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Craig Bickhardt

Craig Bickhardt

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Craig Bickhardt is an American country music
Country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

 singer and songwriter. His musical career includes co-writing credits for The Judds
The Judds
The Judds were an American country music duo composed of Naomi Judd and her daughter, Wynonna Judd. Signed to RCA Records in 1983, the duo released six studio albums between then and 1991. One of the most successful acts in country music history, The Judds won five Grammy Awards for Best Country...

, Steve Wariner
Steve Wariner
Steven Noel "Steve" Wariner is an American country music singer, songwriter and guitarist. He has released eighteen studio albums, including six on MCA Records, and three each on RCA Records, Arista Records and Capitol Records...

, Kathy Mattea
Kathy Mattea
Kathleen Alice "Kathy" Mattea is an American country music and bluegrass performer who often brings folk, Celtic and traditional country sounds to her music. Active since 1983 as a recording artist, she has recorded seventeen albums and has charted more than thirty singles on the Billboard Hot...

 and others. He was also a member of S-K-B, formerly S-K-O, after Paul Overstreet
Paul Overstreet
Paul Lester Overstreet is an American country music singer and songwriter. He recorded 10 studio albums between 1982 and 2005, and charted 16 singles on the Billboard country charts, including two #1 hits...

 exited that band, and he has released three studio albums of his own.

Biography


Craig Bickhardt was born in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

. He performed as a local musician during his teenage years, including in a local band called Wire and Wood, which opened for Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen , nicknamed "The Boss," is an American singer-songwriter who records and tours with the E Street Band...

 and others. He moved to Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles , with a population at the 2010 United States Census of 3,792,621, is the most populous city in California, USA and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City. It has an area of , and is located in Southern California...

 in 1974, where he and Michael Sembello began writing songs, including some which were recorded by Art Garfunkel
Art Garfunkel
Arthur Ira "Art" Garfunkel is an American singer-songwriter, poet, and actor, best known as being a member of the folk duo Simon & Garfunkel...

. A re-established Wire and Wood later recorded for October Records, but never completed an album due to financial problems.

Bickhardt signed to a publishing contract with EMI in 1982. Among his first musical recordings were two songs for the soundtrack to the 1983 film Tender Mercies
Tender Mercies
Tender Mercies is a 1983 American drama film directed by Bruce Beresford. The screenplay by Horton Foote focuses on Mac Sledge, a recovering alcoholic country music singer who seeks to turn his life around through his relationship with a young widow and her son in rural Texas...

, one of which ("You Are What Love Means to Me") charted at #86 on the Billboard
Billboard (magazine)
Billboard is a weekly American magazine devoted to the music industry, and is one of the oldest trade magazines in the world. It maintains several internationally recognized music charts that track the most popular songs and albums in various categories on a weekly basis...

country singles chart. He also sang background vocals on Reba McEntire
Reba McEntire
Reba Nell McEntire is an American country music artist and actress. She began her career in the music industry as a high school student singing in the Kiowa High School band , on local radio shows with her siblings, and at rodeos. As a solo act, she was invited to perform at a rodeo in Oklahoma...

's 1984 album My Kind of Country. From there, he found work as a songwriter, with one of his first cuts being "That's How You Know When Love's Right
That's How You Know When Love's Right
"That's How You Know When Love's Right" is a single by American country music artists Nicolette Larson and Steve Wariner. It was released in May 1986 as the second single from Larson's album Rose of My Heart. The song peaked at number 9 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.-Chart performance:...

", which became a Top Ten country hit when Nicolette Larson
Nicolette Larson
Nicolette Larson was an American pop singer. She is perhaps best known for her work in the late 1970s with Neil Young, as well as her 1978 cover of Young's "Lotta Love". The song, her debut single, was a Number One Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks hit and #8 pop hit that year...

 and Steve Wariner
Steve Wariner
Steven Noel "Steve" Wariner is an American country music singer, songwriter and guitarist. He has released eighteen studio albums, including six on MCA Records, and three each on RCA Records, Arista Records and Capitol Records...

 recorded it as a duet. He also co-wrote "You're the Power" for Kathy Mattea
Kathy Mattea
Kathleen Alice "Kathy" Mattea is an American country music and bluegrass performer who often brings folk, Celtic and traditional country sounds to her music. Active since 1983 as a recording artist, she has recorded seventeen albums and has charted more than thirty singles on the Billboard Hot...

, as well as The Judds
The Judds
The Judds were an American country music duo composed of Naomi Judd and her daughter, Wynonna Judd. Signed to RCA Records in 1983, the duo released six studio albums between then and 1991. One of the most successful acts in country music history, The Judds won five Grammy Awards for Best Country...

' Number One hit "I Know Where I'm Going
I Know Where I'm Going (The Judds song)
"I Know Where I'm Going" is the title of a song written by Craig Bickhardt, Don Schlitz, and Brent Maher and recorded by American country music duo The Judds. The song was The Judds' ninth number one on the country chart. The single went to number one for one week and spent a total of thirteen...

", the latter a collaboration with Don Schlitz
Don Schlitz
Donald Alan "Don" Schlitz, Jr. is a country music songwriter. For his songwriting efforts, Schlitz has earned two Grammys, as well as four ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year awards...

 and Brent Maher. Bickhardt eventually moved to Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in Davidson County, in the north-central part of the state. The city is a center for the health care, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home...

.

After Paul Overstreet
Paul Overstreet
Paul Lester Overstreet is an American country music singer and songwriter. He recorded 10 studio albums between 1982 and 2005, and charted 16 singles on the Billboard country charts, including two #1 hits...

 departed the country music trio S-K-O
S-K-O
S-K-O, originally known as Schuyler, Knobloch and Overstreet, was an American country music group composed of Thom Schuyler, Fred Knobloch and Paul Overstreet. The original lineup recorded one album for MTM Records and charted three country hits, including the Number One "Baby's Got a New Baby"...

 (formerly Schuyler, Knobloch and Overstreet), Bickhardt was recruited to take Overstreet's place in the trio. As a result, the group was renamed S-K-B (Schuyler, Knobloch and Bickhardt). Bickhardt made his debut on the group's second and final album, 1987's No Easy Horses on MTM Records. This album contained several songs that he co-wrote, including two of its singles: "This Old House" and "Givers and Takers". S-K-B split up in 1989 after MTM closed.

Bickhardt continued to write songs for other artists throughout the 1980s, including "Turn It Loose
Turn It Loose
"Turn it Loose" is the title of a song written by Craig Bickhardt, Don Schlitz, and Brent Maher and recorded by American country music duo The Judds. The song was The Judds' eleventh number one country single. The single went to number one for one week and spent a total of twelve weeks on the...

", another Number One for The Judds. Other hits that he wrote in the 1980s included "If I Never See Midnight Again" by Sweethearts of the Rodeo
Sweethearts of the Rodeo
Sweethearts of the Rodeo is an American country music duo composed of sisters Janis Oliver and Kristine Oliver . The duo recorded for Columbia Records between 1986 and 1991, releasing four albums and twelve singles for the label. In the 1990s, they also recorded two albums for Sugar Hill Records...

 and "I Can't Turn the Tide" by Baillie & the Boys
Baillie & the Boys
Baillie & the Boys is an American country music group that gained prominence in the late 1980s. The band's original lineup consisted of Kathie Baillie , her husband, Michael Bonagura , and Alan LeBoeuf . Baillie & the Boys has recorded five studio albums and charted ten Top-40 singles on the U.S...

, the latter of which he co-wrote with lead singer Kathie Baillie and her husband Michael Bonagura.

In 1993, Bickhardt and Thom Schuyler
Thom Schuyler
Thom Schuyler is an American songwriter. Schuyler wrote songs recorded by more than 200 various artists including "16th Avenue" for Lacy J. Dalton, "Love Will Turn You Around" for Kenny Rogers, and "Long Line of Love" for Michael Martin Murphey.In 1983, Schuyler signed to Capitol Records and...

 (also formerly of S-K-O) recorded the Christmas music
Christmas music
Christmas music comprises a variety of genres of music normally performed or heard around the Christmas season, which tends to begin in the months leading up the actual holiday and end in the weeks shortly thereafter.-Early:...

 album Precious Child. Bickhardt also continued his songwriting, including hits for Stacy Dean Campbell
Stacy Dean Campbell
Stacy Dean Campbell is an American country singer-songwriter, author and TV host.Campbell's father was a gospel singer, though he was raised by his grandparents. Campbell moved to Nashville after his brother, Spencer, launched a professional career there. He became a songwriter for Tree Music, and...

, Martina McBride
Martina McBride
Martina McBride is an American country music singer and songwriter. McBride has been called the "Céline Dion of Country Music" for her big-voiced ballads and soprano range....

, Pam Tillis
Pam Tillis
Pamela Yvonne "Pam" Tillis is an American country music singer-songwriter and actress. She is the daughter of country music singer Mel Tillis....

, and The Kinleys
The Kinleys
The Kinleys was an American country music duo composed of identical twin sisters Heather and Jennifer Kinley, born November 5, 1970 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Between 1997 and 2000, they recorded two albums for the Epic Records label , also charting eight singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot...

. He also co-wrote for Great Plains
Great Plains (band)
Great Plains was a progressive country pop band that formed in 1987. The band comprised Jack Sundrud , Russ Pahl, Denny Dadmun-Bixby, Michael Young, and Lex Browning. In their career, they recorded two studio albums and had four singles enter the Billboard country charts...

, a band which included former Poco
Poco
Poco is an Southern California country rock band originally formed by Richie Furay and Jim Messina following the demise of Buffalo Springfield in 1968. The title of their first album, Pickin' Up the Pieces, is a reference to the break-up of Buffalo Springfield. Highly influential and creative,...

 member Jack Sundrud. Bickhardt and Sundrud co-wrote Ty Herndon
Ty Herndon
Boyd Tyrone "Ty" Herndon is an American country music and Christian singer. Signed to Epic Records in 1995, Herndon made his debut that year with the Number One single "What Mattered Most", followed by the release of his first album, also entitled What Mattered Most...

's 1998 Number One hit "It Must Be Love
It Must Be Love (Ty Herndon song)
"It Must Be Love" is a song written by Craig Bickhardt and Jack Sundrud. It was recorded and released in August 1998 by American country music singer Ty Herndon on his album Big Hopes, from which it was released as that album's second single in mid-1998...

" as well.

Bickhardt returned to recording in 2001 with his first solo album, Easy Fires, via Stone Barn Records. By 2006, he returned to his native Pennsylvania but continued to record. A duet album with Sundrud entitled Idlewheel was released that year, followed by Brother to the Wind in 2009. He won First Prize in the prestigious 4th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) in 2008 with his song "Sugarcane Street" in the Open category. He also hosted a songwriting workshop in association with the Nashville Songwriters Association International
Nashville Songwriters Association International
The Nashville Songwriters Association International is a 501 not-for-profit trade organization that works to help songwriters in three ways: through legislative advocacy, through education and advice about the actual craft of songwriting, and through teaching about the music industry, and how to...

.
On March 12, 2011, Craig Bickhardt appeared with J.D. Malone
J.D. Malone
John Dennis Maloney Jr. “J.D. Malone” is a singer and songwriter of life experiences. Born and raised in Bennington, Vermont USA.-Biography:J.D. Malone born in 1965, grew up in a small town of Bennington, Vermont, USA....

, Thom Schuyler, for a performance that included original music from all three artist. This tour was called "On The Road and In The Round."
Bickhardt lives in Franklin, Tennessee
Franklin, Tennessee
Franklin is a city within and the county seat of Williamson County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 62,487 as of the 2010 census Franklin is located approximately south of downtown Nashville.-History:...

. He has a wife, Eileen, and twin children, Aislinn and Jake.

Albums

  • Precious Child (with Thom Schuyler
    Thom Schuyler
    Thom Schuyler is an American songwriter. Schuyler wrote songs recorded by more than 200 various artists including "16th Avenue" for Lacy J. Dalton, "Love Will Turn You Around" for Kenny Rogers, and "Long Line of Love" for Michael Martin Murphey.In 1983, Schuyler signed to Capitol Records and...

    ) (1993)
  • Easy Fires (2001)
  • Idlewheel (2006)
  • Brother to the Wind (2009)

Singles

Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country
Hot Country Songs
Hot Country Songs is a chart published weekly by Billboard magazine in the United States.This 60-position chart lists the most popular country music songs, calculated weekly mostly by airplay and occasionally commercial sales...

1984 "You Are What Love Means to Me" 86 Tender Mercies soundtrack

External links