Craig Bickhardt songwriting credits read like a Who’s Who of the music industry. Ray Charles, B. B. King, Johnny Cash, The Judds, Martina McBride, Trisha Yearwood, Allison Krauss, Anne Murray, Art Garfunkel, Poco, David Wilcox, Kathy Mattea, Willie Nelson, Van Zant, Baillie And The Boys, and Vince Gill are just some of the many luminaries who have recorded songs written or co-written by Craig Bickhardt. A discography like that would be the envy of most songwriters, but the covers are only part of the story.
"I never set out to write hits for other artists," Bickhardt says. "But I always got a kick out of hearing what happened to the songs in 'translation'."
His first break as an artist came when he was asked to write and sing the closing theme for Robert Duvall's Academy Award winning movie TENDER MERCIES. The success of that film led to a move to Nashville, where Craig hooked up with fellow songwriters Thom Schuyler, Fred Knobloch and Don Schlitz to establish THE WRITERS IN THE ROUND. Their laid back "living room" style of performing at The Bluebird Café became the hottest ticket in town. These days it's hard to find a city where songwriters haven't adopted the genial in-the-round presentation pioneered by the foursome in the late 1980s.
Eventually Craig, Thom, and Fred took their smooth blend of harmonies into the studio to record their commercially successful CD, NO EASY HORSES. The disk spawned three top twenty singles including Craig and Thom's song THIS OLD HOUSE, which has since become a standard in the traditional bluegrass genre. The trio, dubbed SKB, disbanded after making an unreleased second album, but not before they helped transform the country music scene, opening the door for a wave of singer-songwriter acts that exploded onto the country charts in the 1990s.
Craig cemented his reputation on Music Row when he racked up a succession of chart topping hits, writing the number one songs "Turn It Loose", "I Know Where I'm Going", "In Between Dances", and "It Must Be Love". His self-penned CD, EASY FIRES, is a collection of some of the strongest material garnered from this period.
Bickhardt’s performing style has often been called “soulful folk”. Craig credits his Philadelphia roots for the influence. “I was lucky to grow up in a town that was a melting pot for musicians. I got to hear lots of R&B as well as the great folk performers of the late 60s, early 70s. It taught me that nothing moves people like a great song sung with some passion,” he says.
Discover Graig's music with his new album titled "No road back" available on his site and discover at the same time IdleWheel, the duet project with Jack Sundrud, you must know as lead singer of the band Great Plains and more recently band member of Poco.