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Smokey Koelsch


GUITAR RESOURCES

John Stropes is the world’s leading authority and scholarly pioneer when it comes to cutting edge solo acoustic guitar transcription.  His website is a goldmine of insight, resources, recordings, and additional links to the finest guitarists in the genre.

 

Guitars in the Classroom is a very cool non-profit grant program, helping public school classroom teachers of children in grades Pre-K through 8 integrate the acoustic guitar into their regular curriculum and school activities.  Founder/Director Jessica Anne Baron is a nationally respected educator, and author of the SmartStart Guitar method, specializing in the development of musicality in young children.


LINKS TO OTHER GUITARISTS

Michael Hedges - Michael Hedges was the greatest musician ever to touch an acoustic guitar. Michael was centuries ahead of his generation. Michael was an artist who had an enormous impact upon everyone who saw him perform live. He was a radiant soul, a genius composer, a revolutionary guitarist, and a dear friend.

Leo Kottke - Leo is the most beloved, as well as one of the most important solo instrumental acoustic guitarists of our time. He has amassed a body of work that easily qualifies him as one of the greatest guitarists in the history of the instrument. Leo is a national treasure. I have the greatest admiration, affection, and respect for this man. Do not miss the opportunity to hear him in concert.

Erik Mongrain - When I speak of other guitarists, I try to choose my words carefully. Having said that, I believe I have seen and heard the future of solo acoustic instrumental guitar music ... and his name is Erik Mongrain. I have not been so moved by the music of another guitarist since the last time I heard Michael Hedges. There will never be another Michael Hedges. But in Erik’s music I hear power, precision, originality, joy, and refinement on an order unsurpassed by any other living guitarist. The future of the genre is here!

Steve Tibbetts - Brilliant, incendiary, prolific, transcendent guitarist. Steve creates a sound that is utterly beyond description; his music shatters all illusions of time, separation, and space. His genius is on par with Mozart, Coltrane, and Hendrix. I love every one of Steve’s recordings, but my favorite is Exploded View. He is a towering spirit of explosiveness, freedom, and grace.

Vicki Genfan - When she's not dazzling audiences, or inventing a new open tuning - and writing mind-bending compositions in them, or melting peoples' hearts with her gorgeous voice, or staying over at my house to play music until the wee hours of the morning, Vicki just laughs off the fact that she is the greatest freestyle solo acoustic guitarist in the world who just happens to be a woman and can play circles and ovals and parabolas and mobius rings around 99.999% of any and all male guitarists. And as if that isn't enough, she's sweet and smart and strong; I'm humbled and blessed to call her my friend.

Peter Lang - A pioneer who helped define the solo acoustic genre, Peter has returned after a twenty year hiatus from recording. The good news is that Peter hasn’t lost any of his magical touch – he plays with great strength, nuance, and joy. He’s also writing some of the best music of his career these days. Thank you for coming back Peter!

Willy Porter - In my musical universe, Willy Porter is a HUGE star. This artist has achieved the most tightly integrated fusion of vocals with head-spinning guitar work that I have ever heard. There’s no question Willy has become a true virtuoso guitarist. And what a voice – the man sings with power, clarity, and passion. His lyrics are as honest, urgent, and evocative as anyone writing today. Willy Porter is a brilliant artist.

Henry Kaiser - It is a fine line separating madness from genius, and an even finer line that separates Love from fear. Aside from being one of my favorite human beings, Henry Kaiser creates guitar music that fearlessly crosses all kinds of boundaries, with a playful sense of adventure and vision toward unlimited possibility.

Billy McLaughlin - Of all the guitarists I’ve ever been honored to know, Billy’s story is the most inspirational to me. Imagine dedicating your life to becoming one of the world’s premiere solo guitar stylists … and then having to relearn to play the instrument left handed. Billy is the personification of perseverence, dedication, and world-class musicianship.

Janet Feder - Janet has an extraordinary approach to the instrument. She comes from a classical background, but radically pushes the limits of composition and texture. We met through Henry Kaiser, so it’s no surprise that Janet composes and performs some of today’s edgiest and most creative solo guitar music.

Preston Reed - Guitarists speak in hushed reverence about Preston’s monster technique. It makes me giddy to witness Preston’s rip-your-head-off command of the instrument. But what I love most about him – and what is most unjustly overlooked – is the fact that he also happens to write gorgeous melodies. The chops of a monster, the heart of a poet.


TONEWOODS, BIODIVERSITY, AND INTERDEPENDENCE

Next time you think about buying a new musical instrument, consider the nasty little secret of the musical instrument manufacturing industry. Over seventy tree species used to construct musical instruments are now threatened with extinction. I won’t delve into the cycle of deforestation / environmental degradation / loss of habitat / loss of livelihood / urban relocation / poverty / civil unrest / human rights abuses / social repression. Suffice it to say the global economy is real, causality is infinite, and that we’re all connected today in ways we can hardly comprehend.

It’s not all gloom, though. Do some homework. Contact instrument manufacturers and ask if they embrace responsible / sustainable methods of harvest. Martin Guitars is notable for their use of reclaimed / repurposed tone woods. And then there’s the amazing CA Guitar company, which manufactures some of the best sounding acoustic guitars in the world from a carbon-fiber composite – they don’t use wood at all.

For more information about sustainable / responsible harvest, please visit the Global Trees Campaign.


INVOLVEMENT

Amnesty International
AGBU
Armenian Eyecare Project
Charity Watch
Eternal Threads / The Red Thread Movement
Fair Trade Federation
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
Folk Alliance
Glenn Greenwald
Global Exchange
Good Guide
Habitat for Humanity
Heifer International
Human Rights Watch
The Hunger Site
Kiva
NRDC
Open Secrets
School of the Americas Watch
Service Space
Slowfood USA
Sojourners
Sustainable Communities Network
Veerayatan
Witness For Peace

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