Nina Gerber has carved a career out of what some might call the shadows. Her soulful guitar accompaniments have brought her to prominence without ever placing her name on the front of an album cover, and her acute skills as producer and arranger are beginning to do the same. Her contributions to acoustic music, in particular, have earned her a following as loyal as for the numerous high talents she has accompanied -- proving the shadows equal to the spotlight in the creation of honest, powerful, and beautiful music.
Nina has a unique ability to completely free herself within an eclectic range of styles. Presented with folk, country, bluegrass, rock, or blues, she is able to fall into leads which have rare reverence for the true feeling of a song, always emphasizing taste over technical display. She seeks to express through her hands, rather than gain attention, and it is this integrity which makes her expressions worth intent listening.
That these qualities of honest heart inform her music should be no surprise, given that her initial influence and inspiration was the vital folk music of Kate Wolf. It was the same heart and honesty in a performance by Kate in 1975, in a small pizza parlor in Nina's home town of Sebastopol, California, which inspired Nina to realize music as her calling. She dared to set working with Kate as a specific goal, and by 1978, the goal was accomplished. Nina came to be an essential part of Kate's music, as she grew into being her accompanist and close musical companion. It was a partnership which lasted until Kate's passing in 1986, and in its effect, has lasted long beyond that. It's an achievement which is a testament to the power of clear desire and single-minded purpose; it's also evidence of the daring Nina has shown throughout her career since, whether through seeking out the challenging rush of unrehearsed performances, driving her van alone cross-country (1985) to explore the music scenes of Austin and Nashville, or just keeping on as a musician in a country of hard times.
Daring requires hard work to pay off, and Nina's hard work has paid off. One cornerstone of this dedication was her decision to take a year-long sabbatical from performance (1984-85) to study at the Guitar Institute of Technology in Hollywood, where her discipline allowed her to vastly increase her vocabulary -- to explore and develop the soul of new musical avenues.
As a result, Nina's career has expanded far beyond the bounds of Kate Wolf s music, without diluting that honesty and passion. Nina has performed and/or recorded with: Queen Ida, Jerry Jeff Walker, Nanci Griffith, Ferron, Steve Seskin, Rosalie Sorrels, Vicki Randle, Barbara Higbie, Greg Brown, Peter Yarrow, Rhiannon, Teresa Trull, Sarah Elizabeth Campbell, Dianne Davidson, Betsy Rose, Carol McComb, Kristina Olsen, Terry Garthwaite, and many others.
From her accomplished place in the shadows, Nina continues to prove with her guitar that some of the truest and most emotional communication requires no words. Still, when combined with the voice of another musician of heart, the result is affecting in an unforgettable way.
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Page Updated 15 Feb 2014