Eric Heatherly has fulfilled many of his dreams. According to his father, Earl, at age five, the Chattanooga, Tennessee native would listen to a record only once and instantly play the song back on guitar. Eric Heatherly’s first guitar was an old acoustic rescued by his truck-driving father from a garbage bin during one of his delivery routes. The first song he learned from his music- loving father was “Folsom Prison Blues,” by Johnny Cash. Eric fondly states, “I’ve still got that old guitar. It was so hard to play…my fingers would honestly swell up and bleed because the strings were like a fourth of an inch up off the neck! Looking back, I think it was a good thing that I learned to play on that instrument because it strengthened my fingers and primed me for playing the electric guitar.”
Eric Heatherly knows a thing or two about living on the ‘lower east side of life’. He would spend six long and grueling years waiting his turn at the major labels, playing every joint and dive that would let him plug in and play, (usually just for tips.) It was on his way to one of those clubs in Marion, Illinois that he nearly lost his life in an auto accident. His drummer fell asleep at the wheel, causing their Chevy Suburban to roll over at sixty-five miles an hour, finally landing upside down on the shoulder of the highway. His prized ’87 Bahama green Fender Strat landed about a hundred yards from the wreckage. When Eric finally crawled out, he found his workhorse guitar, pulled it out of the splintered case and strummed a chord, expecting the worst. “I couldn’t believe my ears,” Eric says, “My hands were all bloody and I was dizzy and dazed but my Strat comforted me when I strummed that G chord and she still played in tune! I’ll keep her ‘til the day I die.” Eric credits God for saving his and his friends’ lives and believes they survived for a purpose.