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Your weekend: Alameda’s top troubadour holds CD release party

Submitted by on 1, June 3, 2010 – 4:00 pmNo Comment

It’s troubadour time this coming Friday, June 4 at Rhythmix Cultural Works, where local acoustic phenom Earl J. Rivard III is holding a release party for his sophomore release, “Underground Railroad.”

Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door, and they’re available online. Rhythmix, of course, is at 2513 Blanding Avenue. Doors open at 7 and the show begins at 8 p.m.

If you’re looking for a description of Rivard’s sound, think Tracy Chapman with a slightly South American bent (or Jack Johnson with a soul). It’s a sound forged from an early love of music and some serious time logged in his mother’s native Argentina, where at 14 Rivard discovered the guitarreadas, or guitar circles, in which he honed his craft. He also performed in a series of vocal groups from childhood through college at the University at California, Berkeley.

Rivard was blinded and partially paralyzed as an infant after a car crash caused by a drunk driver. But music motivated him to reclaim his injured limb, building strength as he learned how to play guitar.

Rivard has performed around the Bay Area and in Argentina, including gigs at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall, Yoshi’s in Oakland, and before a crowd of 10,000 in Argentina’s “Coke and Rock” festival.

His new album features original songs in English and Spanish written by Rivard III and his father, Earl Rivard Jr. Early reviews, which are available on Rivard’s website, have been favorable. You can check out some of his earlier stuff on MySpace or buy his music on CD Baby.

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