“An exciting young player who, despite a plethora of influences, now sounds like nobody but himself.” So proclaims The Fretboard Journal of New York City-based guitarist Grant Gordy. In recent years, Gordy has emerged as a major voice on the American ‘acoustic music’ scene, and become one of the most highly-regarded young instrumentalists of his generation. Having served for six years as guitarist with the legendary David Grisman, he’s also worked alongside such musical luminaries as Darol Anger, Edgar Meyer, and Steve Martin. In myriad collaborative capacities he’s performed all over North America, Europe and in India. Gordy’s instructional skills have been sought by hundreds of private students and by camps such as Rockygrass Academy, Steve Kaufman Kamp, Haapavesi in Finland and Sore Fingers in the UK. He has received attention from international music periodicals such as Acoustic Guitar magazine, Japanese bluegrass publication Moonshiner, Just Jazz Guitar, Flatpicking Guitar magazine and No Depression, who describe Grant as: “a special musician… While a bluegrass musician at heart, Grant’s incredible breadth of harmonic and rhythmic knowledge from jazz gives him a strikingly singular voice on the guitar; one that is worth giving your attention.”
Since the program’s inception, Steve has earned repeat offender status on the teaching staff of the Gathering’s Guitar Week, and he now returns for his second year on the Mando & Banjo Week staff. Self taught with inspiration from old records and even older players, he has followed “the sound” of the blues from The Cafe Au Go-Go to Beale Street to the city limits of Austin with odd stops in Hong Kong, Wollongong and the airport in Riga, Latvia (don’t ask). Along with a passel of critically acclaimed solo recordings, he has created a body of instructional material including video for Homespun and lessons for Acoustic Guitar/Stringletter who have recently published his fourth book of blues explorations, Roots and Blues Fingerstyle Guitar Explorations.
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. 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, The Acoustic Jazz Guitarist, Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Essentials and Holiday Songs for Fingerstyle, as well as Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Survival Guide and Walking Bass & Comping for Jazz Guitar, both available at TrueFire.com.
Guitar Week Coordinator Greg Ruby is a guitarist, composer, author, bandleader and music educator living in Seattle, WA. His most recent record, Syncopated Classic, was named “Northwest Jazz Recording of the Year” by Earshot Jazz magazine. Greg tours and performs at swing dances, concert halls and festivals including The French Quarter Festival, Lindy Focus, DjangoFest and the NW Balboa Festival. He plays in a variety of groups including The Greg Ruby 6, performing the compositions and arrangements of swing guitar legend Oscar Alemán; The Greg Ruby Quartet, a Hot Club jazz group dedicated to all-original compositions; The Rhythm Runners, a Prohibition-era dance band; and The Bric-a-brac Trio, playing Valse musette and European café jazz. During his tenure with the venerable Hot Club ensemble, Pearl Django, he performed at the Django Reinhardt Festival in Samois-sur-seine, France. Greg has authored The Pearl Django Play-Along Book, Frank D. Waldron: Seattle’s Syncopated Classic and The Oscar Alemán Play-Along Book. As a sought-after music instructor, He shares his love of vintage jazz guitar at schools, clinics and camps. “Over the past 20 years, Greg Ruby has become a gem of the Pacific Northwest Jazz scene as a guitarist, composer, band-leader and music historian.” – The Syncopated Times
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 2019 season! “If I could play like Vicki, I would stay home and entertain myself” – Steve Vai.
Hiroya Tsukamoto is a one-of-a-kind guitarist and composer based in NYC. He was born and raised in a small town outside of Kyoto, Japan. Hiroya began playing five-string banjo when he was thirteen, and a year after he started playing guitar. In 2000, he received a scholarship to Berklee College of Music and came to the US. Hiroya formed a group called Interoceanico (Inter-Oceanic) which consisted of eight musicians from different countries including Latin Grammy-winning Colombian singer Marta Gomez, and they released three acclaimed records. Hiroya has led concerts internationally including several appearances at Blue Note in NYC and Japanese National Television (NHK). Hiroya developed a unique solo style combining looping and storytelling and performs around 130 shows a year across the country and internationally. In 2018, he won 2nd place in the International Fingerstyle Guitar Championship at the Walnut Valley Music Festival in Winfield, KS.
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.
2017 International Fingerstyle Guitar Champion and new resident of Asheville, Christie Lenée is a captivating performer with a devoted following among instrumental, folk-pop and rock band audiences. Her unique guitar work and instrumental compositions are well described as “Michael Hedges meets Joni Mitchell and Dave Matthews.” Among fingerstyle and tapping guitarists, her niche is the integration of melodic pop lyricism with catchy hooks that excite both modern listeners and classic purists. Christie’s pieces have been showcased at the NAMM Show in Anaheim and Nashville, live on national television and radio, and on stage with such artists as Tim Reynolds (Dave Matthews Band), Andy McKee, Tommy Emmanuel, Amy Ray (Indigo Girls), and Stanley Jordan. Her most recent album, Stay, was one of three finalists for “Best CDof 2016” (Indie Acoustic Project Awards), including the song “Love Who You Are” nominated for a 2016 Posi Award in the category “Songs for Personal Transformation.” The official music video for her “Call My Heart Back Home” was premiered via Acoustic Guitar magazine accompanying a featured article titled “Next Generation Fingerstyle” players.
Gonzalo Bergara has emerged a virtuoso composer and lead guitarist, mixing a cascade of arpeggios with the sounds of Paris and his native Argentina, to forge his own style of progressive Gypsy Jazz. Gonzalo began playing professionally at age 16 in Buenos Aires. By 17 he was already fronting his own blues trio on national television. Gonzalo has toured worldwide with the John Jorgenson Quintet, as well as performed and recorded with hundreds of artists including Tim Hausser from Manhattan Transfer, Sylvie Vartan, Dan Hicks and The Hot Licks, Howard Alden and more. His touring resumé includes Croatia, Canada, Italy, France, Germany, Hungary, Argentina, Brazil, England, Scotland and the U.S., with notable appearances at the Playboy Jazz Fest, Sweet & Hot Jazz Fest, The Montreal Jazz Fest, Django Reinhardt Fest (Germany), Suev Guitar Fest (Italy), Merle Fest, Strawberry Fest, most Django-style Fests in the US and countless more.
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. From the beginning she has tried to get her solo instrument to sound like a whole band. 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.
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 Hawai‘ian.” 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 has taught slack-key in classes and music camps nationwide, as well as having lessons published in Acoustic Guitar magazine. He authored a children’s book, Danny’s Hawai‘ian Journey, and has partnered with Kala Ukulele to provide cultural education through ukulele lessons in grade school classes. Patrick’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 Hawai‘ian Music Award, and in 2012 he shared his music and aloha spirit with an audience at Carnegie Hall. In 2017, Patrick released his latest slack-key offering Ho`oman`o (to remember) along with his book, From the Island of Berkeley, CA and ended 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 Hawai‘ian music. Patrick 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. Steve’s recordings have made the yearly “Editor’s Pick” list at Acoustic Guitar magazine three times. His most recent book, Gospel Songs for Fingerstyle Guitar, was released in 2019 by Stringletter Media. 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, a bronze medal at the National Mandolin Championships in Winfield, KS and the Gathering’s Master Music Maker Award. Robin maintains a busy international touring schedule, performing solo, with Guitar Week colleague Steve Baughman, and with four-time National Scottish Harp Champion Sue Richards; he’s also played several hundred concerts as sideman with Grammy Award-winning folk legend Tom Paxton, including four “Together at Last” tours with Tom’s fellow Grammy winner Janis Ian. Robin has nearly two dozen solo, collaborative and group CDs to his credit, the most recent being Highland Ramble, his debut duo CD with harp champion Sue Richards, and he’s halfway through the first-ever complete recording of the Bach Cello Suites on solo mandolin, Volume I of which was released in 2016. 2019 marks the twenty-fourth consecutive Swannanoa Gathering for Robin, now a proud resident of nearby Black Mountain.
Ed was the lead guitarist and singer for Wood & Steel, a bluegrass band based in the Piedmont region of North Carolina that featured the legendary Snuffy Smith on banjo and The Dukes of Drive’s Joey Lemons on mandolin. Bluegrass Unlimited called their 2007 release, Poor Boy, “a masterpiece of hard-driving bluegrass.” Tony Rice calls their music, “Bluegrass, in one of its most pure, unfiltered forms; played by good musicians.” Wood & Steel’s music was featured nationally in Home & Garden Television’s 2002 special, Barns Revisited, and Ed has recorded three albums with mandolin player/builder Skip Kelley, including their 2010 release, Hopped That Train and…Gone. Ed is an accomplished songwriter, and a powerful rhythm and lead player with a deep abiding love of traditional music.
One of our instructors who consistently receives rave reviews regardless of what he’s teaching, Scott brings a wealth of musical and historical experience with him into the classroom. Coming of age during the Civil Rights era and the protests against the Vietnam War, Scott continues to have a deep reverence for cross-cultural exchange and a commitment to social justice. He is the author of Robert Johnson/At The Crossroads and video teacher on the instructional DVD, Robert Johnson: Signature Licks. In 2010, Acoustic Guitar featured Scott’s lesson on Robert Johnson’s music in its November issue. The article, with TAB, a transcription of Johnson’s “Crossroads Blues,” and sixteen minutes of video instruction is archived on their website at: http://acousticguitar.com. With six solo recordings to his credit, Scott’s award-winning The Last Shot Got Him has garnered strong reviews here and in Europe.
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 pieces 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.
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.
As songwriter and guitarist for Guy’s All Star Shoe Band on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion, for twenty years Pat showed off his savvy licks and 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, and Puget Sound Guitar Camp. Although he considers himself a folk guitarist, Pat’s influences are rooted in bluesmen Blind Blake, Robert Johnson, Duke Ellington, Muddy Waters and Miles Davis. 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 and he’s been a featured performer at major festivals such as 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.
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.