When Eric Himan was eight-years-old, his father -- an amateur guitar and bass player and longtime jazz aficionado -- handed his son a guitar and insisted on teaching him how to play.
The younger Himan resisted at first -- "What kid likes to do as they're told? " he asks -- but eventually succumbed to his father's wishes.
Good thing, too. Because that first guitar seeded Himan's eventual -- some might say, inevitable -- career as a folk troubadour.
The singer, who will appear tonight at the HRC Action Center & Store for a live performance and CD signing, recently issued his third CD, All for Show. Himan's music, an acoustically-driven mélange of folk, jazz and R&B, evokes a profusion of styles ranging from Dave Matthews to America. Yet, Himan's sound is inexorably his own -- and his recorded albums, while good, don't capture the blazing fervor, the stirring passion of his live performances.
Himan is self-published via Thumbcrown, a label he started a few years ago with college friend Cassandra Buncie. The two promote and sell Himan's three CDs on the web at www.erichiman.com.
"Being able to have the freedom of doing stuff yourself has been an advantage, " says Himan from his home in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. "Many people think that just because you're on a major label means you're going to get all this exposure. But I've gotten a lot more press than some people on major labels who didn't get the right backing."
Himan, 24-years-old and tattooed-to-infinity ("they're mostly cartoon characters I like "), has been out since the inception of his career. He notes obliquely that being gay "on the one hand, factors into everything and on the other hand, shouldn't factor into anything. "
One downside is that sometimes his more ardent gay fans get a little too physical.
"When I play the gay clubs, people see you as fresh meat and grab you, " he says. "Well, I'm 5'7" and some of these guys are pretty big. Sometimes it gets a little scary."
Eric Himan will perform live and sign CDs tonight, December 18, at 7 p.m. at the HRC Store, 1629 Connecticut Avenue NW. Call 202-8621. Visit www.erichiman.com.