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Virus won’t delay Eicher’s ‘Court Street’

Tour may be off, but album is on

JD Eicher had it all planned out.

Two singles already have been released for his next EP, “Court Street,” with a third scheduled for March 26. Tickets were on sale for a hometown release show on April 10 at Ford Family Recital Hall, followed by a two-week European tour to Germany, Denmark and Austria.

The coronavirus had other plans.

The Canfield-based singer-songwriter realized both the local date and the tour would have to be scrapped, even before the president restricted travel to Europe and the governor restricted the size of gatherings in Ohio.

“We’re figuring this out in real time with everyone else,” Eicher said Monday. “It was the right move to err on the side of caution.”

He admitted it was frustrating scrapping a tour that had been in the works since last summer.

“The hardest thing to stomach is the work lost leading up to it,” he said. “A lot of money’s already been spent on PR an a radio campaign over there. My agent put in hours and hours of work booking these shows. For these tours, my name is on them, but a whole network of folks — agents, venues and their staffs — are affected when a tour goes under.”

The plan right now is to ship out CDs ordered on his website (jdeicher.com) in early April, release the music to the streaming sites on April 10 and do a release concert from Eicher’s home or another location that will be streamed live online.

“We’ll make the most of it as we can,” Eicher said. “It’s not the most fortuitous time for a CD release, but what can you do?”

The six-track release was made at Court Street Recording in Canfield and co-produced by studio owner Mike Estok and Ryan Humbert, a singer-songwriter who also fronts the retro country band Shooter Sharp & the Shootouts. Humbert and Emily Bates (also with the Shootouts) appear on the record along with Mark Lee Shannon (a solo artist who also plays with Michael Stanley and the Resonators) and Estok and his wife, Emily.

“It’s something of a return to form and a return to the original sound that got me and the original lineup of the band interested in playing,” Eicher said. “It was tracked entirely live or the majority live with all of the musicians sitting in the room playing together. That­­ might not sound strange, but that’s not the typical way of doing things these days.”

Eicher has his summer outdoor festival, JD’s Summer Songfest, booked for Aug. 29 outside the Soap Gallery in Youngstown with Stephen Kellogg headlining, and he’s looking forward to getting back to playing live as soon as possible.

“I’m full-time at this, and for full-time musicians it’s going to be quite a challenging road,” Eicher said. “I know I’ve got some reserves to hold me through, but you can go from floating to drowning pretty fast. I’m hoping we all keep our heads above water.”

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