2019 Guest Artists

Matt Schofield (San Diego Session)

Matt Schofield continues to push the frontiers and reshape the boundaries of the British Blues tradition. Guitar virtuoso, singer, songwriter, producer and band leader. After 29 years of performing, and 15 years into his solo career, Schofield’s impact as one of the most influential and distinctive guitarists of his generation is unquestionable.  Along with his ever growing fan base from performances around the globe comes awards, industry, peer and critical acclaim – three time “British Blues Guitarist of the Year,” “British Blues Album of the Year,” induction into the “British Blues Awards Hall of Fame,” “Blues Album of the Year” and “Top Ten British Blues Guitarist of All Time” alongside Eric Clapton and Peter Green. Schofield’s inimitable playing and tone has inspired legions of guitarists. His authenticity, mastery of guitar, emotive vocals, and improvisational brilliance are brought to life with innovative original compositions.

Alex Skolnick (Seattle Session)

Alex Skolnick is both an original member of Bay Area metal outfit Testament (which he joined at age sixteen) and a respected New York improviser of multiple styles. According to a Guitar World magazine readers’ poll, he is considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time and one of the fastest guitarists in the world. Emerging as one of the original melodic thrash guitarists (alongside Marty Friedman), Alex was a student of none other than Joe Satriani and later moved to New York and earned a BfA in Jazz from The New School, studying with such prestigious artists as George Garzone, Cecil McBee and Reggie Workman. Now a longtime resident of Brooklyn New York, he has gone on to release several critically acclaimed albums with the Alex Skolnick Trio. In 2005, he reunited with Testament, the impact of which has eclipsed the band’s initial run. When not supporting the likes of Slayer and Megadeth on tour with Testament, Alex can be found headlining The Blue Note in Milan, Agharta in Prague, New York’s Iridium or various elegant venues across the world. He is also a first call player for jazz/rock projects including the Stu Hamm/Alex Skolnick/Chad Wackerman power trio, Jane Getter Premonition featuring alumni from Pat Metheny Group (Mark Egan) and Miles Davis (Adam Holzman), as well as “Celebrating Allan Holdsworth,” in which Alex is one of several guitarists with the prestigious position of filling in for the late, great innovator at a series of shows with his (Holdsworth’s) touring band. Alex is also the leader of the critically acclaimed world acoustic project, Planetary Coalition. As an educator and speaker, Alex has been invited to give keynote addresses at academic events and conferences. As a writer, Alex is an editor and contributor to UNBUILT, a biannual lifestyle and cultural magazine that includes his friend and fellow “metal intellectual,” D Randall Blythe (vocalist of Lamb of God). He has also written for The Talkhouse, Guitar World, Guitar Player and other publications. Whether carefully listening and playing alongside the world’s top instrumentalists or loudly shredding with Testament or Metal Allegiance, it’s safe to say that Skolnick has found his own niche as a guitarist.

John Scofield (Nashville Session)

Aside from being one of the principal innovators of modern jazz guitar, John Scofield is a creative artist of an even rarer sort: a stylistic chameleon who has forged a consistent, rock-solid aesthetic identity. A triple Grammy award winner with fan bases in many camps and 40 plus recordings to his credit, bandleader and composer Scofield has expressed himself in the vernacular of bebop, blues, jazz-funk, organ jazz, acoustic chamber jazz, electronically tinged groove music, jam band style and orchestral ensembles with ease and enthusiasm. With multiple Grammy nominations and named an Officier dans L’Ordre des Arts and Lettres by France, Scofield tours the world approximately 200 days per year with his own groups. Affectionately referred to by his legions of fans as ’Sco’, John has shared stage and studio in the company of Miles Davis, Tony Williams, Jim Hall, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Dave Holland, Charlie Haden, Pat Metheny, Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, Brad Mehldau, Eddie Harris, John Mayer, Phil Lesh, Aaron Neville, Mavis Staples and MMW among many music legends. He is also an Adjunct Professor at New York University.

Mark Lettieri (Toronto Session)

Mark Lettieri is a guitarist, composer and producer from Fort Worth, TX. Proficient in a multitude of styles, he records and performs in virtually every genre of popular music with both independent and major-label artists. He also composes and produces original instrumental music under his own name. Working in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex’s gospel and R&B scene led Lettieri to join jazz/world group Snarky Puppy in 2008. The now three-time GRAMMY Award-winning band tours and records constantly, having performed on all continents except Antarctica. Aside from Snarky Puppy, Lettieri has spent time on the road with neo-soul icon Erykah Badu, gospel singer/actress Tamela Mann, and American Idol winner Phillip Phillips. He’s also performed with a myriad of other artists, including Anthony Evans, Chrisette Michele, Myron Butler, N’dambi, Bilal, and Pat Boone. An in-demand session guitarist, recent work includes David Crosby, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Adam Levine, Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, Eric Roberson, LeCrae, Lupe Fiasco, Keyshia Cole, Xzibit, as well as numerous radio and television jingles. Lettieri is also a member of Team SKP, a production collective led by Grammy Award-winning producer Symbolyc One (Kanye West, Beyonce). Since 2010, he has been a member of the house band for the Marcus & Joni Show, a morning talk/variety show broadcast in 200 countries. As a composer/bandleader, Lettieri has released three albums, Knows in 2011, Futurefun in 2013, and most recently, Spark and Echo in 2016. Through tours with Snarky Puppy and social media network shares, these records have created a sizable buzz among fans of instrumental guitar music worldwide. He performs frequently in a trio setting featuring a revolving rhythm section of world-class Dallas musicians, and has begun touring this music in the U.S. and Europe. Grammy awards received include two for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album and one for Best R&B Performance.

Laurence Juber (San Diego Session)

Laurence Juber is a solo performer, recording artist, composer and arranger. His playing fuses folk, jazz, blues, pop and classical styles, creating a multi-faceted performance that belies the use of only one instrument. First internationally recognized as lead guitarist in Paul McCartney’s Wings, with whom he won a Grammy, Juber has since established himself as a world-renowned guitar virtuoso and entertainer. Juber, known to his fans as LJ, has recorded more than two dozen albums which spotlight his unique touch and tone on acoustic guitar. His recent release, Touchstones, is an historic collection of the roots of fingerstyle guitar from the renaissance to the early 20th century. Downtown, a jazz-inflected collection of standard tunes is slated for release in April 2019. LJ Plays The Beatles was voted one of Acoustic Guitar Magazine’s all-time Top Ten albums. His solo arrangement and performance of The Pink Panther Theme earned him a second Grammy, while his arrangement of Stand By Me was heard nationally in a Diamonds Are Forever commercial. Juber’s DVD-Audio project Guitar Noir won a CES Demmy award for best surround-sound audio. As a studio musician, he can be heard on countless recordings from diverse artists plus he is featured on the soundtracks to hundreds of TV shows such as Home Improvement and movies including the academy award-winning Dirty Dancing, Good Will Hunting and Pocahontas.

Robben Ford (Seattle Session)

Watching Robben Ford take the stage is equal parts gratifying, awe-inspiring, and challenging—a perfect storm of creativity and emotion that results in some seriously good music.  As soon as he plays his first note, you realize that you’re in the presence of a bonafide guitar master.  With five Grammy nominations, a three-decade-long solo career, and a resume that includes Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, and George Harrison, his accomplishments reflect the versatility and musicality of someone who has pursued their true calling.  During a live performance, Robben is acutely tuned in, feeding off the energy from the audience, and fully prepared to throw you a curve ball at any moment.  In other words, it’s an experience not to be missed. From his early years of touring with Charlie Musselwhite and Jimmy Witherspoon, to the formation of The L.A. Express, The Yellowjackets, and his own band, The Blue Line, Robben has proven himself to be one of the premier guitarists in blues, jazz, and R&B. Guitarists around the world look up to this legendary musician for inspiration. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with fellow musicians through clinics and is a long time member of the GWP family.

Billy Sheehan (Nashville Session)

Legendary bassist Billy Sheehan has played on dozens of records and toured all over the world for many decades. His unique and original style of playing has been celebrated and documented everywhere. His playing, singing, songwriting, and contributions to his many recordings have resulted in millions of records sold, Platinum and Gold status worldwide, Reader’s Poll Awards too many to list, Number #1 hits, Number #1 Videos, sold-out shows, and most importantly the mutual love, friendship and respect between himself and many millions of fans around the globe. Starting with the now legendary hard rock trio Talas, he went on to join David Lee Roth along with Steve Vai & Gregg Bissonette. The legendary ‘Eat ‘Em and Smile’ record and tour went on to platinum status and sold out shows everywhere. He founded Mr. Big, who went on to achieve a number one hit in 14 countries, recorded and toured the world playing to sold out venues. He started fusion/blues trio ”Niacin” with drummer Dennis Chambers, played with Steve Vai on record and for several tours, released several solo records. Billy joined Mike Portnoy and Richie Kotzen to form “The Winery Dogs” which has been received everywhere with spectacular reviews and sold-out shows. Billy also joined “Sons of Apollo” releasing the album Psychotic Symphony followed by a gruelling tour schedule in 2018 that saw Billy pull double duty between Mr Big and Sons of Apollo. The year was capped off with Billy winning another Best in Bass 2018 readers’ poll. With his history of live performances and/or recordings with Talas, UFO, David Lee Roth, Mr. Big, Niacin, Steve Vai, The Winery Dogs and Sons of Apollo, he has had a huge and undeniable influence on modern bass playing that has spread all over the globe and will continue for many years to come.

Greg Koch (Toronto Session)

Milwaukee native Greg Koch has forged a successful career as a guitar player’s guitarist. He has been called “fiendishly talented” by author and former editor- in-chief of Guitar Player Magazine Tom Wheeler and “scary good” by guitar phenom Joe Bonamassa. In addition to his 15 releases on multiple record labels which feature his unique take on a variety of American guitar styles and his versatile compositions, Koch is widely known for his lengthy tenure as an international ambassador for Fender Guitars which listed him in their “Top Ten Unsung Guitarists.” He is also a best-selling author and video instructor for music publisher Hal Leonard. Greg is a contributing columnist for a variety of guitar magazines including Guitar Player Magazine which listed Greg’s “Chief’s Blues” in their “40 Badass Blues Solos You Must Hear” and Premier Guitar. For the last few years Greg is renowned for his wildly popular internet videos (which number in the thousands with views exceeding 50 million).

Christie Lenée (San Diego Session)

Singer, songwriter and renowned fingerstyle guitarist Christie Lenée is more than a musician – she’s an experience. Symphonic compositions flow from her fingertips effortlessly, with sound ranging from transcendental folk-pop to virtuosic instrumentals. Christie is often described as ‘Michael Hedges meets Joni Mitchell and Dave Matthews,” integrating melodic pop lyricism with catchy hooks and percussive, harmonic textures. As an Official Showcase Artist at Folk Alliance International consistently logging a number of major festivals, events, opera houses and theaters nationwide, Christie Lenée performs with radiant joy that awes crowds and inspires fellow musicians. Christie has shared stages with Tommy Emmanuel, Tim Reynolds (Dave Matthews Band), Andy McKee, and Amy Ray (Indigo Girls) to name a few, who have all raved about her talents. Her first place victory in the acclaimed 2017 International Fingerstyle Guitar Championship has earned her featured coverage in Guitar Player Magazine, Acoustic Guitar Magazine, and Premier Guitar. She has released five albums, with “STAY” one of three finalists for “Best CD of 2016” (Indie Acoustic Project Awards).

Paul DeLong (Toronto Session)

Past and present artists that Paul has played with include: Kim Mitchell, Tom Scott, Domenic Troiano, David Blamires (Pat Metheny), Lawrence Gowan (Styx), Carol Welsman, Colm Wilkinson, Doug Riley, Hilario Duran, David Clayton-Thomas (Blood, Sweat & Tears), Roger Hodgson (Supertramp), FM, and Rik Emmett (Triumph). As a Juno award winner and respected session player Paul has performed at P.I.T. and the N.A.M.M. shows in L.A., twice at the Montreal Drumfest, at the Cape Breton Drumfest, and at the Quebec Drumfest. Extensive theatre experience, playing for major productions of Tommy, Joseph, RENT, Lion King, Hairspray and Hair. Paul has written several articles for Modern Drummer magazine. He has also taught at numerous highly ranked music programs and has done online video lessons. His books “DeLong Way” To Polyrhythmic Creativity OnThe Drumset, and “DeLong Way” To Musical Phrasing On The Drumset, are now being distributed worldwide.

Gary Hoey (Toronto Session)

World renowned blues/rock guitarist Gary Hoey’s first break came in 1987 when Ozzy Osbourne liked Hoey’s tape enough to fly him to LA for an audition. Zakk Wylde eventually wound up with the gig, however Ozzy recommended Hoey move to LA where he was certain he would get noticed, and so he did! In 1992 Gary’s cover of “Hocus Pocus” rocketed into Billboard’s Top 5. With a collection of 19 albums it’s no wonder Gary Hoey is listed as one of the top 100 guitarists of all time. In 1994 Hoey scored the successful “Endless Summer II” soundtrack. In 2012, he produced and co-wrote Lita Ford’s release “Living Like Runaway” to rave reviews. He’s worked with legends like Joe Perry, Roger Daltrey, blues icon Johnny Winter, Robben Ford, and Leslie West to name just a few. He has toured and traded licks with the likes of Jeff Beck, Brian May of Queen, Ted Nugent, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Peter Frampton, and Dick Dale. Hoey has explored many styles of music in his career, but in 2013, came home to the Blues with his release of “Deja Blues.” His latest, 2016’s “Dust & Bones,” is an exuberant fusion of blues and rock. Whatever style he plays, Gary Hoey is a fiery, charismatic player. Whether he’s playing scorching bluesy originals or blues/rock covers, his solos are thrilling and, one thing that remains consistent is Hoey’s impassioned command of the guitar. He can attack his instrument with feral intensity and then play something very soft and achingly beautiful. This ability to mix feeling, phrasing, technique and tone is the true mark of a master guitarist.