Erik Balkey
Gig Seeker Pro

Erik Balkey

Band Folk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



""...a unique and pleasing performance.”"

“Like Bill Morrissey, he finds poetry in the ruins of romance, such as how 'holding onto the past is like holding your breath.' Like Buddy Mondlock, he tells of the sometimes lonely life of the road and the sweet taste of freedom. Like Bill Staines, he listens to many other writers and pays tribute to their craft and spirit. Erik Balkey brings together his storytelling, balladry, feathery voice and humor into a unique and pleasing performance.” - Steve Key, concert presenter and songwriter:

""...a serious artist ...both thoughtful and tuneful.""

"A synthesizer note swells and floats through space, the first sound you hear on 'My Sacred Heart.' It declares that Erik Balkey will use a wider sonic palette than before. Balkey still writes lovely, instantly hummable melodies and delivers them in a sweet, high hush... 'My Sacred Heart' finds a serious artist expanding his reach with an inward look both thoughtful and tuneful." - David Kleiner,

"" of the most magical sets I have seen from any stage.""

Erik performed for a packed house of my friends and colleagues. I eagerly anticipated his performance and had high expectations for his set. Erik somehow managed to exceed even those high expectations. While Erik is an effective performer in all types of settings, he absolutely shined in the quiet, intimate house concert setting where listeners could fully appreciate the emotional subtleties of his craft. From his carefully selected song selection to his humorous and revealingly personal stage banter, Erik provided one of the most magical sets I have seen from any stage. I am honored that he has been a part of my series. - Jonathan Wright, presenter

"My Sacred Heart: Another Fine Collection of Songs"

Another fine collection of songs from the increasingly prolific award-winning songwriter. In 'My Sacred Heart,' Erik Balkey explores new territory while still remaining grounded in the best aspects of acoustic singer-songwriting. From the opening track, an intimate yet powerful reading of Dylan's 'What Good Am I,' through the various originals, Balkey creates a sense of immediacy with his quiet understated delivery of his material. - Rob Lincoln,

""...a singer-songwriter's singer-songwriter""

Balkey is a singer/songwriter's singer/songwriter. The arrangments are colors that fill the melodic structure that supports the lyrics. In Balkey's case, the colors are pretty and delicate earth tones that have a calming effect. If the songs were rooms, then their feng shui would render the occupants thoughtful, serene, and perhaps only slightly sad. Perhaps typical is "From New Jersey," a song about the end of marriage. You are left believing that the relationship wasn't a good idea in the first place and the narrator will be better off in the end. The pace of the alubm is unvaryingly meditative. Even "Homeward Bound" is more ruminative than the original. - Dirty Linen


- Deadpan Alley (2007)
- My Sacred Heart (2007)
- Mission Street Project (2006)
- Sanctuary Road (2005)
- While the Paint Dries (2004)
- God's Poet Now (2003)
- Negotiations & Compromise (2002)
- Erik Balkey (1999)


Feeling a bit camera shy


An engaging mix of honesty, intimacy and humor. An agile voice accompanied by sparse and deliberate guitar work. Dirty Linen Magazine says, "Balkey's confident delivery and sparse arrangements frame the songs with uncommon poise."

Erik Balkey has been on the road since January 2002. Keeping just a post office box in Philadelphia, he has taken to the highway with his guitar and notebook as well as paint brushes and rollers. He picks up interior house painting jobs to sustain his travels, and performs all over the country from Maine to Texas, Florida to Chicago covering over 50,000 miles annually. Among recent honors, Balkey was named a Kerrville New Folk Winner in 2005 and was selected for a Top-12 DIY feature in the January 2006 issue of Performing Songwriter magazine. His recent recording, "Mission Street Project," caught the attention of Peter Yarrow (Peter, Paul and Mary) who called the socially relevant collection "important, very important."

Prior to choosing a life on the road, Balkey began songwriting as part of the Red Bank, NJ music scene in 1994 before a four-year stint in New York City. Among the songwriters in the city, Balkey listened and learned as an active volunteer and performer as part of the Fast Folk Cafe scene of the nineties.

Legendary Philadelphia radio deejay, Michael Tearson wrote in SingOut! Magazine, "These songs are literate, exacting portraits in amber... Nicely played and beautifully recorded." His albums contain songs that have garnered Balkey recognition in over a dozen songwriting competitions across the country including being named Kerrville New Folk Winner in 2005 as well as finalist at the Mountain Stage New Song Festival songwriting competition in 2003 and 2004. In 2006, his song "Cut 'em Down" caught the attention of Paul Stookey (Peter, Paul and Mary), Judy Collins, Tom Paxton, Christine Lavin and other judges when it took 2nd Place at the national "Music To Life" songwriting competition.

Since the beginning of 2006, Balkey has written or co-written over sixty songs. Many are written on commission for his "Custom Songs" side effort. Among his writing collaborators are Johnsmith, Jonathan Byrd, Amy Speace, Tom Prasada-Rao, Cary Cooper, Freebo and Pat Wictor. Some of the new songs are gathered on Balkey's two recent releases, "Mission Street Project" and "My Sacred Heart." His current recordings include performances from, among others, Chris Chandler, the Dreamsicles, Jonathan Byrd, Laurie MacAllister, and Duke Levine (formerly in Mary Chapin Carpenter's band). The "Sanctuary Road" recording contains includes Balkey's performance at the legendary Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas.

Balkey's albums have been played on radio stations across the country, each "charting" on the Folk DJ playlists with "God's Poet Now" peaking at No. 6 for most played song in July 2003. Radio deejays who have played his music include Gene Shay at WXPN in Philadelphia, John Platt at WFUV in New York City, Rich Warren at WFMT in Chicago , and Marilyn Beyer at WUMB in Boston. His tour stops include the Tin Angel in Philadelphia; Makor in New York City; Jammin Java in Vienna, VA; Uncle Calvin's Coffeehouse in Dallas, TX .

Balkey is a member of the Folk Alliance and BMI. He writes the "Songwriter's Tour Guide." He has held volunteer positions with the Fast Folk Cafe (NYC), Music Among Friends (Hoboken, NJ), the Philadelphia Songwriters Alliance, and Nameless Coffeehouse (Cambridge, MA). He is founder of Hudson Harding Music doing artist representation for Folk Radio distribution and promotion.