The music of Eric Madis, rooted in blues, jazz and American folk styles, has appeared on film, television, radio and his five Luna Records CDs. Eric has worked and recorded with many artists, including blues greats Robben Ford and Big Walter Horton, Hawaii's iconic Farden Family, jazz ukulele virtuoso Bill Tapia, swing violinist Paul Anastasio and poet Nicki Grimes. He was a Kerrville Festival and Seattle Guitar Starz finalist and the recipient of 27 award nominations from Washington Blues Society and Northwest Area Music Association.  Eric is also a renown guitar instructor, having taught throughout the US, Canada and online with over 150 videos.



Eric Madis is a Pacific Northwest guitarist-singer-composer and known for blues, jazz, rock and country, and for his original instrumental compositions that defy categorization and combine blues structure and harmony with diverse musical influences. He has performed with a wide range of recording artists, including blues legends Robben Ford and Big Walter Horton, jazz violinists Paul Anastasio and Julian Smedley, jazz ukulele legend Bill Tapia, Hawaii’s iconic Farden Family and poet Nikki Grimes.  He is also a renown guitar instructor.  

Eric was born in 1953 in Connecticut’s Naugatuck Valley, but raised on a small ranch in rural central Colorado. He grew up surrounded by music, from his father’s cowboy records to his mother’s opera and Broadway shows to his sister’s folk music. His mother, an opera singer with Denver’s Capitol Opera Company, sent Eric for piano lessons at the age of 9, but he took up the guitar at 10 years of age after hearing guitarist Grady Martin on a Marty Robbins record. Later that year he performed for hundreds of youths at a Denver theatre. When he was 12, he and his friend Steve Simmons formed the Phynx of Babylon, a quartet that played the music of the Byrds and sixties folk-rock.

Eric's family moved to Chicago in 1969, where he began performing in coffeehouses and later blues clubs. There he learned from watching and knowing many blues artists, including Willie Dixon, Otis Rush, Luther Allison, Sunnyland Slim, Big Walter Horton and many more. This was a period of great musical growth for Eric, who immersed himself in blues, jazz, classical, country and the emerging progressive rock of the day, always seeking out music with instrumental and compositional integrity.  While at the University of Illinois, Eric became acquainted with professor and classical piano virtuoso Robert Ray while taking the latter's Afro-American Music class.  Discovering that Eric had a special interest and encyclopedic knowledge about blues, ragtime and jazz and was a talented guitarist, Ray not only had Eric play in his gospel group, but would invite Eric to visit his class as a guest artist to play acoustic blues and share his knowledge of blues history.   After graduating from University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, Eric pursued a musical career as a solo artist and playing with Open Road, Madis-Johnson Band, Pat Burton and Illinois senior fiddle champion Halbert Thornberry.  He also worked as a luthier and guitar instructor at Rosewood Guitar Shop in Champaign, IL.

Eric lived in Dallas 1979-1981, finding work in that city's rich recording scene as a session guitarist.  He also worked as a guitarist and rhythm section arranger at Sound Productions in Longview, a studio dedicated to black gospel music.  Eric also performed with blues organist Deacon Jones, guitarist Craig Wallace and harmonica designer/player Kitt Gamble and was a 1981 Kerrville Festival New Folk finalist. Eric returned to Denver from 1981 to 1984, playing with Ukiah and Don't Go No Further, doing an extended solo acoustic engagement at Mercury Cafe and teaching blues guitar at Denver Free University.

Eric relocated to Seattle in 1984, working as a solo artist and leading blues and jazz groups, including the BluesCast, Blue Madness and the Eric Madis Trio.  Over his Seattle years, he has performed and/or recorded with many Northwest artists and groups, including Seattle Swing Trio, Elliott Bay Trio, Smokestack Lightin', Runaway Train, Swingmatism, Steve Bailey, Little Bill Englehart, Grant Dermody, Paul Green, Mark Dufresne, Mike Lynch, Paul Anastasio, Julian Smedley, Pete Martin, Taylor Jay, Orville Johnson, Dr. Slide, Ryan Burns, and Steve Luceno. He has opened concerts for Robben Ford & the Blue Line, James Cotton, Little Charlie & the Nightcats, Mem Shannon, Hawkeye Herman and author Sherman Alexie.  

Eric continued teaching guitar classes and workshops for University of Washington's Experimental College, National Guitar Workshop, Canada's Guitar Workshop Plus, Northwest Folklife, Dusty Strings Music School and (TrueFire), with whom he has three online guitar courses with over 140 instructional videos.

Eric's music has appeared on film soundtracks, television, radio and daily airplay at SeaTac International Airport. His five CDs have garnered excellent reviews, nominations from NAMA and Washington Blues Society (WBS) and heavy airplay rotation at KBCS-FM. He has received 26 Best Blues nominations from WBS, is the only Seattle blues musician featured in the Northwest Folklife catalog, was featured in KPLU-FM’s (Jazz Northwest) Best of the Blues series and was a finalist in Guitar World’s 1991 Seattle Guitar Starz competition.