Todd Eckart comes home to DuluthTodd Eckart’s music career has taken him to Frank Sinatra’s living room in Palm Springs, to Croatia, and back again to where it all started: West Duluth.
By: Christa Lawler, Duluth News Tribune
Todd Eckart’s music career has taken him to Frank Sinatra’s living room in Palm Springs, to Croatia, and back again to where it all started: West Duluth.
The former Twin Ports fixture returned in October after five years of working in the Los Angeles music biz. Eckart, who balances Rat Pack-style lounge gigs and original rockabilly music backed by The Fractals, will play his first Homegrown Music Festival since 2008 when he takes the stage at 10 p.m. today at Norm’s Beer & Brats on the Superior-centric night.
Eckart is part of a lineup that includes Ryan Van Slooten, Prince Paul and the Conscious Party and Silverback Colony.
“I came back for the music, my family and a change of pace,” Eckart said. “I lived in Los Angeles for five years and it was pretty fast moving — a little too fast for a small-town guy like me.”
Eckart was part of the first wave of local musicians who played the coffee shop scene in the mid-1990s. He moved on to hosting acoustic nights at the NorShor Theatre and playing regular gigs like the Dragon Boat Festival. He moved to California in 2008.
“If anyone is going out to California, I highly suggest they have a plan — a good plan,” he said.
Eckart is mostly known for his lounge act, which channels Sinatra and Dean Martin. He’s also got an Elvis routine.
While Eckart has a lot of original material, it’s his tribute work that pays the bills. He’s played around the country, he attended a function in Frank Sinatra’s living room in 2007 and he’s been on Croatian TV, he said.
“At first I was a little skeptical,” he said of covering the classics. “I wanted to have a younger audience, as most musicians do. They want to be in the now. Then I realized that the older audiences were a little more attentive. And the music was better written back in the day, the lyrics and especially the orchestration. I did thousands of hours of research, studying the Rat Pack and started doing that at corporate events.”
He recently tested this show at Tycoons Alehouse and will perform again on May 24.
But today he will stick to his own rockabilly-old country music with the Fractals.
“Ricky Nelson meets Buddy Holly meets Johnny Cash,” he said.