Eric called me interested in getting a new strap
Eric called me in 2009 interested in getting a new strap. In the course of our conversation, we discovered we were both motorcycle riders and that he had never ridden the Tail of the Dragon, a very twisty portion of US Hwy 129 which transverses from Tennessee into North Carolina. (318 curves in 11 miles, most of them hairpins). www.tailofthedragon.com , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deals_Gap,_North_Carolina He was scheduled to attend Jack Hatfield's Smoky Mountain Banjo Academy as an instructor, so I invited him to ride the Dragon while he was in the area. Jack had to cancel the SMBA that year, but later in May, Eric called and asked if he and a friend could come down anyway. That was a no brainer! I invited him down to stay at the house and we'd ride the Dragon, the Cherohala Skyway, & the Ocoee River Region (the site of the 1996 Olympics whitewater events). We had a great time riding and one special memory for me was setting on my sofa and playing "Doodlin' Banjos" with Eric. In my opinion, that's like an opera singer getting to sing with Pavarotti. Additionally, we invited a few friends over and were treated to a private performance by Eric as well as entertained by a lot of stories about Deliverance, his career, and the early days of the Folk Music scene in New York City and Washington Square Park.
As a part of our original conversation, I told him I had always been interested in doing a "Deliverance" strap. He said he didn't understand what I meant. I described my vision of a strap with a few of the iconic images from the movie such as the Banjo Boy, Burt Reynolds, a canoe, the river , the toothless guy, etc. He said he thought that would be a great idea, so with his blessing, I began to work on it. I originally made seven Limited Edition, serial numbered straps, tooled & hand colored. I sent them to him indicating that serial # 1 was his. He hand signed the remainder and sent them back to be. I consider these to be collectors items due to his contribution the the banjo world and the iconic status of the song & movie. Some photos of the strap are pictured below. I still have a couple for sale.
Eric with the "Deliverance" strap, and wearing the "Paddle Faster" tee shirt
Eric after riding the "Tail of the Dragon", and with some friends invited over for a private concert
The "Deliverance Strap" Limited Edition, serial numbered, hand colored. The actual straps look better
than the photos
An excellent Wikipedia article on Eric: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Weissberg
Visit Eric's website at: www.ericweissberg.com