BY JOHN H. WALKER
Craig Bickhardt, whose songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, BB King, Ray Charles, Tony Rice, Alison Krauss, David Wilcox, Martina McBride, the Judds, Pam Tillis and about 100 others, will appear live at 7 p.m. Friday at St. Anne’s Chapel.
Bickhardt may have written more hits that no one knows are his songs that most songwriters, but he wrote and performed two — Overnight Sensations and You Are What Love Means To Me in Robert Duval’s 1982 Academy Award winning film, Tender Mercies.
In fact, Bickhardt credit’s Tender Mercies, a film about a down-on-his-luck songwriter who lost his wife and band after losing a battle with the bottle.
Bickhardt combine his voice, songwriting skills and musical abilities to bring shows such as Friday’s at St. Anne’s to life.
A native of Philadelphia, Bickhardt has spent time exploring music — from his hometown’s club scene to Los Angeles’ country rock scene to Nashville’s pickin’ parlors. In fact, he recently returned to Philadelphia after spending 24 years in Nashville, which was brought about in part by his Tender Mercies exposure.
Self-taught on an old guitar he found in the attic, Bickhardt says the Philadelphia club scene of the late 60s and early 70s shaped his music.
“I was lucky to grow up in a town that was a melting pot for musicians,” he said. “I got to hear lots of R&B as well as the great folk performers of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. It taught me that nothing moves people like a great song sung with some passion.”
While in Nashville, Bickhardt continued playing his music live at the Bluebird Café and other clubs in the Nashville area, but says the call to the stage grew stronger after he released his first solo album, Easy Fires, in 2001.
Friiday’s performance is Bickhardt’s first since taking a Christmas break. Advance tickets are $12 and $15 at the door. BYOB and cushions for your chair.