Guitar Week Staff - July 30-August 5, 2017
Peppino D’Agostino emerged on the musical scene in the late 1980’s and helped redefine the boundaries of the acoustic guitar. His virtuosic technique, penchant for open tunings, and percussive effects are the basis of his unique compositional style. He has performed in more than 26 countries; been featured at prestigious international music festivals in Montreal, Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Ravello; and performed in world-renowned venues such as the Kölner Philharmonie in Cologne, Germany, the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, and the Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall in Istanbul. He frequently plays with such prominent artists as Tommy Emmanuel, Leo Kottke, Martin Taylor, and Eric Johnson. With 18 recordings to his credit, he has been hailed as “a guitarist’s guitarist” by Acoustic Guitar magazine and “a giant of the acoustic guitar” by the San Diego Reader. D’Agostino was voted “Best Acoustic Guitarist” by Guitar Player magazine readers in 2007, and his album, Every Step of the Way was named one of the top three acoustic guitar albums of all time by Acoustic Guitar readers in 2008. In addition to performing, Peppino also makes time for teaching. He meets with individual students as well as providing group instruction and vacation learning packages like the Acoustic Guitar Cruises or Creative Vacances in La Moreau, France and online instructional videos for the company, Truefire.
Guitar Player magazine’s 2008 “Guitar Superstar,” Vicki Genfan defies categorization. A unique and fiercely original musical talent, she has been called the ‘Jimi Hendrix of acoustic guitar.’ “While others make noise with tapping stylings, Genfan understands the power of melody and instead makes music.” – Kirk Albrecht, www.minor7th.com. Drawing from folk, jazz, pop, soul and world music, Vicki has a distinctive style that pushes the boundaries of the singer/songwriter genre. An international phenomena, Vicki has lit up stages in venues as diverse as the International Montreal Jazz Festival, Germany’s Open String Festival, Italy’s Soave Guitar Festival and Festival Across Styles in the Czech Republic. She has four CDs to her credit and five instructional DVDs, and in 2009 Luna Guitars unveiled the Vicki Genfan Signature Guitar built by Luthier Gray Burchette. Vicki has enjoyed teaching privately and in groups for over 25 years and brings her warmth, humor and inspiration to all who have experienced her many workshops, clinics and classes. And... she’s thrilled to be back at Swannanoa for the 2017 season! “If I could play like Vicki, I would stay home and entertain myself.” – Steve Vai
Sean McGowan is a fingerstyle jazz guitarist who combines many diverse musical influences with unconventional techniques to create a broad palette of textures within his compositions and arrangements for solo guitar. His first recording, River Coffee, won the Best Independent Release of the Year Award (2002) from Acoustic Guitar magazine and music from the recording has been published in Japan’s Acoustic Guitar magazine and Mel Bay’s Master Anthology of Fingerstyle Guitar, Vol. 3. His subsequent recordings, Indigo, and Sphere: the Music of Thelonious Monk offer compelling portraits of jazz standards performed on solo electric archtop guitar. Sphere was named one of Acoustic Guitar magazine’s “Essential Albums of 2011”, and Sean was featured on the Summer 2012 cover of Fingerstyle 360 magazine. His most recent recordings include Thanksgiving & Christmas Tidings, a collection of seasonal hymns and carols arranged for solo guitar, and My Fair Lady, a collection of songs from Lerner & Loewe’s masterpiece. As a soloist, Sean has performed at several festivals including the Novi Sad International Jazz Festival in Serbia, the Healdsburg Guitar Festival in Napa Valley, Copper Mountain Guitar Town, the Newport Guitar Festival, and the Chet Atkins CAAS Convention. He has also collaborated with several dance and improv companies, as well as with jazz and acoustic musicians throughout the Rocky Mountain region. Sean is an avid arts educator and currently serves as an Associate Professor of Music and the Guitar Program Director at the University of Colorado, Denver. He earned a DMA in Guitar Performance from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and conducts workshops at colleges throughout the country. As a strong advocate for injury prevention and health education for musicians, his workshops incorporate a holistic approach to playing. He is also a contributing editor and educational advisor for Acoustic Guitar magazine, and the author of the Stringletter book/DVD instructional projects, Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Essentials and Holiday Songs for Fingerstyle.
Seattle-based guitarist and composer Greg Ruby plays diverse styles of vintage jazz. Described as “truly hot jazz” by Vintage Guitar magazine, his CD, Look Both Ways, celebrated the 100th birthday of gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt with 12 original compositions, and reached #1 on the Roots Music Review’s jazz chart. Greg leads The Greg Ruby Quartet, a Hot Club jazz group dedicated to all-original compositions. He collaborates with New York and New Orleans musicians in The Rhythm Runners, a Prohibition-era dance band, and plays Valse musette and European café jazz with Bric-a-brac Trio. A former member of the group, Pearl Django, Greg has toured throughout the United States, Canada and Europe and appeared with the group at the prestigious Django Reinhardt Festival in Samois sur Seine, France. As founding member of Hot Club Sandwich, Greg can be heard on all four of the band’s recordings and produced their 2010 release, And If Only, featuring legendary vocalist Dan Hicks. Greg’s compositions have been heard on television and documentaries including NBC’s Parks and Recreation. He’s published the Pearl Django Play-Along Book Vol.1 through Djangobooks.com and recently completed a play-along CD/book on the swing guitar mastery of Oscar Aleman.
Pat is one of the most listened-to fingerpickers in the world. As songwriter and guitarist for Guy’s All Star Shoe Band on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion, for twenty years Pat got to show off his savvy licks and distinctive original songs to millions of listeners each week. He now tours nationwide, conducts guitar workshops and teaches at such popular music camps as the Augusta Heritage Center, the Swannanoa Gathering and Puget Sound Guitar Camp. Pat’s musical tastes are eclectic. Though he considers himself a folk guitarist, Pat’s influences are rooted in bluesmen Blind Blake, Robert Johnson, Duke Ellington, Muddy Waters and Miles Davis. Pat manages to blend jazz and blues with folk, and he has captivated audiences with his unique original compositions, dazzling instrumentals and humorous song parodies, including “SushiYucki” and “Would You Like to Play the Guitar?” Honors include a 2005 Grammy for his participation on Pink Guitar, a compilation of Henry Mancini tunes on acoustic guitar, several Minnesota Music Awards, and a National Finger Picking Guitar Championship. His original tunes have been recorded by Chet Atkins, Suzy Bogguss and Kenny Rogers. Pat has also been a featured performer at major music festivals including the Newport, Telluride and Philadelphia Folk Festivals . The Martin Guitar Company recently introduced a Pat Donohue Signature Edition Series OM30DB guitar designed to his specifications.
Our Guitar Week Coordinator, Al Petteway is a recipient of The Swannanoa Gathering’s Master Music Maker Award and is a Grammy and Indie Award-winning guitarist who has performed, toured and recorded with many of acoustic music’s best-known artists including Jethro Burns, Peter Rowan, Jonathan Edwards, Tom Paxton, Debi Smith, Cheryl Wheeler, Bonnie Rideout, Maggie Sansone and many more. In addition, he was an on-call backup musician at The Birchmere Music Hall in Alexandria, VA for many years and a session musician at Bias Recordings. Al’s compositions and arrangements for acoustic fingerstyle guitar are strongly influenced by his love of Celtic, Appalachian, folk, and blues styles. His music is featured on dozens of CDs and on the soundtracks of documentaries by filmmaker Ken Burns, most notably the Emmy-winning PBS series, The National Parks-America’s Best Idea. Al was voted one of the “Top Fifty Acoustic Guitarists of All Time” by the readers of Acoustic Guitar magazine where he also won Silver and Bronze medals for Celtic and Fingerstyle guitar in the magazine’s Player’s Choice Awards. To date, Al has released ten solo albums and nine duo albums with his wife Amy White. His album A Scottish Christmas with Bonnie Rideout and Maggie Sansone continues to be a best-selling holiday album.
Guitar phenomenon Clive Carroll’s masterful compositions, coupled with his versatility and unparalleled technical virtuosity, have rendered him one of today’s most admired and respected guitarists. He earned a 1st Class Honours Degree in Composition and Guitar from the famed Trinity College of Music in London, all the while balancing his classical work with forays into the world of the steel-string guitar. A chance meeting with the late John Renbourn changed the course of Clive’s musical career and the two toured the U.K. and North America together, with Renbourn encouraging Clive to release his first solo album in 2000. Since then, he has gone from strength to strength, touring solo around the world and alongside lauded guitarist Tommy Emmanuel. Clive has also composed music for major films and has been awarded an array of awards and accolades, such as inclusion in Total Guitar magazine’s “Top 10 Acoustic Guitarists of All Time”. Clive’s newest CD, The Furthest Tree, is already being hailed as some of his finest work to date.
An internationally-known and award-winning guitarist, singer/songwriter and teacher, Mary Flower continues to please crowds and critics at folk festivals and concert stages at home and abroad, including Merlefest, Kerrville, King Biscuit, A Prairie Home Companion and the Vancouver Folk Festival, among others. A two-time finalist at the National Fingerpicking Guitar Championships, a three-time nominee in for a Blues Music Award by the Blues Foundation, Flower embodies a luscious and lusty mix of rootsy, acoustic-blues guitar and vocal styles that span a number of idioms – from Piedmont to the Mississippi Delta, with stops in ragtime, swing, folk and hot jazz. Flower has recorded seven instructional DVDs and eleven CDs, including her last four for Memphis’ famed Yellow Dog Records. She shows a deep command of and love for blues and ragtime string music that is never about re-creation. Her dedication to the art form is a vital contribution to America’s music After five decades of teaching experience, Mary continues be in demand at such camps as Fur Peace Ranch, Augusta Heritage Center and Centrum Blues to name a few, as well as being artistic director at her own guitar camp, Blues in the Gorge. www.maryflower.com
Gerald Ross is comfortable with just about every type of “roots” music there is, from western swing, bluegrass, Hawaiian, blues, jug band music, jazz standards, Tin Pan Alley, New Orleans rhythms to boogie-woogie, and he plays it all on guitar, lap steel, Dobro and ukulele. He’s performed in concert with Bonnie Raitt, Arlo Guthrie, Doc Watson, Johnny Gimble, Riders In The Sky, Brownie McGhee and many others. Gerald won the Solo Artist Category of the 1993 WEMU Jazz Competition and has appeared many times on A Prairie Home Companion. These days, Gerald is one of America’s best-known performers, entertainers and advocates for the ukulele. He’s released six ukulele CDs, published instructional materials, and is very much in demand as a music festival instructor.
From bottleneck blues to classic swing, Mike Dowling is versatile, masterful, and difficult to pigeonhole. When the late, great Vassar Clements heard him play guitar back in 1975 he did the sensible thing. He hired him. Mike was the guitarist in Vassar’s first touring band and Clements called him simply, “One of the finest guitarists there is, anywhere.” Before embarking on a solo performance and teaching career, Mike also worked and recorded with mandolinist Jethro Burns and jazz great Joe Venuti. Since 1996, Mike has made his home in northwestern Wyoming where he and his wife started Wind River Guitar and began to host students who travel from around the world for the opportunity to study with Mike. His instructional material is available from Homespun Tapes and Acoustic Music Resource. Mike is an authorized ambassador for National Reso-phonic Guitars and shares a Grammy with ten of his fingerpicking peers for their solo acoustic arrangements of Henry Mancini tunes.
When Patrick Landeza became the first mainland-based artist to win the Nã Hōkū Hanohano award in 2013, he told the audience that “being born and raised on the mainland never made me any less Hawaiian.” Having initially learned slack-key from family, Landeza later apprenticed with slack-key legend Raymond Kāne and was mentored by slack-key masters Cyril Pahinui, George Kuo, and Dennis Kamakahi. Landeza is a well respected slack-key instructor and has taught in classes and music camps nationwide, as well as having lessons published in Acoustic Guitar magazine. After successful forays into radio, catering, and concert production, Landeza is beginning to focus his attention on future generations. He authored a children’s book, Danny’s Hawaiian Journey, and has partnered with Kala Ukulele to provide cultural education through ukulele lessons in grade school classes. Landeza’s efforts and enthusiasm have not gone unrecognized. Aside from the Nā Hōkū Hanohano award, he also became the youngest recipient of the Kapalakiko Aloha Spirit award at the age of 34. In 2011, he won the Hawaiian Music Award, and in 2012 he shared his music and aloha spirit with an audience at Carnegie Hall. In 2017, Patrick will be releasing his latest slack-key offering Ho`oman`o (to remember) along with his book, From the Island of Berkeley, CA and ending the year with his film documentary entitled Aloha Everywhere: The Story of Patrick Landeza, telling the story of his journey and discovery of cultural identity through slack-key guitar and Hawaiian music. Landeza also has a successful clothing line called “Aloha Everywhere,” a fruit jam company, Kanikapila Jams, and a jewelry line, Patrick Landeza Designs’ hand crafted earrings and bracelets. Patrick is in his 19th year in education and teaches at Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward, CA.
One of digitaldreamdoor.com’s Top 100 Acoustic Guitarists, Steve is a Rounder Records recording artist and a pioneering Celtic and old-time fingerstyle guitarist and banjo player. Steve produced and plays on the landmark Banjo Gathering double CD, which was recently described by Bluegrass Unlimited as “a momentous undertaking and a ‘must’ addition to any serious collection of old-time music.” He is the author of five guitar books by Mel Bay Publications, a DVD on clawhammer technique called The Power of Claw, and appears on the Rounder Records Celtic Fingerstyle Guitar series. Several of Steve’s albums have made the yearly “Editor’s Pick” list at Acoustic Guitar magazine. One recent project is a DVD called Zen Banjo, produced with Rev. Heng Sure, Director of the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery, who will be assisting Steve in his “Music, Meditation & Performance” class.
Hailed as a “Celtic guitar god” by the Baltimore City Paper and a recipient of the Swannanoa Gathering’s Master Master Music Maker award, Robin Bullock’s virtuosity on guitar, cittern and mandolin blends the ancient melodies of the Celtic lands, their vigorous Appalachian descendants, and the timeless masterworks of the Baroque and Renaissance eras into one powerful musical vision. Robin’s honors also include “Editor’s Pick” and “Player’s Choice” Awards from Acoustic Guitar magazine, the Association for Independent Music’s prestigious INDIE Award (with the world-music trio Helicon), multiple Washington Area Music Association WAMMIE Awards, a Governor’s Award from the Maryland State Arts Council, and a bronze medal at the National Mandolin Championships in Winfield, Kansas. He maintains a busy international touring schedule, performing solo, in Celtic duos with guitarist Steve Baughman and Irish singer Aoife Clancy, and as sideman with Grammy Award-winning folk legend Tom Paxton, including Tom’s 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2015 “Together at Last” tours with fellow Grammy winner Janis Ian. Robin’s fifteen solo and collaborative CDs include his most recent, volume one of the first-ever complete recording of the Bach Cello Suites on solo mandolin, and 2016’s The Carolan Collection, a compilation of the legendary Irish bard’s compositions, sales of which benefit North Carolina animal rescue organizations and raised over $8000 for the cause in the CD’s first year of release. 2017 marks the twenty-second consecutive Swannanoa Gathering for Robin, now a proud resident of nearby Black Mountain.
Grammy-nominated acoustic guitarist and composer Russ Barenberg is known for his melodic playing, beautiful tone and memorable instrumental compositions. Long at the creative forefront of the acoustic music scene, he has collaborated with many of its finest artists, including Alison Krauss, James Taylor, Jerry Douglas, Edgar Meyer, Bela Fleck, Emmy Lou Harris, Maura O’Connell, Jesse Winchester and Tim O’Brien. Russ’s most recent album, When At Last, earned Russ a Grammy nomination for Best Country Instrumental Performance and was nominated for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Instrumental Album of the Year. Russ has also recorded with legendary jazz bassist Charlie Haden and with actor and Grammy-winning banjo player, Steve Martin. His playing has graced numerous film soundtracks, most notably Ken Burns’ documentary, The Civil War and the 2010 release, Get Low, starring Robert Duvall and Bill Murray. Since 1995, he has been a member of the house band as well as a featured performer on the acclaimed BBC television programs, The Transatlantic Sessions, which feature collaborative performances by top musicians from America and the British Isles.
Scott Ainslie is a traditional acoustic blues singer, guitarist, historian and songwriter with personal roots in the Civil Rights era and a longstanding affection for cross-cultural exchange. A musician all his life, Ainslie took up guitar after hearing Virginia bluesman John Jackson play a couple of songs in the middle of one of Mike Seeger’s concerts in Alexandria, VA in 1967. A Phi Beta Kappa and honors graduate of Washington & Lee University, Ainslie also studied with elder musicians on both sides of the color line in the old-time southern Appalachian fiddle and banjo traditions, as well as with black gospel and blues musicians. He transcribed, wrote and published a book on Delta Blues legend Robert Johnson, Robert Johnson/At The Crossroads (Hal Leonard, 1992), and has an instructional DVD on Johnson’s guitar work, Robert Johnson’s Guitar Techniques (Hal Leonard, 1997) and in 2014 released his sixth solo CD, The Last Shot Got Him. Ainslie maintains an active recording, performing, and teaching schedule that carries him around the country, to Canada, and to Europe. He has received numerous awards and grants for his work documenting and presenting traditional music, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Folklife Section of the North Carolina Arts Council.
Since moving to Portland, Oregon in 2002, Jamie Stillway has quietly been making her mark in the world of fingerstyle guitar. She has become an in-demand instructor, having taught at the Healdsburg Guitar Festival, California Coast Music Camp, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, and Peghead Nation’s online course, Advanced Fingerstyle Workshop. Stillway has toured nationally and internationally, and is an endorsing artist for Stevens Guitars of Munich, the Santa Cruz Guitar Company, and Shubb capos. She has self-released 3 albums of original compositions, the most recent of which is a collection of solo compositions recorded live in the studio. Jazz Times magazine notes, “Mixing up genres without pretension, the nimble Stillway moves freely with wit and creative restlessness.” Additionally, a transcription of one of Stillway’s compositions was recently published in Acoustic Guitar, and she has also become a contributing author for the magazine. “One of the best fingerstyle guitarists around today.” – Fretboard Journal.
Josh learned to play fiddle from legendary fiddlers Gordon and Arvil Freeman in his native Madison County, NC. A highly accomplished oldtime, bluegrass, and swing musician, he attended East Tennessee State University to study music education, and to be a part of ETSU’s famous Bluegrass & Country Music Program. His fiddling was featured in the movie Songcatcher, both onscreen and on the soundtrack, and he has toured extensively with a variety of ensembles, including the ETSU bluegrass band, with David Holt and Laura Boosinger, and with several bluegrass bands including Appalachian Trail, the Josh Goforth Trio, and Josh Goforth and the New Direction. He has shared stages with Ricky Skaggs, Bryan Sutton, The Yonder Mountain String Band, Open Road, and The Steep Canyon Rangers, performed throughout the US, Europe, and in Japan. In 2000, 2003, and 2005, he was named Fiddler of the Festival at Fiddler’s Grove and, after winning his third title, was designated “Master Fiddler” and retired from that competition. He was nominated for a Grammy for his 2009 release with David Holt, entitled Cutting Loose.
Randy Hughes has earned a reputation throughout the southeast as the kind of instrument repairman to whom you could entrust your priceless vintage guitar without a second thought. A superb luthier with a thriving repair business, Randy first came to Guitar Week in 2001 to inspect and adjust students’ instruments and share his vast store of maintenance tips. He is also an exceptional guitarist and taught fingerstyle jazz at the Gathering for two years. Randy will be here after lunch several days during the week to examine and evaluate the playing condition of participants’ instruments.