Howie Epstein | Early Tracks Volume 1

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Country: Country Rock Rock: 70's Rock Moods: Type: Live Recordings
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Early Tracks Volume 1

by Howie Epstein

Recorded in Howie\'s bedroom in the early 70\'s, these songs reflect the roots of Howie\'s raw talent. Hear it and you\'ll hear the voice that was for years hidden in the background.
Genre: Country: Country Rock
Release Date: 

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artist name
1. Life On the Moon HOWIE EPSTEIN
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3. Grand Hotel HOWIE EPSTEIN
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4. Transition HOWIE EPSTEIN
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3:32 $0.99
5. Simple Conversations HOWIE EPSTEIN
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6. Nobody Knows HOWIE EPSTEIN
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7. She Don\'t Come Around Here HOWIE EPSTEIN
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9. Motorheaded Woman HOWIE EPSTEIN
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10. Mary At the End of the World HOWIE EPSTEIN
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11. Thunderbird HOWIE EPSTEIN
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12. Honest Deal HOWIE EPSTEIN
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13. Francis Street HOWIE EPSTEIN
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14. Fidelity HOWIE EPSTEIN
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Album Notes
Long before he was a member of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers -- decades before he collaborated with Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, John Prine and Roy Orbison – Howie Epstein was upstairs at his parents’ home in Milwaukee, earnestly crafting his own substantial catalog of original songs. This CD features his earliest efforts, recorded with a pair of pocket-sized cassette decks perched on the foot of a bed. And while the technical sophistication of this material cannot compare to Howie’s later work as a Grammy-winning musician/producer, these tracks are proudly presented -- unenhanced -- as a rare glimpse at the nascent spirit that propelled his extraordinary Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame career. Indeed, this is how it all got started.


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David Luhrssen - Express Milwaukee

Howie Epstein
Before his death in 2003, Howie Epstein played in bands with John Hiatt and Tom Petty and on recordings by Bob Dylan, John Prine and many others. He has a pre-history few people remember. Before leaving Milwaukee in the mid-'70s, Epstein sharpened his skills with local groups such as The Craze and Forearm Smash. He aspired to be a songwriter.

Early Tracks sounds pretty good for a bedroom session back in the years when digital recording was science fiction. With their echoes of The Raspberries, Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry, these melodic demos show Epstein working in the style that would soon be dubbed "power pop" and be deeply indebted to the classic verities of the most tuneful rock 'n' roll of previous decades.

Tom Petty

Musician Magazine
"You gotta love him...I don’t know if I ever told him how good he was."

John Prine

"Howie Epstein was a kind, patient, and extremely talented musician. He took two years out of his life and dedicated his undivided attention to the making of two of my records. Those records changed my life thanks to Howie."

Dave Tianen - Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Review for Howie Epstein
The late *Howie Epstein *grew up in Milwaukee and went on to fame as the bassist in Tom Petty's Heartbreakers.

Now an album of his pre-Heartbreakers home recordings is being released as a limited-edition CD.

The songs were cut on a pair of cassette recorders in his parents' home.

Jim Abbott of the Orlando Sentinel described the songs as "really wonderful, ranging from country-tinged ballads to tuneful rock songs."

Patrick Snow

I knew Howie Epstein had talent by his work with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, but I didn't realize in fact HOW MUCH! This is an incredible album...really raw, but absolutely amazing nonetheless! A must for fans of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, or just Howie Epstein alone!

Mark Brown -- Rocky Mountain News

A taste of the late Epstein
The late Howie Epstein worked with the greats of rock 'n' roll - John Hiatt, Bob Dylan, John Prine, Johnny Cash and most notably as the bass player in Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - but never released any music of his own.

After his tragic death due to drug use in 2003, his brother Craig decided it was time for the world to hear it - everything from the demos Epstein recorded in his bedroom at age 16 to the more polished studio stuff from his later years.

The first installment is out. Looking like a bootleg, Early Tracks has a scruffy charm to it, with Epstein often playing all the instruments as he fleshed out pop-and-folk inspired tunes, many surprisingly mature for his tender age.

The plan is three installments: this collection of early years, a disc of cover songs, and a third disc of songs found in Epstein's Los Angeles studio after he died.

Grand Hotel shows an early sense of melody that became a hallmark of Epstein's work, with a loping bass line sounding like John Wesley Harding-era Dylan. The brooding Francis Street is a low-key ballad moving toward Byrds territory, which made it a no-brainer when Petty pinched Epstein from Del Shannon's band when the Heartbreakers needed a new bass player.

Fans who like what they hear can get a view of what's coming up later in the series. Sadly, someone ransacked Epstein's studio near Santa Fe after his death, so a wealth of music there is gone. The tapes of his most recent songs need extensive restoration before they can be played, so that project remains down the road.

Anyone looking for a taste of his cover songs, however, can go to Epstein's MySpace page, where the music streaming includes a lovely version of Hiatt's She Don't Love Nobody.

Early Tracks is available on CD through and can be downloaded there and on iTunes.

Howie Epstein: Early Tracks, Vol. 1
Grade: B+