Guitar Week Staff - July 24-30, 2016



Peppino D'Agostino |

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, 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 17 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.

Vicki Genfan |

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, 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 2016 season! “If I could play like Vicki, I would stay home and entertain myself” – Steve Vai

Sean McGowan |

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 is 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 Classic American Guitar Show in New York. 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.

Greg Ruby |

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 and recently completed a play-along CD/book on the swing guitar mastery of Oscar Aleman.

Pat Donohue |

Pat is one of the most listened-to fingerpickers in the world. As songwriter and guitarist for Guy’s All Star Shoe Band on NPRs 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.

Al Petteway |

Our Guitar Week Coordinator, Al Petteway is a Grammy and Indie Award-winning guitarist who has performed, toured and recorded with many of the best-known artists in folk and Celtic music. Though his primary instrument is the guitar, he also studied lute, string bass, percussion and music composition. 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 instructional DVDs as well as the soundtracks of numerous 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. Al’s CD, Caledon Wood was an “Editors’ Pick” as one of the “Essential Albums of the Past Twenty Years” in Acoustic Guitar’s 20th Anniversary issue. His most recent CD, It’s Only The Blues was listed as one of the “Top Ten Essential Albums” of 2012 by two of the magazine’s editors. In 2013, Al recieved the Gathering’s Master Music Maker award “in celebration of a lifetime of musicianship and teaching.” His most recent solo fingerstyle guitar CDs are Dream Guitars, Vol. II and Mountain Guitar which was inspired by the Western North Carolina mountains where he lives. Al performs regularly with his wife Amy White, and as a soloist for various guitar festivals throughout North America.

Pete Kennedy |

Guitarist Pete Kennedy has been on the road for over thirty years, touring with his wife Maura as The Kennedys, and backing artists like Mary Chapin Carpenter and Nanci Griffith on stage and in the studio. On Nanci’s Grammy-winning CD Other Voices, Other Rooms, he shared the lead guitar duties with Leo Kottke and Chet Atkins. His solo guitar work reflects his wide experience as a sideman with artists ranging from Dr. John and Taj Mahal to Leonard Bernstein and the National Symphony. His mentors include Joe Pass, Johnny Smith, Doc Watson and Danny Gatton, and he spins some highly entertaining stories, drawn from his many years traveling up and down the highways of America and the British Isles. Pete considers himself a perpetual student of every facet of the guitar, and he loves to pass that lifelong experience and enthusiasm on to his students.

Paul Asbell |

From his early years, playing blues on Chicago’s South Side, to his present multi-faceted career based out of northern Vermont, Paul has earned an underground reputation as a true “musician’s musician”. He has played and recorded with blues legends Muddy Waters, Paul Butterfield, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, John Lee Hooker and Lightnin’ Hopkins; jazz greats Jon Hendricks, Betty Carter, Sonny Stitt, Biréli Lagrène, Joshua Redman and the Sun Ra Arkestra, folk icons David Bromberg, Paul Siebel and Mary McCaslin. Performance venues are numerous and include the Kool Jazz Festival at SPAC, the Atlanta Jazz Festival, the Montreal Jazz Festival, MerleFest, the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the Roskilde Festival in Copenhagen, the Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta, Indonesia, the Newport, Healdsburg, and Montreal Guitar Shows. Paul’s solo CDs, have received glowing reviews in Guitar Player, Vintage Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Downbeat, Dirty Linen, Sing Out!, and others. He has taught for years at the University of Vermont and Middlebury College, and has given master-classes at Skidmore College, Dartmouth College, Johnson State College, and Marlboro College. He presently sees between 10-25 private students/week, of every conceivable age group, stylistic orientation, and playing level. Past students have included professionals in jazz, rock, folk, etc, including Phish songwriter/guitarist/icon Trey Anastasio.

Gerald Ross |

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.

Steve James |

Steve has recently relocated to Seattle from his long-time home in Texas, but the fabled fogs of the great northwest have not dampened his musical enthusiasm. He returns to the Swannanoa Guitar Week staff, (as he has done regularly since the very first Guitar Week), with a unique and informed fingerstyle and slide guitar repertoire to share. Although vocally proud of his “under the radar” status in the media-driven world of commodified music, Steve has been extensively recorded, and has played concert and festival dates around the globe. He has also been heard live on NPR’s Morning Edition, A Prairie Home Companion and Austin City Limits, to name a few. His extensive body of musical instruction has been the subject of books, print- and online lessons for Acoustic Guitar plus DVD workshops for Homespun Music.

Del Rey |

Del Rey started playing guitar when she was four years old. At thirteen, she was immersed in the world of folk music, via the San Diego Folk Festival. She has tried to get her solo instrument to sound like a whole band from the beginning. This gives her music an interesting complexity, especially when applied to the ukulele. Rags, blues and tunes of the early 20th century are her specialty, even as she writes new music to add to the tradition. She has taught and played all over the world, and brings her distinctive fingerstyle approach to guitar and ukulele to her teaching DVDs on Homespun: Boogie-Woogie Guitar, The Music Of Memphis Minnie, Memphis Uke Party and Blue Uke. She plays solo concerts world-wide and also presents a concert/lecture on women musicians called Women In American Music. She also collaborates and tours frequently with Steve James, Suzy Thompson and Adam Franklin and writes about music for various publications, including Acoustic Guitar.

Steve Baughman |

One of’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 and a DVD on clawhammer technique called The Power of Claw. Steve lives on a boat in San Francisco Bay. His most recent projects are a DVD called Zen Banjo, produced with Rev. Heng Sure, Director of the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery, and a duo album with Robin Bullock, Alone and Together, a followup to their famed Celtic Guitar Summit CD.

Robin Bullock |

Hailed as a “Celtic guitar god” by the Baltimore City Paper, 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 is a winner of “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. His thirteen solo and collaborative recordings include Celtic Guitar Summit, with fellow Guitar Week staffer Steve Baughman, named one of the top CDs of 2003 by Acoustic Guitar; Rosewood Castle, featuring duets with guitar legends Alex de Grassi, Tony McManus, John Doyle, Al Petteway and Steve Baughman and Majesty and Magic: Music of Bach, Dowland and Carolan for Solo Guitar. In 2015, Robin released The Carolan Collection, a compilation of the legendary Irish bard’s compositions, sales of which will benefit animal rescue organizations in western North Carolina where Robin now lives. His next project, volume one of which is due out in the fall of 2016, is the first-ever complete recording of the Bach Cello Suites on solo mandolin. In addition to his solo work, Robin also tours internationally with Grammy-winning folk legend Tom Paxton, including Tom’s 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2015 “Together at Last” tours with fellow Grammy winner Janis Ian. This is Robin’s twenty-first Gathering.

Muriel Anderson |

One of the world’s foremost fingerstyle guitarists and harp- guitarists, Muriel Anderson is the first woman to have won the National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship. An engag- ing performer, her obvious joy of music, humor, and facility across musical genres is revered by guitarists worldwide. She has recorded with country legend Chet Atkins, performed in New York with Les Paul, at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall with the Chicago Symphony and in Tennessee with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra. She is host and founder of the All-Star Guitar Night and the Music for Life Alliance charity. She is a prolific composer of music on guitar and harp guitar, and tours year round in North America, Europe and the Far East. Her new double CD, Nightlight Daylight is a culmination of her vision and is getting great attention as the first ever with an animated fiber optics cover.

Scott Ainslie |

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.

Tony McManus |

To find a unique voice on so ubiquitous an instrument as the acoustic guitar is quite an achievement: to do so within a centuries-old idiom where the instrument has no real history is truly remarkable. In little over ten years as a professional musician, Tony McManus has come to be recognized throughout the world as a leading guitarist in Celtic music. In Tony’s hands the complex ornamentation normally associated with fiddles and pipes are accurately transferred to guitar in a way that preserves the integrity and emotional impact of the music. His 2002 recording, Ceol More, was Acoustic Guitar’s “Critic’s Album of the Year” and named “Album of the Year” by the Live Ireland Awards. He is a regular performer at the Chet Atkins Festival in Nashville, and has appeared at guitar festivals in Soave and Pescantina, Italy; Frankston, Australia; Issoudun, France; Kirkmichael, Scotland; Bath and Kent, England; Bochum and Osnabrueck, Germany and five of Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Kamps in Maryville, TN. Born in Scotland with strong Irish roots, he now lives in Canada and travels the world performing in numerous combinations, including intimate solo performances and various duos with friends Alain Genty, Bruce Molsky, and Alasdair Fraser, to the quartet, Men of Steel, with fellow guitarists Dan Crary, Beppe Gambetta and Don Ross.

Josh Goforth

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 |

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.