Linda Eder performs in Beaver Creek Sunday
Genuine. Unpretentious. Authentic. These are just some of the words that bring to mind singer Linda Eder, who Stephen Holden, of the New York Times, once described as “the musical virtuoso next door – a ‘just folks’ type who happens to have a voice like no one else in her generation.” What’s more, Eder has never had a singing lesson.”I’m self taught,” she said. “I’ve never worked with anyone on my voice. It’s always been on my own.”This Brainerd, Minn. girl was in a “special choir within a choir” (her words) in high school; her first role was Mother Abbess in “The Sound of Music.” Since her professional debut at a tiny cabaret club called Lord Fletcher’s, Eder has evolved to become a “singer’s singer.” Her diverse repertoire spans Broadway, standards, country and jazz. And as “Lucy” in the Broadway musical “Jekyll & Hyde,” from composer Frank Wildhorn, Eder received the Theatre World Award for Best Actress in a Musical, and the 1997 Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations.”I’m thought of as a Broadway person,” Eder said. “But I’m really not. I am a concert singer that happened to get into theater. I’ve worked on several original shows outside of Broadway, but I really only did one Broadway show – ‘Jekyll & Hyde.'”Vocal dexterityThe woman is a singer who blows her audience away with her vocal dexterity and delicacy of her voice. In fact, the Vilar Performing Arts Center, where Eder will appear on Sunday night is, acoustically, the perfect venue for her voice. Unlike a huge hall, where you have to have binoculars to see a performer, the Vilar will capture the richness and intimacy of Eder’s performance – as if wrapping the audience in exacting sound.Eder has performed at many prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center and Radio City Music Hall. Her noteworthy collaborations include the late Oscar-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch, Tony-winner Michael Feinstein and Keith Lockhart, conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra. With 14 solo albums and 12 musical recordings, Eder has a knack for interpreting familiar songs, making them her own. “What do we mean when we use the word perfection,” New York Times writer, Holden, continued. “The question arises every time I watch Eder. It is her voice – a rangy, flexible throb driven by a seemingly inexhaustible stamina and topped with high notes that grow larger and fuller as she moves up the scale – that leaves you open-mouthed.”And yet, according to Eder, looking at ease has never been easy an easy task. “I’ve always been a nervous performer,” she said. “I’m not one that walks out on the stage full of confidence and doesn’t worry about anything else.”Farm girlIt’s different, however, when Eder is at home on her farm. “I’m at down-to-earth girl, a farm girl at heart,” Eder said. “I don’t live the lifestyle of an entertainer.”In fact, Eder lives on six acres with her son, dogs, horses and tractors where she plants vegetables in her garden. But, right now, her title is “builder.” “My bother and I gutted the house and have been working on it for the last three years,” she said. “It’s very much a place that would fit in Vail and Beaver Creek. It’s all beams and wood and I love working on it.”Eder’s son won’t be joining her when she appears in Beaver Creek. “He just made the basketball team,” she said, clearly proud of him. “And he has to practice. I’ve always really wanted to be a mom – it goes so fast. I’m 5-foot-10 (inches) and my son is taller than I.”Eder’s homebody personality trait is well aligned with her current schedule.”I love theater,” she said, “but I like the lifestyle of concerts. Doing eight theater shows a week is just brutal. I really like being home. I like having a life.”
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