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"Eli Jebidiah's Leap Of Faith From "Poor Man's Whiskey" To "Huckle""

Important decisions in life require a lot of courage and strength to successfully navigate through the next chapter of ones career.

Especially for artists living on nothing but a shoe-string and relying solely on their creativity and faith in the music they produce. For Eli Jebidiah, that leap of faith is happening now. The musical spirit and rising star has adopted a new persona this summer as he embarks on another musical endeavour. Huckle will be Jebidiah’s main focus with a solo career and new album in the works.

For eight years, Huckle played in the band Poor Man’s Whiskey from San Francisco and captured the hearts of those in the jam scene. Audiences loved the band’s sound, appreciated their rendition of Dark Side of the Moonshine and cherished their acoustic sets in festival campgrounds and parking lots all over the west coast. If that wasn’t enough, Huckle also lead the all-star collective Guitarmageddon as well as the Allmond Brothers Clan performing several times a year.

Talking with Huckle this past week at The Starry Plough in Berkeley, I found him to be one of the most humble, passionate and professional musicians in the industry. Huckle takes his spirituality and place in the world very seriously, just like a Zen master. Huckle resembles Duane Allman onstage and has a warm and caring personality to boot. Anyone with that much clarity, drive and passion is surely destined for greatness and I am eager to see Huckle progress nationally.

At this point though, Huckle is unsure about a permanent line up for the new band and had to rustle up musician friends for the set in Berkeley. On drums this evening was Lucas Carlton from Hot Buttered Rum and Murph from Izabella on bass. Together, the trio was a power-house with a big sound and many diverse songs. You couldn’t tell the guys hadn’t rehearsed much and they came across as a tight-knit group.

With about 50 people in attendance, the guys opened up the set with a hard hitting acoustic original Boomarang in the same vain as Gov’t Mule. In the solo, the band launched into a high energy, double-time jam with Carlton leading the way.

The second song Diamonds featured Huckle on 10-String Acoustic with soaring vocals and Kimock-style guitar phrasing. This track could get any audience dancing off their feet and one of my favorites so far. Huckle had an arsenal of instruments in his collection and the third song By Your Side featured him on banjo. By Your Side is a slow, back-porch song with meaningful vocals and feel-good melodies.

The fourth song, which doesn't have a name yet, had Huckle on an Acoustic Lap Steel Weissenborn style guitar as well as Lucas Carlton on African Tongue Drum. It was reminiscent of something out of the New Orleans Bayou with an African back-theme. Close your eyes for this song and it will transcend you to a distant land filled with inspiration and bliss.

The next song House of Cards takes Huckle back to the acoustic electric 10-string guitar and has that 1982 Cars sound with descriptive vocals and driving hits. I hear a lot of soul much like The Rolling Stones from 1979 and shows us where Huckle’s roots lie in music. Murph’s bass is huge in this song and the tone is funky and expressive. For a new song, the guys nailed it.

The Ocean starts off melodically and slow like an East Indian meditation. This song seems familiar to me with eloquent vocals and a simple first verse. Then the music explodes and takes off with hard hitting punches and soaring vocals.

The last song Ramblin brought up Kate Gaffney on backing vocals and Aaron Redner on fiddle. Redner is the front man for his solo band Kinky Buddah who opened up the show. As fast as a locomotive and jam grass in spirit, Ramblin was a great closer for the night.

Huckle and I spoke in the green room which doubled as a storage area with low ceilings and a claustrophobic feel. Behind me were stacked chairs and crates. Just beside the door was a bucket filled with beer and scattered around the room were instrument cases piled high. It’s been a year since my last interview with Huckle and it was a pleasure getting to know him more. Huckle is a troubadour of life, an artist in the real sense of the word and someone who stands out among the rest. The music industry needs to take notice of this talented individual who has a story to tell and a message to deliver

Interview with Huckle, at The Starry Plough Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Congratulations on your new solo career. Where are you musically tonight with a short set and a new band?

I’m in the process of making a new record, so I don’t have a band right now. I’ve been really fortunate that my touring friends have gone out of their way to help me with pre-production rehearsals and recording. I wanted to be able to hear what the songs sound like as a trio before I went into the recording studio. It was important to me to have the drum and bass parts defined so I could gain a sense of how the songs feel once those parts were fully developed. Dave Brogan (ALO) has been helping me a lot playing drums, as well as “Murph” on bass. Those are the two guys I am making my new record with. Lucas Carlton from Hot Buttered Rum and Steve Adams from ALO have also done some pre-production rehearsals with me, which has been awesome. Lately, I’ve been on the road a lot gigging with Poor Man’s Whiskey before my final gig on August 7th. In the few days off I get between gigging, I’ve been running up to the city and trying to rustle up people to do pre production rehearsals. I was able to lay down tracks for 4 songs at Lightrail Studio’s which has 2-inch tape machines that used to be owned by Jerry Garcia. It’s the same equipment that was used on Workingman’s Dead and the recording is getting run through a Gamble Console Board. It sounds great! Between gigging a lot and prepping for this record, I just haven’t had an opportunity to rehearse with a consistent lineup. So, tonight the three of us are going to do material that we all know, which is about 45 minutes worth. I have cleared my gig calendar for the next two months so I can focus entirely on developing my songs and release a full length record in October. By then I will have enough material to do a solid 2 hour set.

It’s obvious you are taking a leap of faith. How does that feel inside, what are your emotions right now and what are your thoughts moving forward?

I am excited beyond belief. I have been waiting a long time to do this. I love my band mates and brothers in Poor Man’s Whiskey, but, this has been something that I’ve wanted to do and needed to wait for the right time for it to happen. Summer of 2011 was the right year for my change and things aligned correctly. I am really glad I was able to take the next two months off to make this Huckle record. This is the only band that I am focused on now, with the exception of a few Guitarmageddon gigs at festivals. It feels so good every second of the day, I wake up and go to bed smiling. I can’t believe that I am in a place in my life where I can finally devote my time and energy completely to my band. Everything feels right, regardless of how successful it turns out to be. Huckle is what I want to be doing with my life right now.

Take us back to high school when you came of age. What bands were you involved with and what were you doing with your life?

For me musically, I came of age in college. Right before my freshman year, I bought Jimi Hendrix’ Smash Hits. I can still remember getting in my dad’s 1982 rust orange Toyota Tercel and listening to Stone Free. I was blown away and went on this Hendrix obsession for a year. Then I went into a blues focus and that evolved into Duane Allman and Stevie Ray Vaughan; all at the beginning of college. Then I went way deep into all the Delta stuff. Jason and Josh from Poor Man’s Whiskey and I all met in college. We learned to play music at UC Santa Barbara and came of age together.

In those days, Isla Vista had an amazing music scene and community. We would all do shows together with our bands on Del Playa, Anasquio Park, or on campus. Looking back on it all, I can’t believe what a fertile oasis it was for musicians. We did shows with Jack Johnson’s college band Soil, also ALO, and a bunch of other great bands, many of which are still at it today. Looking back on the scene now, I see now that it was a special moment in time, but back then I just thought it was like that everywhere.

I went through all the blues stuff, then the jam based music. By the end of college, I felt that music was all about smoky bars and people partying all the time. The ones who were doing well with it didn’t seem too healthy and were strung out most of the time. Loving the outdoors, I didn’t feel like that was a great road to take and went off to do some different things for a while. I toured North America as a professional hang glider pilot, climbed many rocks, skated pools, and traveled the globe surfing . I became a photographer and made some films. Getting into all these other passions was great because it got my head and heart creatively aligned. When I came back into music with Poor Man’s Whiskey, it exposed me to acoustic based music, which I have fused with my love for 70s blues rock, and ultimately this led me to the sound I have developed in Huckle.

What about pre-show warm up and focus? What do you do before to prepare emotionally?

For me, it’s really about trying to bridge the gap between action and intention. In the music I write, (lyrically and melodically) all the parts are there to support that message. I do feel that music is a great pulpit to express something and I am doing my best effort to make the most of that opportunity. I want to share my music with everyone who wants to listen, it is something that I really believe in. Before a show, I will warm up my fingers and voice. I bring the band together to talk through the set and go over what we are doing to do. I like to make sure everyone is calm, hydrated and focused. Before we go on, I pull everyone in to express how grateful I am that they are there. When we play, I want to be very present in the moment and then let it happen. There’s a lot of intention with what’s going on right now and it feels so good. It’s much less about partying and more about expressing something that comes from a deep place within me and that is the number one priority now.

If you were to read your horoscope tomorrow, what might it say for the coming year in 2012?

Well, I don’t know how to phrase my answer in horoscope language, but next year I have a very ambitious tour schedule. Once my record is released and I have a touring band ready to go, I am looking to be out on the road doing 150 to 200 shows a year. This is what I want to do. Leaving PMW to start Huckle was not a whimsical or off the cuff decision. It was a pre-planned and methodical transition. I have a two year plan with goals that need to be reached. If I can do it all, the sky is the limit. At the end of the day, I have no control over whether people like my music or not. But, what I do have control over is making Huckle the best expression of what I believe in.

You have played with countless musicians over the years. But, who haven’t you played with? Alive or dead, who would you like to share the stage with?

I would love to play with Ali Farka Toure who did an album with Ry Cooder, John Hartford, Duane, Jimi, Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, Albert King, Willie Nelson Dan Auerbach, Roy Buchanan, Merle Haggard and JJ Cale, just to name a few. I look up to the way people like John Butler and Ben Harper have navigated their way through life and maintained their artistic integrity in what they do. I respect the balance they have found between family, being socially conscience in their music, and continuing to grow as an artist. Those three main aspects are what I am trying to do with Huckle. I don’t what to be the guy who is away from my family all the time, or can’t support one. I have had some great role models in my life and I believe that it is an attainable goal.

This will certainly go down as a pivotal moment in your life. What other times have had this much of an impact?

I have done a lot of different things that have really shaped who I am. I paid for college by getting a tennis scholarship and spent much of my early life as a competitive athlete. From there I went into being a devoted trad climber and survived some intense moments on the rock. Then I was a competitive hang-gliding pilot for two years and I spent another two years immersing myself deep in the sub culture of the skate boarding world. I also spent a year and half traveling from Nepal to New Zealand. That really reset my global view of the world and got me thinking outside of the North American envelope I had grown up in. Throughout all these years, I have been an avid surfer and my relationship with the ocean is something that always centers me in life. All these things lead me to have really big personal insights. Honestly, I don’t get nervous in life these days too much. I had two really close calls where I feel lucky to be alive. One time I was going 70 mph in my hang glider and missed a cliff by a couple feet. I also had another close call getting flipping upside down in a cloud in the desert at 18,000 feet. If you forget a lyric, miss a chord, or do something else that you are embarrassed by, you are going to still be alive and wake up in the morning. Most thing are just not that bad, so there’s not a lot to be nervous about. Some of these intense experiences and outdoor pursuits in my life have shaped me as an individual. Also, from spending time in friends’ communities who have like minded values have greatly reinforced my beliefs. Being a good person is the key to living a good life.

Your instrumentation is so unique and diverse. What do you call the acoustic flat steel guitar that you played tonight? It looks home made.

Yes, that is Wessienborn style lap steel. I couldn’t afford one of the original ones that were built in the 1920s, so I decided to build one. Everything I have done, whether it’s surfing, skating, or playing music, I eventually start making my own equipment. For me, it really helps to understand my craft. I met a great luthier, John Knutson who prepares stuff for Kimock and Lindley and said, “Hey I want to build a Weissenborn”. Then I reached out to Todd Cleinsmith who is a really famous Dobro maker. I got some koa wood from him, and then brought all the materials to John’s shop. Two months later, I had finished making this great acoustic lap steel based on the shape of a style 1 Weissenborn. The binding on the sides actually came from an abandoned walnut door. I am carving a totem pole for the head stock one of these days and then it will be truly finished. I have wood to make a few more. Once I get Huckle up and running, I will make a few more for me and some of my friends who want one.

Thank you for your time Huckle, I know you have to pack up and get out of here. Have a great year and good luck in 2012.

For more of Huckle, check out: - Jam Band Friendly

"The Musical Journey of Huckle"

Originally appeared on

“I came to the conclusion that if I was going to make a living playing music and be happy with that life experience, I needed to focus all my energy into one band that played the music I wanted to play. That is why I quit Poor Man’s Whiskey, along with my other side projects, and formed Huckle.”

And so began the next chapter of Simon Kurth’s musical journey. Already a success in the eyes of many struggling musicians looking to make records, tour, and headline festivals, Simon (aka Huckle) searched for something more. As lead guitarist for Poor Man’s Whiskey, Simon, under the guise of Eli Jebidiah, had already accomplished many of the goals set up by back porch pickers and bedroom shredders searching for band mates on Craigslist.

But, playing in local bars and your buddy’s Halloween party isn’t the path to salvation for many who want to make a living playing music. This becomes especially true when the musician is trying to spread a musical idea based on social consciousness.

“I knew getting reestablished was going to involve tons of hard work, major time and financial commitments, putting together a great band, standing behind my artistic vision, and lots of luck. What made it all worth doing is my belief in myself, my music, and my community.”

Community-based Funding

In the beginning of 2012, worried about not having enough money to complete the album he was interested in making, Huckle turned to the community via As a creative project funding platform, Kickstarter has helped fund over 30,000 ideas ranging from music to video to art. As a way to raise capital through the rallying of friends and supporters, Kickstarter was the perfect choice for Huckle.

“I am not one to ever ask for hand outs, so I was very uncomfortable with the idea at first. Since my music is community oriented, and I write songs about the things we all go through, I decided to see if they wanted to be a part of helping me realize my dream of sharing this music.”

And they did. In just over a month, Huckle surpassed his goal of raising $7500. Eighty backers pledged just over $7800 to the making of the first Huckle record, Wooden Melodies. But, perhaps more importantly, the successful completion of the Kickstarter campaign showed Simon his community was behind him.

“I was overwhelmed by the support I received. It was a very inspiring experience to see all those people help me get my footing under me with this Huckle record.”

Wooden Melodies

“I had a very clear idea of the sound I wanted on this album, which was a product identifying the tones I wanted, and coupling that with the message I wanted to put out into the world. As far as the diversity within the material goes, some of that is due to some really good advice John Butler gave me. He encouraged me to embrace the musical diversity I felt within, and not to over think the process of what songs to put on or leave off the record. He said they all represent who I am, and people would appreciate that range of expression.”

Armed with instruments of sound and a desire to not have them stolen, Simon spent most of the spring living in his van and floating between his San Francisco friends‘ driveways. As the recording and mixing sessions stretched well into the night, the hourlong, late night drive to his Sebastopol home became less and less appealing. Luckily, the Southern California-raised surfer was no stranger to minimal sleep in the back of vehicle.

“I got really lucky in that the people I wanted to play and work with on the record all did, which I am so grateful for. The record was tracked on Jerry Garcia’s A-80 2” tape machine, then mixed in Pro Tools. David Simon Baker was a great engineer, and my rhythm section of Dave Brogan (ALO) and Murph really sounded great on the record. I was very lucky to have Tim Bluhm (Mother Hips) sing the harmonies for the record, and was stoked to have Nicki Bluhm sing on a track as well. Zach Gill (ALO) and Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz (ALO), also laid down some keys and pedal steel respectively that really made the songs come to life. The music on the record is about community, and I was really excited that the players on my record are from from my musical community. I think that vibe really comes through on the album.”

The basic tracking for Wooden Melodies was done in San Francisco at Lightrail Studios with the vocals tracked at Mission Bells Studio. Huckle mixed the album at Laughing Tiger Studios in San Rafael with David Simon Baker, while Mike Wells mastered it.

“I was conscious of the arc I wanted the album to have, and focused on developing the songs that needed to be on the record to make the overall listening experience complete. My favorite part of making the record was being deep within the process of assembling a song and then hearing it all together for the first time. For me, it is a divine confluence of action and intention.”

The Band

“It was clear to me that the only way forward in terms of growing as a musician, and as a human being was to move on and start over with a new band that shared my goals and intentions. Huckle is defined by my vision, but that vision is supported and in tune with why my bandmates play music. Their input and involvement are key elements to any success Huckle will have.”

It is this vision for making music with others that lead Huckle to assemble his traveling trio. On the road and in the studio, Simon is usually armed with a hard-case quiver filled with a 10 string acoustic guitar, a homemade Weissenborn lap steel guitar, as well as a banjo and other assorted instruments.

Contributing to half of Huckle’s powerful rhythm section is Murph on bass. Born and raised in Chicago, Murph started out playing piano and cello. An early move to bass allowed him to experience life on the road as a touring musician in The Freddy Jones Band and, after a move to San Francisco, Izabella.

“Murph has an enormous knowledge base of music. He is an incredible guitar player, and also tears it up on the keys. He has spent a lot of time on the road, and knows its rhythm well. I wanted a bass player who would play mostly upright, and develop a style of soloing with the bow. Murph was up for the challenge, and has really developed his own style within what we do. He also brings a lot to the table with his electric playing. It is great to hear him take bass solos in our song, House of Cards. I think playing upright for most of the night makes playing the electric feel fresh for him, and it is really fun to hear the stuff he comes up with in those moments.”

Sitting behind the drums for Huckle is Ezra Lipp. Ezra has been a freelance drummer, session player, and teacher since relocating to the Bay Area after completing a Music Performance/Jazz Studies BA from the University of Vermont.

“Ezra is a passionate person. When I met him, I noticed that right away. I liked the way he balances confidence with curiosity. He plays with a lot of intention, and that really translates in his playing. He has a great work ethic and truly invests himself into the music. I felt he would be a good fit in the band because I new he would be someone that could cultivate and develop the sound of the drums in a way that was in tune with what my vision for the band was.”

After the band was assembled, it was time to hit the road and spread the word through music. A a band, Huckle’s chemistry is immediately recognizable on stage. Molding their individual styles into a common vision, Huckle is able to combine the want of sharing music with their obvious enjoyment of performing for fans.

“We spend so much time together. We all share similar similar values and lifestyles, so we get a long great. I also think we each have our own way of pushing each others comfort zones in a constructive way, but know when to draw the line because we respect each other. We have a good thing going now. I told myself that whoever was going to be in the band needed not only to be the right musical fit, but they also had to be someone the rest of the band would get a long with. Good music comes from good connection on a spiritual level. Good friends make good music. It all starts there.”

Perhaps the most important thing to Huckle is making a connection with the audience in an honest way. It was this same desire that caused Eli Jebidiah become Huckle.
“I want to create an environment where people want to come together as a community and manifest positive intentions into positive actions and have fun doing it. It is my hope that my songs connect emotionally with people, and that my message in the music stimulates dialog and action in their lives. Life is something to be engaged, and I believe music is a powerful tool to connect with people. I like that music stirs up strong feelings in people, and it is my hope that the music I share with the world will have a positive impact on those it touches.

Connection means the world to me, and success or a ‘good show’ for me is defined by feeling like the music connected with the audience. When that happens, I feel like the band and the audience are one and the same, sharing an amazing moment.”

Music For Food

As part of the connection Huckle strives to make with the fans, Huckle started encouraging people to bring non-perishable food donations to their shows. In turn, Huckle would present the donated items to local food banks. Thus allowing them to complete the cycle of musician to fan to community.
“I did a ten day Vipassana retreat in Joshua Tree before I started touring with Huckle. It is a silent mediation, so I had a lot of time to reflect on what impact I wanted Huckle to have in the world. One thing that really frustrated me with touring in my previous bands was the interaction of playing and then leaving the town made me feel disconnected with people and the places were were traveling through.

Music for Food was a way I could contribute to the community of each town I visited by creating a system where the band and those that attended the concert could work together to help those less fortunate in their community. My idea was that if I gave away a free cd of Huckle music to encourage people to donate food, we could really engage local communities to raise awareness for those social issues of that community in a way that was fun and accessible for them. The idea is that bands all over the country will participate in the Music for Food program, so on any given night there could be 100 bands all hosting food drives across the nation, and connecting with local grass roots organizations to raise awareness for social issues.

“What has been really exciting is that I have recently partnered with the outdoor gear manufacturing Marmot. I was so inspired to see a global company like that take interest in this program, and want to get involved with it. We like to camp on the road when we can, because much of our tour routing is set up around the things we like to do during the day in the great outdoors (surf, ski, climb, etc). Marmot also reaches out to their community to help spread the word about the Music for Food program, and it has really helped raise the visibility of it. It all translates to more people donating more food, which is rad!”

Next for Huckle

“We are going back into the studio in December to record our next album, which should be released in March. I am excited about the process. We are doing the entire record on tape. No computers will be involved. I am also looking to release a live record in the middle of 2013. It is my intention to release as much new music as I can.”

Look for Huckle touring the West Coast supporting Wooden Melodies or camping along the way at some ridiculously beautiful locale. For more information on Huckle or the Music for Food program, please visit -


Wooden Melodies
- Released September 2012
- Features special guests from members of Jack Johnson, ALO, the Mother Hips, and Nicki Bluhm



This Northern California-based singer-songwriter-guitarist is a natural child of the world. One picks up on some of the blessed West Coast vibe of Jack Johnson and the oceanic oomph of John Butler in his readily appealing music, but there’s also a winning attack to his sound, a hunger felt in the gut of the listener. Huckle rocks in that beautiful wide-armed way the genre once did back in the day, embracing country, blues, folk and anything else he fancies, something evident throughout his organically flowing, lovingly charged debut album ‘Wooden Melodies’.

Live, Huckle tours as a trio, and his band includes bassist Murph and drummer Ezra Lipp. Hot off the heels of a relentless touring schedule, Huckle has been spreading his music throughout California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Nevada and Colorado. Huckle has shared the stage with and supported many great bands and musicians including Donovan Frankenreiter, The Mother Hips, Steve Kimock, ALO, the Lee Boys, Melvin Seals and JGB, and Greensky Bluegrass to name a few.

Despite the impression of ragin’ electricity in many spots on the new album "Wooden Melodies", what one hears is an 10 string acoustic and a homemade Weissenborn lap steel guitar, along with banjo and other assorted instruments Huckle brings to bear alongside his rhythm team of bassist Murph (Izabella) and ALO drummer Dave Brogan. The album also features harmonies from Tim Bluhm (The Mother Hips) and guest turns from college friends Lebo (ALO) and Zach Gill (Jack Johnson, ALO) as well as harmonies from Nicki Bluhm on one cut. All tunes were tracked live as a trio on Jerry Garcia’s old A-80 Studor 2” tape machine.

Connection to the great outdoors and Community is central to Huckle’s philosophy, and not just working closely with the rich array of Bay Area talent he calls friends. He’s partnered with outdoor retail manufacturer Marmot to begin a Music For Food program, where people who bring two items of non-perishable food to a Huckle show and receive some free Huckle music. Huckle then takes the donated food to the local food bank. It’s an effort that strives to help raise much needed food and awareness about those less fortunate in every local community Huckle visits – a small act of kindness that incrementally moves things towards the positive. It’s a characteristically Huckle thing to.