Growing up in Vienna, graduating from Marshall High School, Ethan Schaefer has wanted to be a musician ever since he can remember.
And he had a pretty good role model for his career, being that his dad is none other than Robbie Schaefer of the popular folk-rock band Eddie From Ohio.
“He’s been a musician his whole life, so I grew up going to his concerts and music has always been a big part of my life,” Schaefer said. “The real kicker for me is when my dad came out with a children’s album when I was 6, and he decided he would bring me and my little brother Owen up on stage with him to sing at his kid concerts.”
The thrill of that experience catapulted his desire and he started writing and playing music when he was a teen.
“My dad got me a guitar when I was 7 years old, and I don’t think I’ve stopped playing since,” Schaefer said.
The younger Schaefer has been studying music and business at the University of Colorado since 2017, but the pandemic meant learning from home this semester, so he’s been back in Vienna, writing and playing music in the same room where his love for music first developed.
“I’ve been back at my parents’ house, hanging out with the family,” he said. “I’ve been here my whole life and have my whole family here so I love being back.”
On Dec. 20, Schaefer will play a socially distant concert at Jammin Java, one of the first venues he ever played, and where he first played songs off his debut album, “Lost Lover Found.”
He shared the songs on the album were inspired by artists such as Paul Simon, Ed Sheeran and of course, his father.
“When I went to Colorado, I didn’t know quite what I was looking for and somewhere along the way, I met a friend named Nick Haynes, and he ended up producing my album and we made it in his dorm room,” Schaefer said. “We met very naturally as freshman, and we started playing music together and he helped push me to go to that next step.”
Over the past two years, Schaefer has looked to branch out musically a bit, as his first album was all love songs and the stuff he’s been writing lately has explored new topics. Plus, he’s been writing in different styles, in keys he hasn’t written in before and expanding his guitar skills.
He’s hoping to perform some of these new tunes when he hits the stage at Jammin Java.
“I’m very anxious to play in front of people,” he said. “I have all these new cover songs, new techniques I want to use on stage and new songs I want to play. My show will probably be 50/50 between new songs and covers. A lot of my set ends up being a lot of my dad’s songs as well. I’ve really been looking for songs that draw me into the song. I’m super, super excited to get out and show what I’ve been working on.”
Robbie Schaefer has helped his son a great deal as well by offering advice and guidance along the way.
“It’s been a pleasure to hear his side of things; he’s been able to help me cut through the bull,” Schaefer said. “Eddie From Ohio operated as an independent band and they all have jobs, and he served as the booking agent, so he was really able to give me some of those connections and tell me the right people to reach out to, but helped me understand that people aren’t going to just call you and ask you to play, you have to be active in that process.”
Of course, he had a huge influence musically as well.
“The people coming to my shows always tell me they can hear my dad’s influence,” Schaefer said. “Looking at my Spotify list from this year, my top two artists have been Eddie From Ohio and Robbie Schaefer. I don’t take it lightly that I have that major influence in my life.”