Too Sick Charlie may call Wisconsin home but his music is deeply rooted in the blues of the north Mississippi Hill country. With his cigar box guitars he picks out hip-grinding licks and lays down some solid beats with his suitcase drum and tambourine snare. It’s a sound and playing style that is deceptively larger than it seems.

Too Sick is Too Sick: Gut bucket guitar, blues, and smooth, high-livin' honey in a whiskey jar for pipes. ”

— Lynnea and Ted Lauffer, Owners, Gray Dog Deli

You've got a blues act that sends me straight down South. Inspired swamp slide sounds. Ryan McGrath, The Ryan McGrath Band”
OMG is this guy is good!  Epic night of Blues Music... ”

— Tony Koenk, Owner, Brix 340


Eric Heiligenstein, M.D.


Project Name

SHORT BIO:Too Sick Charlie (Eric Heiligenstein, M.D.) plays the cigar box guitar, a once forgotten instrument of American blues and roots music. His music has been described as traditional Upper Midwestern cigar box guitar blues.

LONG BIO: Too Sick was born in a Nassau blue Chevy Bel Air that was being used as a beagle pen on the outskirts of Belleville, Illinois. He performed on the Mississippi River Medicine Show Circuit for several years before transitioning into a practice of medicine. After developing various snake oil cures for ailments that proved unfounded (but very, very profitable) he made his way to Madison, Wisconsin where he lives a quiet, ascetic life of medical study, song writing and robustly varied acquiescence to almost constant temptation.

PRESS BIO: Too Sick Charlie’s distinctive blend of regional blues music is like a slow-cooked gumbo on a late summer evening; deep, flavorful, satisfying. Too Sick’s live performances combine gut-bucket slide on cigar box guitars and compelling stories that make his shows captivating. A performance from Too Sick Charlie is truly “good for what ails ya!"

Too Sick Charlie is currently booking shows & festivals for 2019 and beyond. 

Too Sick recently played at the Chicago Cigar Box Festival in Brewyn, Illinois. He played alongside Johnny Lowebow, A.J. Gather, Gabe Carter, Travis Bowlin, Glen Kaiser, John Nickel, and Stacey Puckett.

Press Photos