Lael moved to Nashville, TN in 2015. Since moving here with is wife, Amanda, they’ve added to the family with son Kairie. Since the move he’s played with the legendary country icon Tanya Tucker, as well as Reverie Lane and R.J. Ronquillo. However, Lael has spent most of his time as the drummer and backing vocalist to the insanely talented Jake Clayton!
Lael’s passion for drums began because of his father. Larry Eccard played drumset with several high school and college groups, but is a great rudimentary snare player. He took these talents and played with the Texas Aggie Band as well as the Davis Demon Drum Core, whom were based out of Circleville, Ohio where Larry grew up with his high school sweetheart, and wife of over 50 years, Linda Benzenberg Eccard. Linda played flute through high school, but developed into a passionate and beautiful singer that continues to stay busy in several community choirs. Laurie Ellerman, Lael’s sister is also very musical. She very much followed her mothers footsteps by starting in flute an also developing into an incredible singer that also continues to stay busy with community choirs. The entire Eccard family is very musical, yet it was Laels Dad ,who’s love of and history with the instrument, planted the seed that continues to grow in Lael. Lael often sites a grade school assembly, where his dad played a snare etude called “The Downfall of Paris”, as being the turning point and moment where he knew music was his calling…and he’s never looked back!
Lael grew up in the seacoast of NH and started his training at about age 11 by joining both his grade school jazz band and orchestra. He soon began private lessons with an instructor whose roots were deep in jazz. It was also about this time he learned of his love for singing after joining the school choir. Drum, percussion and vocal groups filled his days from grade school into high school. It was during high school that he auditioned for both All State choir and jazz band 3 years in a row, was accepted each time and given an honors chair twice. He also attended a Jazz Camp at the University of New Hampshire during 3 summers. He continued his education at Eastern New Mexico University. All in all, during his primary, secondary and post-graduate schooling, Lael took part in multitude of groups including, but not limited to: Marching bands, orchestras, jazz big bands, jazz combos, percussion ensembles, choirs, jazz choirs, chamber choirs, rock bands, funk bands, jam bands, blues bands and several musical theater productions. . There was no doubt that music was his life’s calling.
While enrolled in the Music Performance Degree, at ENMU, Lael began playing regularly with a group who’s musical styles varied greatly, which is how he’s approached music ever since. After completing three years at ENMU, Lael decided to return to his then home town of North Hampton, New Hampshire to pursue his professional career. Over the next 13 years, starting in 1997, Lael would play around the country in a variety of different bands whose styles included country, blues, rock, jazz, folk, reggae and one of his favorite genres, jam bands.
However, after thousands of gigs, Lael was looking for the next step. He felt his playing and career had reached a plateau. It was in late 2010 that he made the decision to go back to school and further his knowledge of drums, percussion and singing at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA. During this time he recorded full length album with Byzantium (a folk group) and Jimmy Jax Pinchak Band (a blues/rock guitarist and actor) and, after graduation, legendary Pete Anderson’s “Live at The Moose”, with whom toured the country and played 2 weekly residencies while living in LA. He also started his private lesson business in 2011 while in school. Lael graduated from MI with an accredited music degree in March of 2013.
Lael, his wife Amanda, and son Kairie, now live in the Nashville area, where he continues to teach and play. During the summer of 2018 Lael had been working for about a year ‘rebooting’ his private instruction business. Countless hours at his instrument, in his studio, behind a computer, pushing pencil to staff papers and development of a tiered, goal oriented, song and performance based music program in 3 disciplines had finally been born. Drums, Percussion and Voice! The relaunch and rebrand became DPV Music Lessons and his logo, designed by his cousin Hank Benzenberg, completes the transformation! A culmination of 25 plus years in the music business has given Lael his next calling: Passing along the knowledge he’s gained to all ages, but specifically KIDS!
“I love kids. I realized this only after having Kairie. It really changed me in more ways than I can keep track. I never thought I’d be a dad, and it’s by far the best stage I’ve ever stepped foot on!”
ON HIS TIME WITH PETE ANDERSON:
Lael played for Grammy award winning guitarist/producer Pete Anderson (Dwight Yoakum, Lucinda Williams, k.d. Lang & Roy Orbison, Tanya Tucker, The Meat Puppets and more) from 2013-2015 when they toured both nationally and internationally. “Pete was such a mentor to me”, Lael says. “It’s was an honor to play with such a country/blues legend! His music was inspiring and an absolute joy to play. Super roots’y blues/swing with the with a taste New Orleans here and there. Classic Americana stuff, but done only as he can!” In December of 2015 Pete released “Live at The Moose”, a live album Lael recorded with Pete a year prior which included keyboardist Luke Miller.
Lael was also Pete’s go to drummer for sessions at his studio. Most notable is his work with Heather Ballentine, who’s sexy country/swing and 50’s rockabilly songwriting is matched by her classic ‘pin-up girl’ look and an captivating stage presence.