Let’s talk about the number 3. World renowned Hee Haw and Roy Clark Band fiddle sensation, Shelby Eicher, and his wife, Janet Rutland, have 3 sons.
The first, Nathan Eicher, director of bands at Central High School in Tulsa, OK, and bassist for The Cherokee Maidens, actively plays and is very involved in music.
Paul Eicher is a guitarist and frequently shares the stage with the Eicher Family.
Isaac Eicher… well, just read on.
One could write an entire book on the Eicher family, but today let’s highlight Isaac. He was born in the middle of Shelby’s career with Roy Clark (1990).
Isaac remembers …
“When I was 6 or 7, Dad, after 15 years, came off the road and had feeder shows in Branson. Dad was playing a lot in Branson, and we would go up to Branson and spend time. I always grew up in the music business, and it was always obvious how much Dad was respected, and that his playing with Roy Clark was a big deal.
Mom is also well versed in several different genres of music. She grew up in the era of Elvis, and at a certain point, she had became an established jazz vocalist in Tulsa.”
Isaac began piano at 6 years of age as Nathan was taking lessons, but it wasn’t long until Nathan started his interest in the bass. So, as little brothers do, Isaac chose to be just like Nathan, and he started playing the bass too. Some of his fondest memories were listening to Shelby play the mandolin, and listening to music around the house. He fell in love with music, without being spoon fed or forced; it was his choice.
Shelby did play a huge part in the selection of the mandolin for his youngest son. Isaac, at 9 years of age, wanted to play the guitar. While not wanting to discourage him, Shelby led him in the direction of the mandolin instead due to its smaller size. That stringed instrument which was placed in his small hands back then has led him to a career in the business.
While in high school, Eicher had no idea what his future might hold in the music industry. With an audition for the Berkeley School of Music, Isaac knew even with a scholarship, the money might be hard to attain year after year. He came to the conclusion that he did not need a degree in music, to DO music. But he was hungry for the degree, and headed to Norman, OK to attend Oklahoma University. His primary focus, at that time, was Mechanical Engineering, but Isaac developed an interest in the Spanish language as well.
He went on a 5 week program to Mexico, and soon changed his major to Spanish. During his Junior year in college, he took a trip to Spain. Eicher says that he found studying a foreign language related very closely to his study of music. And discovering his love for Spanish reshaped Isaac’s musicianship and the music he loved to play. His first release, Native Language, was formed by his study of Spanish, and the way he plays his mandolin “is my native language as it pertains to music, my style, my vocabulary, my accent, my dialect – it’s what I try to get across with my album.”
Isaac has recently been nominated in 3 (there’s that number again) categories for the Nashville Industry Music Awards (NIMA).
- Best Jazz Instrumentalist
- Best Jazz Album Native Language
- Album of The Year Native Language
For those of you unfamiliar with NIMA, it is a group of Middle Tennessee entertainment business professionals who care about the music culture in their region. The members are an entrepreneurial and diverse group who care about the music first. This Association is responsible for the NIMA nomination process, and is divided into different Music Councils by genre (ex…Rock Music Council, Urban Music Council, Country Music Council, Blues Music Council, etc…). Each council within NIMA is responsible for nominating artist for their genre only. Each council is also responsible for submitting nominees in the general categories (ex…Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, Best Video, etc…). Once the NIMA Association nominations are complete, fans vote online to determine the winners.
Corey Matthews, Chairman, Founder, and CEO of NIMA, shared a few words about their awards.
“NIMA does not nominate people that we don’t think should win. Here at the NIMAs we understand the impact, and responsibility of saying someone is the best that Middle Tennessee has to offer. Our organization is run by high character individuals who care about the music culture of Nashville. We don’t nominate/award our sponsors just because they support our show. If you get nominated for a NIMA, you earned the right to represent Middle Tennessee as one of the best. Our awards are given based on how good your music is, and how much talent and hustle you have.”
Anyone with internet access can cast a vote in this year’s awards.
But this is just the icing on the cake for Isaac Eicher. Currently residing in Nashville, Isaac and his mandolin have been on tour with Kate Lee & Forrest O’Connor, who are familiar to the bluegrass world for their work with Forrest’s dad, Mark O’Connor, and The O’Connor Family Band.
Here is another video of him with his jazz quartet.
Isaac is engaged to be married, and soon after their vows, the pair will add a little tiny newborn girl. Yes GOOD things do come in threes, at least for the Eichers.