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Ed Askew is a painter and singer-songwriter who lives in New York City. Born in Stamford, Connecticut, he moved to New Haven to study painting at Yale Art School in 1963
After graduating from art school in 1966, Askew was called up for the draft. Not feeling particularly enthusiastic about going to war at age 26 (the Navy tried to convince him that he should apply for officer training!), he looked for a teaching job and found work at a private prep school in Connecticut. It was while teaching he started making songs; he also acquired his Martin Tiple (a 10 string lute-like instrument originally from Columbia) at this time. "I must have written 25 songs that semester; all of the material on Unicorn and possibly some stuff on Little Eyes."
The singer-songwriter moved to New York for a few months in 1967 where he met Bernard Stolman of ESP Disk' (Pearls Before Swine, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler), who offered him a contract. That year Ed's first album was released, Ask the Unicorn (on Parlophone in the UK) and it quickly disappeared into folk-psych obscurity
He then recorded his second album for ESP, Little Eyes, but it sat in the vaults for almost 40 years until it saw a limited release in 2007.
Around 1987, Ed moved to New York City, where he continues to write and record songs, and now regularly performs.
In the summer of 2011, Ed Askew embarked on his first US tour at the age of 71.
In support of the limited vinyl/ digital re-release of the 80's era cassette tape Imperfiction, Ed was accompanied on piano by Jay Pluck and travelled with tour mates, The Black Swans.
Two weeks later, as a result of the tour, it was decided that Jerry DeCicca of the Black Swans and producer of the final recordings of Larry Jon Wilson (Drag City/ 1965 Records), would assist Ed in making his first non-solo album.
Down the street from the Cotton Club, they spent a week in a West Harlem warehouse that September. Ed Askew was joined by Jay Pluck, two members of The Black Swans' Tyler Evans (banjo, tiple, electric guitar-- and now a permanent member of Ed's entourage), Canaan Faulkner (bass) and Eve Searls (backing vocals), along with Mary Lattimore (Meg Baird, Thurston Moore) on harp.
Down the road, electric guitar was added by fellow outsider Marc Ribot (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello) and backing vocals on 3 songs by super fan Sharon Van Etten.
The results of those sessions were to become the album For The World.