectic and entertaining performers in the D.C. music scene. Ed was the primary songwriter for the roots rock band "Liquid Poodle" who were described as having "[a]mazingly ... catchy tunes that ... make you want to speed down an empty Kansas highway at 2 a.m. tapping the steering wheel for hours." (www.leftoffthedial.com). Ed also wrote and performed as a solo artist and with guitarist/singer Jack Gregori in clubs and venues all over the greater D.C. area.
In 2002, Ed was selected to perform at the Nashville New Music Conference. He has also received citations from American Songwriter Magazine, which gave his song "A Two Faced Lady and a Two-Timin' Man" honorable mention in its 2001 Lyric Contest (May/June 2001 issue), and considered his song "Texas" noteworthy in its 2002 Lyric Contest (May/June 2002 issue). In addition, he finished in Second Place in the Songwriter's Drive-In Songwriting Contest for "Turning Dorian Gray." (March 2001). Ever seeking to cultivate his skills, Ed began studying composition with Professor of Composition Anthony Stark at the Benjamin T. Rowe School of Music at Catholic University. Since that time, he has composed a song cycle based on Dorothy Parker poems, a Fugue in G minor for String Orchestra, and a Processional for String Quartet. The Fugue for String Orchestra was performed at Catholic University in April 2002, and the Song Cycle was performed at the Benjamin T. Rowe School of Music in April 2003. You can listen to his classical compositions on this site.
In 2002, Ed released his critically acclaimed CD, Turning Dorian Gray, which contains 11 original songs that have gained high praise from publications all over the country.
"Alkalay invests more narrative into each song than I thought possible, forcing me to check the runtime of almost every track, unwilling to believe that the story I just heard could have been told so economically and yet with such detail. The best painters never waste a stroke, the best directors never waste a scene, and Ed Alkalay's way with words places him in the upper echelon of modern bards." --Justin Kownacki, Splendidezine, June, 2002
"From banjo and guitar licks to a bottomless vocal range, Ed Alkalay has [made] a great CD." --RoyalJam.com, March 2002
Ed Alkalay performs in a "singer/songwriter/country style with added depth .... Turning Dorian Gray is a down-home, organic creation that is real and heartfelt.... Simply said, this is great."
--Scott Homewood, Freight Train Boogie, July 2002
"Is it folk? Is it country? Blues, maybe? Or bluegrass? Is it alternative? Your guess is as good as mine. The only thing for sure is that Ed Alkalay is turning ... the D.C. scene red hot with his cool lyrics and powerful voice." --Chaz Topher, Leftoffthedial.com, June 2002
NEW YORK PERIOD, 1993-1998 - DIAMOND CHAIN
In 1993, Ed began gigging around New York City, and in time, he found enthusiastic supporters at the Fast Folk Cafe, a venue operated by the editors of Fast Folk Magazine. (Fast Folk Magazine is an audio-periodical which regularly issues compilations featuring new acoustic artists -- discoveries include Shawn Colvin, John Gorka, and Tracy Chapman.) Ed not only landed regular spots on the Cafe's stage, but in 1995 his song "I Never Rode a Freight Train" was featured on Fast Folk's compilation CD New Faces in NYC. That recording is now maintained in the Folkways division of the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.
In 1996, Ed's first full length CD, Diamond Chain, was released and received substantial radio airplay and critical acclaim.
"[C]atchy musicality ... Authentic and heartfelt ... [songs that are] more than meets the eye ...Diamond Chain is ... filled with toe-tappers that grace the surface of what it is to be human, and modern in a world at odds with itself. And isn't that all we really ask from a folk rock album?" -- Justin Kownacki, Splendidezine, Reviewed in 2002.
Two of the songs from Diamond Chain ("Straight Walkin' Man" and the title track) were also featured on the New York City television program "Poet to Poet."
The EARLY YEARS
Born in Mountainside, New Jersey, Ed grew up in the New York City area. In his mid-teens, he played in bands and as a solo artist at local taverns and clubs outside New York City. While in college, he studied English Literature and Philosophy, and also started writing music in a variety of genres. After college, he played in a variety of cover bands which occasionally performed a couple of his originals.
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