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Eric Gnezda

Award-Winning Songwriter Eric Gnezda is creator and host of the nationally syndicated Public TV Series, Songs at the Center.

The music that springs from Eric Gnezda travels a pure and simple path into the hearts of his listeners. In many ways, the road that led Eric to where he is today was also pure and simple. Three days after Eric's birth, his father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a torturous disease that eventually claimed his life. Yet, Eric is quick to point out that for all he learned about pain, he also learned "four lifetimes of lessons about the power of love and how to hang together to survive." Eric's penetrating insights, derived from such "lessons," powerfully infuse his music.

Like most creative compulsions, songwriting has become for Eric a way to transcend his life's struggles; performing his songs has become a way to help others transcend theirs as well. Eric's catalog consists of songs that embrace expansive subjects. One of them, "Everyone Wins," was used nationally to promote the Special Olympics and his “Blossoms of Hope” is a favorite among cancer survivors, just as “True Heroes” is among U.S. veterans, firefighters and everyday people who put others before themselves. Eric also performs in mainstream venues, from concert halls to churches, to special events, to Nashville’s famous Bluebird Café.

While his music has brought him much national acclaim, Eric has received nearly as much notice for his humorous pieces. "Humor is an effective tool for me as a performer," Eric concedes. "But it's also been a lifelong survival tactic. I absolutely depend on it to keep perspective." There is no mistaking the fact that the heart that spawns his most serious songs is the same heart that drives his humor. "It's the same heart all right," Eric laughingly agrees.

In the end, listening to Eric Gnezda's heart is to have finally, unmistakably, heard one's own.

(Excerpted from a review by Chicago-based writer, Wendy Raphael.)