Eric Tingstad (born December 16, 1954) is an American Grammy Award-winning multi-genre record producer, musician and songwriter / composer. He was born and raised in Seattle, WA where he currently resides. Best known as a fingerstyle guitarist, Tingstad has performed, recorded, and produced Alternative Country, Blues, Americana, Rock, Smooth Jazz and Ambient / New Age music. Tingstad frequently collaborates with woodwinds player Nancy Rumbel as the acclaimed Tingstad and Rumbel duo. Eric Tingstad cites early rock and roll influences such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and King Crimson. Other influences include The Kingston Trio, Flatt and Scruggs, pianist and composer Martin Denny, sitar virtuoso Ravi Shanker, Mason Williams’ “Classical Gas” and the Hawaiian slack-key guitar. In the mid 1970s, while playing lead guitar and bass with Seattle-based rock band Pegasus, Tingstad began studies under masters of techniques pioneered by Spanish classical guitarist and innovator Andres Segovia. Those techniques, combined with innovations of his own, have shaped Tingstad’s stylings and the instrumental compositions for which he is known. His innovative work inspired Will Ackerman, founder of Windham Hill Records, to create the Windham Hill Guitar Sampler series. Tingstad’s Prelude from the Bridal Suite is a selected pick on AllMusic.com from the first Windham Hill Guitar Sampler.
By a vote of his peers, Tingstad was honored in October 2006 with the Coyote Award from Arts Northwest commemorating his leadership, visibility, and contributions to the constant change in the arena of live performance. Tingstad is also known for his philanthropic and community service work in regard to historical preservation, land trust and environmental issues which he has actively incorporated into his compositional themes and branding.
Eric Tingstad’s solo recording career began in 1982 with the release of On The Links. Capitalizing on his gift for composition, On the Links compiled eleven original songs best described as part of the burgeoning New Age genre. The album appeared on his private label, Cheshire Records, under which he continues to release albums of his own music and others.
In 1985, Eric began a collaboration with woodwinds player Nancy Rumbel. Their debut album, The Gift, an acoustic Christmas collection, was very well received, selling ten thousand copies in the first ten weeks. The Gift went on to sell over half a million copies, and remains a best-selling Christmas album.
In 1987 Tingstad signed a multi-album record contract with Narada Productions which led to 14 recordings from 1987 to 2004. The catalog is now owned and distributed worldwide by EMI Capitol. In 1988 Tingstad and Rumbel collaborated with pianist David Lanz to form and record the Woodlands trio which resulted in a best-selling CD called Woodlands.
In 1998 the double album, American Acoustic was honored as “Acoustic Instrumental Album of the Year”. It debuted at number one on Adult Contemporary charts and spent 10 weeks on the Billboard radio charts. In 2000, Tingstad & Rumbel were invited to perform at Carnegie Hall.
Tingstad won a Grammy Award for Best New Age Album in 2003 as artist, engineer, and producer of Tingstad and Rumbel’s, Acoustic Garden. He continues to tour as part of Tingstad and Rumbel, an acoustic duo that remains a standard among listeners of the instrumental/New Age genres.
In 2007 Tingstad recorded Southwest, an instrumental album inspired by the landscapes of the American Southwest region featuring compositions in the style of what he considers “Ambient-Americana”. Tingstad received a Grammy nomination for Southwest’s recording.
In 2012 Tingstad released his instrumental Americana recording Badlands, which includes an appearance by dobro and steel guitar legend Cindy Cashdollar. Badlands continues in the ambient-Americana style, deriving influence from Native American music, along with country and roots genres.
In 2015 Mississippi was released as the follow up CD to Southwest and Badlands. And like the previous recordings, Mississippi is his musical expression of how we are inspired by and relate to, our American landscape. Impressions of the region that has come to be known as the Cradle of American Music - centered in the Mississippi delta, and expanding to include the Americana Music Triangle.