Originally from Richmond Virginia, Ericson Holt lived all around Central Virginia. His mother was a writer. She wrote several songs to protest a prison project in the historical Green Springs area. When his mother bought a piano, Ericson started playing. He began his career as a blues and boogie piano player at East Coast blues bars and Nags Head NC beach bars.
Ericson played in blues bands up and down the East Coast and moved to Nashville in 1994. He learned the country music business and began writing a lot of music. He credits advice from his friend and mentor, guitar great Michael McAdam, and a chance conversation with Bruce Hornsby at a Richmond radio station for the impetus for the move to Music City. Hornsby told him that if he wanted to be his best, he’d have to “leave my home court and go where the big guys play.” Ericson worked on recordings, international tours, and television shows with Grammy winners the Mavericks: Allison Moorer; Rodney Crowell; Jim Lauderdale: and Lee Roy Parnell, to name a few.
Charlie Bauer first brought Ericson to Key West. Bauer was managing the Hog’s Breath Saloon and brought performers down from Nashville regularly. “There is a well worn path between Nashville and Key West.“ The Hog’s Breath was a great gig at the time for a Nashville songwriter. According to Ericson, "Anytime you're going towards the equator it's the right thing.” Ericson spent a good deal of time on that well worn path and finally moved to Key West in 2010.
Ericson met Bill Blue while they were both playing on the same East Coast circuit. They always said hello to one another, but at first Ericson didn't get to know Bill because Bill always looked "angry.” Now he says, "Once I started to talk to Bill I found out he was one of the nicest guys to know and he is one of the funniest persons I know today."
To Ericson , there is a sense of community in Key West. You can learn who people are here. “You can know them in a way that you just can't in a town like Nashville with 1.5 million people.” You combine that with a town with so much history like Key West and it is just magic. "I celebrate people expressing themselves." It’s Key West's strong suit, says Ericson. An amazing variety of people are here and as a musician you hope it influences you. As a writer, he feels creative here with special energy and has made more discoveries in his music and his art and his way of expressing himself.
Check out the Key West music scene and my book "The Soul of Key West" released November 22, 2013. Its the story of our contemporary Key West Music.
THE SOUL OF KEY WEST This is the first book about the Key West Music scene. The story is told by 46 musicians along with over 200 color photographs - available at: