2018 performers will be announced in the spring.
2017 Performer Lineup
Master of Ceremonies / Acoustic Day Performer
Friday Night Kick-off Bash
Saturday, August 12 – Acoustic Day
- Tommy Emmanuel
- Doyle Dykes
- Joe Robinson
- Striking Matches
- Diego Figueiredo
- Richard Smith
- Scott Goldman
- Corey Congilio
Sunday, August 13 – Electric Day
- Zakk Wylde
- Harvey Mandel
- Guitar Army featuring John Jorgenson, Lee Roy Parnell, Joe Robinson
- Bob Margolin
- Casey James
- Stig Mathisen
Master of Ceremonies
Los Angeles-based fingersylist Scott Goldman has been playing guitar for over 30 years. He found his inspiration at Leo Kottke concert in the early 1970’s and has never looked back. As life takes its twists and turns, Goldman ended up eventually taking a day job but continued to pursue guitar playing in his spare time. After sharing some of the tracks with friends, Goldman was encouraged to put together an album of recordings. The compositions on Off Season range from moody and contemplative (“A Sonar”) to more aggressive pieces like “Traffic Stop.” In addition to opening Guitar Town annually, Goldman, who is the VP of The GRAMMY Foundation’s MusiCares, serves as Master of Ceremonies for Guitar Town’s main stage performances, as well as moderator for the popular Guitar Town morning guitar workshops.
Friday, August 11 – Kick-off Bash
How to honor the legacy of a band deemed sacred? To tread on holy ground is perilous, and must be done with the intent and spirit of a disciple—Pay attention to the intricacies of the magic, explore the far ends of the innovation, strive for ever-growing ability, and let the purity of the love for the music drive it all.
Drummer Clementine is the founding member of ZEPPARELLA. From the beginning of her musical career, her goal has been to be onstage every night. The pursuit of that goal has led Clementine to constantly tour the US and Europe in projects as diverse as Bottom, AC/DShe, The House Of More, The Solid, Francis Bakin, and Stars Turn Me On. She tackles the best rock drumming ever written with her own emotionally powerful style, bringing the Motown influence of the Bonham groove to the forefront. The profound musical connection established with Gretchen Menn (guitar), Angeline Saris (bass), and Noelle Doughty (vocals) creates the bond required to do this great music justice.
It was under the tutelage of classical guitarist Phillip DeFremery, a student of Andrés Segovia, that guitarist Gretchen Menn began her path on the instrument. Playing with tireless passion and constantly seeking out new challenges, her projects are often unconventional, genre-bending expressions combining elements of classical, rock, progressive, jazz, and metal. On influences, Gretchen has never tired of her initial inspirations—Eric Johnson, Steve Morse, Frank Zappa, and Jeff Beck. But she has loved Jimmy Page’s guitar playing longer than she has played the guitar. It was through the music of Led Zeppelin that she found a gateway into music that resonated deeply with her, creating a love for guitar-oriented music, and, ultimately, the guitar.
Bassist Angeline Saris has musical passions that span jazz to speed metal, R&B to rock, Cuban to hip-hop, and flamenco to rockabilly. Angeline has done it all – and does it extremely well. It is this versatility, her rock-solid time, tastefully crafted bass lines, and unequivocal skills that give her the ability to bring cohesion to the eclectic Zeppelin catalog. Angeline credits John Paul Jones as a main influence, so it is no surprise that she shines as she interprets his thunder.
Finally, singer Noelle Doughty has found her way back to where she started, with a passion for Led Zeppelin’s music that was developed from as far back as she can remember, as the little sister in the room with the rocking older brothers. The kid who knew every word to every song has worked in classic rock cover bands, jazz bands, funk bands, and yet never lost her true love for Zeppelin. After moving to the West Coast from New York State, her fortuitous meeting with Gretchen Menn backstage at a Robert Plant concert brought the final puzzle piece to the Zepparella family. Noelle’s clear and powerful style and deep understanding of the emotional content of these great songs make the picture complete.
Now more than ever, Zepparella explores their own improvised magic within the framework of Zeppelin’s mighty songs!
Saturday, August 12 – Acoustic Day
Give a listen to “Old Photographs,” the closing track on Tommy Emmanuel’s It’s Never Too Late, and you’ll hear the distinctive squeak of finger noise as he runs his hands across the frets of his Maton Signature TE guitar. It’s an imperfection in the performance that players typically try to eliminate in practice, and in the hands of a less-secure musician, that sound could easily be edited from the recording with Pro Tools recording technology.
But in their own way, those imperfections are perfect. For all of the masterful technique and flashy ability that’s brought Emmanuel recognition among the world’s greatest guitarists, that finger noise lets the audience know he is one of them. That click conveys warmth and humanity. And it demonstrates an honesty in the sound. It’s that integrity that makes It’s Never Too Late a guitar album that’s believable to both studied guitarists and everyday music fans.
“It’s all about the feeling of the music,” Emmanuel says. “And it has to make me feel something. I’m still playing for myself, you know, because I figure if I please me, then I’m pretty sure I’m gonna please you. And that’s not an arrogant statement, it’s just quality control.”
Bluegrass supergroup J2B2 delivers bluegrass like no one has quite ever heard it before, thanks in part to the quartet’s fresh harmony vocals, which combine old-school bluegrass with elements of 60’s and 70’s West Coast folk rock. The band’s undeniable live shows have received stellar reviews and showcase a spot-on union of impeccable musicianship, incomparable songwriting, and seasoned showmanship. Traditional bluegrass standards fit seamlessly next to contemporary songs like the Herb Pedersen-penned classic “Wait A Minute” and the Jon Randall/Bill Anderson-penned CMA Song of the Year, “Whiskey Lullaby.” This is the “high lonesome sound” of American roots music at its finest. The International Bluegrass Music Association was written “(J2B2) indulged the crowd…there was warmth, and storytelling, and lots of laughter…with their expertise combined, you would think they had been playing in this configuration for years.” The debut album by J2B2, From The Crow’s Nest, is set for release later this year.
First coming to national attention in the mid ‘80s as co-founder of successful country-rock act The Desert Rose Band, an eclectic array of artists such as Bonnie Raitt, Bob Seger and Barbra were drawn to add Jorgenson’s artistry to their own recordings. While a member of the Desert Rose Band, Jorgenson won the Academy of Country Music’s “Guitarist of the Year” award two consecutive years.
In the ‘90s The Hellecasters gave audiences a chance to experience John’s fretboard fireworks in an unrestrained venue and the trio’s three original albums remain favorites of guitarists everywhere. Having been a fan of the Desert Rose Band, Elton John invited Jorgenson to join his band in 1994 for an 18 month tour that stretched into a six-year stint of touring, recording and TV appearances with the British superstar, in addition to collaborations with other artists including Sting and Billy Joel.
2010 marked the 100th birthday of the great gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt. Since discovering Django in 1979, Jorgenson has become “the US Ambassador of Gypsy Jazz” which is quite an honor given the distinctly European slant of the music’s heritage. Over the years Jorgenson has continued to honor the legacy of Reinhardt by bringing his unique brand of Gypsy Jazz to the masses with his John Jorgenson Quintet.
Jorgenson continues to expand his dynamic range of musical offerings, exploring new elements of world music, bluegrass, rock and classical as he captivates and enlightens fellow musicians and listeners along the way. Touring with multiple musical configurations such as the John Jorgenson Quintet, the John Jorgenson Electric Band, the John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band and the Desert Rose Band. Jorgenson annually plays dates across the U.S. and Europe. Each permutation allows him to make prodigious use of his mastery of many instruments; no matter which band Jorgenson is playing with, his brilliant guitar work leads the way with music that is a combination of groundbreaking playing full of soaring melodies and driving rhythms.
His contribution is utterly one of a kind by not only Jorgenson’s skillful guitar playing, but also his solo clarinet, bouzouki, and vocal performances as well.
Although influenced by a wide variety of musical styles and musicians from the country of Chet Atkins to the rock and roll of Duane Eddy and the Beatles, Doyle has developed a distinct, recognizable sound that amazes audiences with skill while capturing hearts with sincerity and soul.
Doyle’s appreciation for various styles of music is reflected in his albums as they include signature compositions like “Jazz in the Box” and “Martha’s Kitchen” and hymns like the powerful “How Great Thou Art.” “Gitarre 2000″ was released by Windham Hill Records, and Doyle’s music has appeared on several of the label’s compilation albums like “Here, There, and Everywhere” (a tribute to the Beatles). In addition, Doyle’s music has been heard on United Airlines, Air Canada, NPR’s Morning News and All Things Considered, Disney’s California Adventure, and even the Space Shuttle Atlantis in September, 2000.
Doyle’s early years as a guitarist took him around the world as he toured with The Stamps Quartet and later with Grand Ole Opry Star, Grandpa Jones. Doyle has since returned to the Grand Ole Opry for numerous performances, many appearing live on national television.
Doyle performs in venues ranging from Theatres, Bluegrass festivals, and churches, to major Conventions, such as the NAMM Show (Anaheim, CA and Nashville, TN), the Musikmesse (largest music trade show in the world; Frankfurt, Germany), Music Live (UK), and the National Executive Institute, which is made up of honored FBI Agents, major city Police Chiefs, and Law Enforcement Officers from around the world. Internationally, Doyle attracts record audiences in many Continents around the world. Whether to a guitar player or music enthusiast, Doyle’s music will make a lasting impression on anyone given the opportunity to listen.
Twenty-four-year-old Australian Joe Robinson is considered uniquely gifted as a virtuoso guitarist and singer/songwriter. Hailing from backwoods Temagog, on the mid-north coast of NSW, Australia his six-string ability and compositional insight have already earned him a worldwide following. Robinson has spent the last few years touring North America playing festivals and headlining clubs. Having also played China, Japan, Europe and Australia, Robinson has been able to define himself as a budding world visionary. He walks a tightrope between the instrumental music that has put him in the spotlight and a unique fusion of vocally based rock, blues, jazz, and R&B that’s entirely his own. Displaying his virtuosity on electric guitar as well as acoustic guitar, Robinson landed a coveted spot as one of Australian Guitar Magazine’s Top 50 Best Guitarists.
In recent years, Robinson has toured predominantly with his own trio but has recently committed to developing a new solo show featuring both acoustic and electric guitar.
His latest release, Gemini Vol. 2, is a four-track EP that features his deepest and most creative work to date. Robinson played all the instruments, produced and mixed the project.
In addition to touring on his own, Robinson recently hit the road with Guitar Army, which features fellow guitarists/singers/songwriters Robben Ford and Lee Roy Parnell. The trio is in the studio working on an EP.
Brazilian guitarist Diego Figueiredo is a virtuoso with an infectious, joyful feeling that will leave you amazed and happy. Don’t miss this opportunity to discover this incredible artist.
Diego Figueiredo is an extraordinary fast rising star among the world’s greatest jazz guitarists. His superb technique, timing and imagination have made him one of the hottest international names right now. He has a very unique skills and his concert have been a great success in more than 50 countries around the world.
He has already released 23 CDS, 3 DVDs and a book and he has received awards twice at the “MONTREUX JAZZ FESTIVAL” as one of the greatest guitarists in the world. Diego Figueiredo performs one amazing concert uniting technique and emotion in a fusion of Brazilian music and jazz.
Diego Figueiredo is a brilliant musician who keeps the tradition of the true essence of Brazilian music and at the same time can be extremely virtuous , modern and innovative.
With their T Bone Burnett-produced debut album, guitar-wielding duo Striking Matches creates an unexpected and unique sound that defies easy categorization. The music of Striking Matches—Sarah Zimmermann and Justin Davis–occupies that sweet spot at the intersection of rock, blues, and pop, where all of the elements blend to form an authentically raw and rootsy sound that has a timeless and international appeal.
Indeed, their songs including “When the Right One Comes Along” and “Hanging on a Lie” have been featured on ABC’s hit drama series Nashville and recorded by the show’s stars Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen, and attracted an international fan base. Their first performances in London produced sold-out shows and audiences with a deep knowledge of their lyrics, even before the release of their first full album. Their debut self-titled EP was named among iTunes “Best of 2012” and received national attention from outlets such as NPR, the BBC and The Wall Street Journal. Striking Matches is preparing their sophomore album with Capitol Records, due out Summer 2017.
When Richard Smith picks up a guitar, it’s a treat for the ears and the eyes. Audiences watch in amazement, while his fingers dance over fretboard and strings, and listen in delight, as melody and groove fill the room. It’s a natural gift. Born in Beckenham, Kent in England, Smith is well-known for mixing it up – using various techniques and playing a wide range of musical styles. Blues, Joplin Rags, Bach, Chopin, flatpicking fiddle tunes, Sousa Marches, and fingerstyle jazz to straight Merle Travis picking tunes make up his evolving repertoire. Smith has played with Chet Atkins, Tommy Emmanuel, Les Paul, John Jorgenson, Boots Randolph, Nato Lima and many others. Smith is a National Fingerstyle Guitar Champion and was inducted into the National Thumbpickers Hall of Fame in 2009.
Since picking up the guitar at age thirteen, Corey Congilio has been steadily forming a solid musical foundation built upon honesty, integrity and respect for his art form. Born and raised in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, Corey was exposed to music from his father, mother and guitar playing uncles. This exposure to music of all types at an early age, helped to lay a foundation of passion, versatility and appreciation of what music is, where it comes from, and what it should be.
Realizing at an early age that music and the guitar would be his life’s focus, Corey moved to Pittsburgh, PA to attend the Art Institute Of Pittsburgh. There, Corey studied audio engineering but, didn’t get into music production officially until a few years after graduation. In the late 1990’s Pittsburgh had a vibrant music scene rich with blues, RnB, and original Rock. Corey shot up through the ranks by hanging out with the city’s best players who helped in honing his skills and overall musical maturity.
In 2005, Corey produced his first EP for a local country artist and his love of the studio began to blossom. Corey became an in demand session player in Pittsburgh and began to produce projects for singer-songwriters. His projects ran the gamut of styles that showed off his ability on instruments other than the guitar.
Sunday August 13 – Electric Day
Don’t ask what Zakk Wylde has been up to in the two decades that passed between the release of the singer and guitar legend’s debut solo album, Book of Shadows, and its newly-minted, equally moving and introspective sequel, Book of Shadows II. In all truthfulness, a better question would be, “What hasn’t Zakk Wylde gotten into?”
He kicked booze before it killed him and now squeezes endless joy from life with both fists. He’s possessed of boundless energy, relentless enthusiasm, and insurmountable charm. His limitless strength of will allows him to lord over a mini-empire that includes Wylde Audio, The Black Vatican recording studio, hot sauces, and Wylde’s very appropriately named Valhalla Java Odinforce Blend coffee. Sure, artists like St. Vincent and Arcade Fire have gotten into the caffeinated beverage game, but none draw the same inhuman power from the magic beans as Wylde.
The fearlessly introspective melancholy and melody of Book of Shadows helped to make its follow-up one of Rolling Stone’s Most Anticipated Albums of 2016. As fierce and diverse as his work in BLS and as large as his accomplishments as lead guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne have been, Book of Shadows II offers an even richer look into the spirit and psyche of one of the most beloved pillars of the hard rock community. Brand new tracks like “Sleeping Dogs,” “Tears of December,” “Darkest Hour,” “Harbors of Pity,” and “The King” are bold proclamations of intense feeling and powerful catharsis.
As frontman for Black Label Society, the New Jersey born West Coast transplant has led the band across nine studio albums, two live records, an EP, and countless international tours. Black Label Society songs like “Stillborn,” “My Dying Time,” “Bleed for Me,” and “In This River” (his tribute to his fallen friend, the late Dimebag Darrell of Pantera) are all certifiable hard rock anthems, inexorably linked to Wylde’s larger-than-life persona. He’s the ultimate embodiment of rowdy rock n’ roll warrior. He’s also father to four children, fiercely devoted to his wife, Barbaranne, and a deeply trusted loyal brother in the heavy metal community.
Zakk Wylde has been immortalized by the Hollywood Rock Walk of Fame, countless rock music publications, and Guitar World’s 2012 Rock N’ Roll Roast, where William Shatner, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Slipknot’s Corey Taylor, Scott Ian from Anthrax, and Guns N’ Roses legend Duff McKagan were among the friends and peers who assembled to good naturedly mock Father Zakk’s beard, muscles, and rowdy demeanor. Sharon Osbourne served as roast master, which made perfect sense – after all, it was her husband who plucked Wylde from obscurity on the strength of a demo tape, helping ensure the “bullseye” guitar design would reach iconic status.
One of the modern generation’s few true guitar giants, Wylde served as spiritual successor to the late Randy Rhoads as axeman for Ozzy Osbourne, collaborating and co-writing on Ozzy classics like “Mama I’m Coming Home” and “No More Tears.” His tenure with The Ozzman includes co-writing and recording several studio albums, three live albums, a Grammy for “I Don’t Want to Change the World” and countless world tours and television appearances. Wylde co-wrote Ozzy’s biggest selling album, No More Tears, as well as the bulk of the double platinum Ozzmosis.
Zakk Wylde’s powerful pipes, mayhem-inducing charisma, mischievous humor, and instantly recognizable pinch-harmonic driven blues based histrionic guitar shredding have made him the world’s most beloved American Guitar Hero.
Legendary guitar virtuoso Harvey Mandel, aka “The Snake,” truly one of the most distinctive and innovative musicians, continues to perform throughout the world, captivating audiences with his inventive style of electric guitar playing.
A pioneer of modern electric blues from Chicago, Harvey Mandel developed and mastered sustained and controlled feedback, displaying both extroversion and musical virtuosity. He has performed with many blues legends including Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, Albert King, and Buddy Guy.
Guitar Army is comprised of three world-class musicians: John Jorgenson, Lee Roy Parnell, and Joe Robinson. The three distinct guitarists, singers and songwriters, along with their band, join forces to perform each Guitar Army show in enthralling five-piece supergroup fashion. This is truly a full-on, captivating display of guitar prowess — at times potent and powerful, and at other times, tasteful and graceful — but it runs much deeper than that. It’s a magical combination of virtuosos rarely seen on one stage — a triple-threat of triple-threats, featuring compelling songs, soulful singing, and of course, blistering guitar playing.
Known for his sizzling guitar licks and mastery of several instruments, GRAMMY® Award-winner John Jorgenson has earned a reputation as a world-class musician and guitarist who has collaborated with the likes of Elton John, Sting, Luciano Pavarotti, Bonnie Raitt, Billy Joel, and Bob Dylan. In addition to his guitar work, he is also regularly featured on the saxophone, clarinet, bouzouki, pedal steel, mandolin, and vocals. He tours worldwide with his John Jorgenson Quintet, J2B2 (John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band), and John Jorgenson Electric Band. First coming to national attention as co-founder of The Desert Rose Band, Jorgenson later gave audiences a chance to experience his fretboard ﬁreworks in unrestrained fashion with the Hellecasters. The trio’s three original albums remain favorites of guitarists everywhere. Having been a fan of the Desert Rose Band, Elton John invited Jorgenson to join his band in the mid-90’s for an 18-month run that stretched into nearly a seven-year stint of touring, recording and TV appearances with the British superstar. Jorgenson’s latest release — an ambitious limited edition 3-CD box set titled Divertuoso — features three new albums from his Quintet, J2B2, and a solo album of electric guitar work that has received widespread critical acclaim.
Lee Roy Parnell is a walking, talking embodiment of southern soul. After honing his skills over more than a decade of playing clubs in Austin, Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, and New York, Parnell laid a new foundation in Nashville. After earning a publishing contract and a regular spot at the famed Bluebird Café, Parnell launched his solo career, which boasted many country hits, including seven Top 10’s, such as “Tender Moment” and “What Kind Of Fool Do You Think I Am.” He has earned two GRAMMY® Award nominations for his instrumental tracks, “Cat Walk” and “Mama Screw Your Wig On Tight.” Gibson has honored Parnell with the creation and production of the Lee Roy Parnell Signature ’57 Les Paul Goldtop guitar, modeled after the only guitar Parnell owned from the time he was 15 years old until he was well into his 30’s. In 2011, Parnell was presented with his most cherished honor: being inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, joining the likes of Kris Kristofferson, Rodney Crowell, JD Souther, Willie Nelson, Guy Clark, and many other talented composers. Having returned to his Delta Rhythm & Blues roots, he is currently hard at work on a new highly anticipated album.
Rounding out Guitar Army is Australian prodigy Joe Robinson. Robinson started playing shows with acoustic virtuoso Tommy Emmanuel at the age of 11, won the Australian National Songwriting Competition at 13 years old, and won Australia’s Got Talent just after turning 17-years-old. The Washington Post has noted Robinson’s gifted playing, saying “it’s not hard to imagine him rivaling the popularity of, say, John Mayer in coming years.” Premier Guitar observed “once in a while a young guitarist captures the attention of music lovers early in his career and manages to sustain this interest as he matures creatively and sheds the ‘prodigy’ label…Joe Robinson is one of those rare talents.” After almost a decade of global acclaim, including being voted “Best New Talent” in the Guitar Player Magazine Readers’ Poll, Robinson has refined his performance. Having typically performed in an acoustic or trio setting, he has developed a unique solo electric guitar-centric set that highlights his truly rare ability. The new soundscape allows Robinson to highlight not only his technical prowess, but also his increased focus on singing and songwriting. His many talents are all on full display with his latest EP release, Gemini Vol. 2.
Born in Boston in 1949, played guitar in local Rock and Blues bands. Hired by Muddy Waters in 1973 Spent 7 years at Muddy’s right side, playing on Grammy-winning albums and star-studded shows including Martin Scorsese’s classic film “The Last
In 1980 Bob starts touring with his own band and doing special shows and guest appearances with many well-known artists from the Rock and Blues worlds • Bob releases 11 of his own albums on Powerhouse Reords, Alligator, Blind Pig, Telarc, and Steady Rollin’/VizzTone (of which he is a founding partner.) • Produced and performed on albums for countless Blues artists and produced and consulted on Muddy Waters reissues for the Blue Sky Label (Sony/ Legacy). Appeared at Kennedy Center tribute • Scripted and appeared in instructional videos “Muddy Waters Guitar Style” and a popular new “Chicago Blues Rhythm Guitar” for Hal Leonard Publishing • Wrote and released an e-Book, “Steady Rollin’” • Bob has played on several Grammy-winning recordings, won numerous W.C. Handy/Blues Music Awards for his playing and producing, and is a Keeping The Blues Alive Award recipient for Journalism • Bob tours constantly, all over the world, wherever his road takes him.
Casey James’ musical journey has taken him from Cool, Texas, a dusty town 45 miles west of Fort Worth, to network TV and the “American Idol” finals, to opening shows for Taylor Swift, but it is now with the upcoming release of Strip It Down – a soul-filled blues album with 14 songs written or co-written by James and produced by format innovator Tom Hambridge – that James has reconnected with his red-dirt roots. What permeates every note is the conviction that comes from following your personal path, not expectations. He delivers with a smoky, vocal quality and a burning, lyrical skill with a guitar and what unfolds is a variety of styles all connected directly to that blues base. James funded it all through a one-month Kickstarter campaign, asking his fans to invest in the next step. They came through in a big way and it served as a reminder that even when his path had taken him down difficult roads, he’d made a strong connection with an audience that understood his creative ambitions.
Stig Mathisen is a guitarist and educator from Northern Norway, currently residing in Los Angeles. Stig has a Masters and a Doctoral degree in guitar performance from University of Southern California, where he graduated with numerous awards for outstanding achievements. He studied Classical guitar at Tromso University for over six years, and has worked extensively as a freelance guitarist and University lecturer in both Norway and in the US. An eclectic guitarist by nature, Stig is equally comfortable with rock, jazz and classical music, and has rubbed shoulders with numerous world-class musicians over the years. A passionate explorer and a relentless seeker of all knowledge pertaining to guitar, improvisation, composition, music history and music philosophy, he has been on a quest since his formative years to discover the inner mechanics and the deeper secrets of music.
Stig is currently the Chair of the Guitar Program (GIT) at Musicians Institute, in Hollywood, California, and he has written several of the books currently in use as core curriculum at the college.