If Love Is What You Do
In 2008, Eric O'Connell's daughter, Courtney Carlson, persuaded him (and his wife, Karen) to leave his comfortable blue-collar life in the Twin Cities to live near her in Duluth, Minnesota. His daughter had a secret intent. Her plan was for them to perform his music, written over the past 25 years, together. She was determined and he agreed. He dug out his music (literally jammed in a drawer) and they started performing. Eric has discarded all but his favorite tunes. They have just released their new CD, "If Love is What You Do." Other band members include Stephanie Johnson Carlson (harmonica, hand drum, vocals), and Amy Carlson (vocals). O'Connell lives in Hermantown, MN. Eric O'Connell began studying and playing classical guitar at the age of eight. He studied with teachers in the Twin Cities and San Francisco, and performed in various venues. In his early twenties, Eric's music took a new turn. He bought a Gurian, steel-string guitar and began experimenting with flat picking, bluegrass, and folk. He performed with his friend, Paul Cofell, in central Minnesota. Soon after, he was inspired to try writing in earnest. He now considers his early work "a bit rough." Carlson is married and the mother of two young girls; a resident of Hermantown. She is also a talented visual artist, graduating from the Minnesota Arts High School, Golden Valley and the U of M (Twin Cities campus). O'Connell is also playing tours with his younger daughter, Kristin O'Cooper (of Napa, CA).