Yesterday Is Gone
EAGLE HERALD - APRIL 14th, 2004 Faith, hope and love through music Local Christian artist is trying to break into the big time By ERIC LaROSE EagleHerald staff writer email@example.com When a new band hits the airwaves, they seem to always have roots in a major city. They always seem to be from New York, or Los Angeles, or Nashville. There are very few examples of bands emerging from small towns and making it big. Recently one Christian rock band with local roots, Driven to One, has shown that it can be done, playing live shows all over the world and attracting attention for their latest CD in places they've never played. To a certain extent, they have forged the way, and another local Christian musician is hoping to follow in their footsteps. Eddie Bieber, 22, of Marinette is a self-taught folk musician that has begun to make a name for himself in coffee houses in Marinette and Escanaba. He is currently recording music for his first CD at KMG Studios in Menominee and he is getting ready to head off to the Embassy Music Talent Search in Nashville, Tenn. Later this month. For Bieber, music is a way of life, even though he isn't living off of it, yet. In a studio out back Bieber, originally from Lena, lives on a family-owned farm near the town of Porterfield. On this particular Wednesday morning, behind the sheds, horses meander in a fenced in field. Chickens and other fowl can be seen and heard throughout the property and the Menominee River is a stones throw away across the highway. In one of the larger sheds, surrounded by this rural setting, is a home-made studio where Bieber does most of his writing. In it he has a stage set up, with a drum set, and electric guitar and bass, an organ, a suitcase filled with harmonicas and a microphone. There are several couches set in front of an entertainment system, with several televisions and video game systems. It's the perfect little getaway, right in his own backyard. 'Lately I've been hopping on the drums when I come back here,' said Bieber. 'I've been playing more guitar in the house where my wife is.' He and his wife, Michelle, recently had their first child, a 2-month-old boy named Jonathan. Bieber starts playing an early demo of the music he's been recording for his first release, tentatively titled 'Yesterday's Gone.' 'The description of my music that I give everybody is that it's a cup of contemporary Christian music with a pinch of folk,' said Bieber. The first song he played is the title track, 'Yesterday's Gone.' It starts off with a simple riff on an acoustic guitar. As the somber sounding song played in the background, Bieber started talking about his first musical interests. 'I always played music since I was little,' he said. 'My family played music. My dad played harmonica and my mom played guitar and piano. That's her guitar over there. When I was 14 she passed away, and I picked up her 12-string after that and taught myself how to play guitar.' Bieber's voice is quite strong for his age. On 'Yesterday's Gone' he sings with a certain authority yet with a certain vulnerability that helps convey the tone of the story. It's a nice match for his guitar playing, which has some folk and pop elements fused together. By the time 'Yesterday's Gone' is over, you kind of wish it had stayed. Faith, hope and love through music Many Christian acts have been breaking into the mainstream, and they have been doing it by making their Christian messages as subversive as possible. Bieber's message of worship is much clearer. He want's his listeners to know that his songs are about his faith. It's message music without the mask. 'This one is called 'Man of God's Word,' he said talking about another song on his demo-CD. 'All of my songs mention god in them. A lot of them are about family, and struggles you go through with them.' Bieber said that while growing up, he experienced some painful times watching his parents divorce and going through his mother's death. From that pain sprung some on his early music. 'All the pain that I could have had in my heart, I turned to hope,' he said. Bieber's life has continued to be the primary influence of his music. He sings about experiences he has gone through, or has witnessed, the mark of a very philosophical songwriter. Bieber wrote his first song at the age of 16, a musical outlet for a traumatic time. 'I wrote my first song from what I had been through in my life. Everything seemed perfect to me, things were going great and we were happy,' said Bieber. Then everything changed. Putting his thoughts to music seemed to be therapeutic. It made everything seem normal. He started writing more. With every new experience, came a new song. There are songs about the good times, and songs about the bad. But within those experiences expressed in his works, he reflects on his beliefs, and how they guided him through. Telling people about those experiences, and how his faith played a role, is what drives him. That and just sharing the gift of song. 'I'm not doing it for men, I'm doing it for god. Money does help out to go further, but I'm just thankful for the time I have right now,' Bieber said. 'It's a great feeling, it's like a high. I don't drink or smoke or anything, I'm addicted to music.' In only a couple of weeks, he will be testing his skills in Nashville. It something he's really looking forward to, just having the opportunity to play in front of a different audience. 'The audience will be all recording professionals, and they'll be listening and judging,' he said. 'Hopefully I'll get pretty far with that. But we'll see.' Life is short, Pray Hard Bieber played a couple of live songs that morning. For it being so early, shortly after 9 a.m., he sounded awake and alive. He's the first to admit that he is still working on a stage presence, something he knows he has in him. It breaks out slowly and he plays the six-string guitar his wife bought him for Christmas while accompanying himself on harmonica. So far, Bieber's live shows are limited to small intimate venues. He has played at several private functions, for churches and at coffee shops. He isn't making a living off of it, but that really doesn't matter to him. He enjoys the role of the storyteller, the folksinger, the messenger. He likes to share his experiences, his thoughts and his dreams through song. The money would be nice, but that's not the driving force behind him. 'I like it when people are out and they're hearing your music, It doesn't really matter about the money. What I've been learning is the more money you make the more money you spend. The only money I would want is to pay off some bills. To be able to play music is just awesome.' As he puts his guitar away in it's case, he has a sticker proudly displayed on the outside. It says, 'Life is short, Pray Hard.' Eddie Bieber will be playing at the Joyful Noise Coffee House, 2020 Hall Avenue in Marinette, on April 24 and at the 8th Street Coffee House in Escanaba on May 15. There is no release date scheduled for 'Yesterday's Gone,' but Bieber said that he hopes to have it completed and ready for release in late summer. For more information on Bieber, booking information or information on guitar lessons, call Bieber at (715) 735-9698 Who I Am: A servant of Jesus Christ, living every moment of my life to serve Him. I am based out of Marinette, WI, and am married (Michelle) with one child (Jonathon). What I Do: Present the Word of God, through music, to everyone who hears in order to minister grace unto them, giving all the glory and honor to the Him. Colossians 3:16 and 23 says: 16 'Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.' 23 'And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;' Where I Go: Anywhere and Everywhere that God sends me. I have accepted God's calling into full-time music ministry, and I accept every opportunity that I can get to minister to those who need to hear of God's grace- EVERYONE!! From churches big and small, to coffee houses, schools, nursing homes, seminars, summer camps, weddings, and many other places. When I Began: I began to play guitar at age 14 (after my mother's death), harmonica at age 18 (Thanks Dad!), and penny whistle at age 20. Since age 17, I've played for many youth group worship teams and college student gatherings throughout Wisconsin. I began full-time music ministry on April 23rd, 2004, trusting the Lord to provide for all my families' needs, and He has!