Ed Askew – For the love of real things by real people

By Jamie Evans


Ed Askew is a man quietly known for playing howling and vibrant music as a tiple folk artist from the 1960s to the present 21st scene. He is a man, knowledgeable of the long and far reaching lines that draw the parameters of fey and abstracted human expression and his work is largely regarded by those familiar with the underground folk music scene as an integral masterpiece to the core of the genre. In a wonderful story told by Askew, he explains the beginnings of his relationship with the tiple.

The Stamford, Connecticut born songwriter and painter resides in New York City presently. And New York has been his bastion for much of his song writing. At 26, in 1966, Ed Askew was drafted to fight in the Vietnam War and after returning to America found work as a preparatory school teacher. Although Askew had previously spent much emotion and time with music, it was with his teaching career that he began to write prolifically. If a period may define the artist?s expression it is perhaps between coming home from the disastrous war and the quietness of teaching. The haunting of his experience in Vietnam is evident in the intense melodic structures of the song while his clean hopeful voice seems to champion the respite of his soul, offered, perhaps, in his teaching days. In 1967-68 Askew played for tips between coffee houses and it would be in this period where he would meet Bernard Stolman of ESP DISK’ and later record his first EP.

Askew says of his playing style, ”When I played the tiple I used to tend to dance, so that would have an effect on the way I sang. The whole thing was very intense, and the tiple’s loud. It doesn’t look loud, but it?s very loud. And I suppose it had to do with those songs.”

The tiple’s versatile ten steel strings are tuned high and share a bombarding and piecing projection. The instrument was introduced by Martin Tiple in 1924 and is known to be infamously difficult to play. The instrument requires a certain heroism of the musician who plays it. Ed Askew combines wonderfully slantendicularly warped and wefted strands of melody with the tiples?s 10 strings sealed gloriously under the harmony of his lyrical genius and hopeful tone

Ed Askew demonstrates this spirit with ‘Ask the Unicorn’ and ‘Fancy That’, both tracks contain the strong elements of his lyrical work and accurate yet expressionistic tiple playing.

Fancy, that

Ask the Unicorn


One thought on “Ed Askew – For the love of real things by real people

  1. nice, thanks. i didn’t go into the army though. teaching got me out. i am currently recording for Tin Angel records with my band. best to you. Ed

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