Archive for November, 2009

Birch II

“Making my own list, I found you can find a hundred other great or profoundly influential guitarists without breaking a sweat.”  –Tim Brookes

Laurindo Almeida
Sergio and Odair and Badi Assad
Chet Atkins
George Barnes
Arthur Blake
Agustin Barrios Mangore
Pierre Bensusan
Vahdah Olcott Bickford
Julian Bream
Lenny Breau
Junior Brown
Leo Brouwer
Charlie Byrd
Maybelle Carter
Martin Carthy
Tracy Chapman
Charlie Christian
Francisco Corbetta
Robert Cray
Reverend Gary Davis
Alex De Grassi
Paco De Lucia
Ani DiFranco
Jerry Douglas
Bob Dunn
Eddie Durham
Duane Eddy
Herb Ellis
Tommy Emmanuel
Bus Etri
Tal Farlow
Jean “Matlo” Ferret
Eliot Fisk
William Foden
Stephen Foster
Bill Frisell
Diego de Gastor
Slim Gaillard
Freddie Greene
Mauro Giuliani
Davy Graham
Tiny Grimes
Woody Guthrie
Jim Hall
Michael Hedges
Justin Holland
John Lee Hooker
Sol Hoopi’i
Eddie “Son” House
Sharon Isbin
Lemon Jefferson
Tom Jobim
Lonnie Johnson
Stanley Jordan
Laurence Juber
Phil Keaggy
Joseph Kekuku
Barney Kessel
Albert King
Freddie King
Carl Kress
Fapy Lafertin
Bireli Lagrene
Nappy Lamare
Eddie Lang
Roy Rogers
David Russell
Joe Satriani
John Scofield
Bola Sete
Martin Simpson
Roy Smeck
Fernando Sor
Willie Smith
Francisco Tarrega
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Merle Travis
George Van Eps
Dave Van Ronk
Ben Verdery
Ana Vidovic
Frank Vignola
Joe Walsh
Muddy Waters
Doc Watson
Jimmy Webster

Let me count . . . Okay, so that’s more than a hundred.

Of course, this list is largely bogus, too. Where are the contemporary country Fender players? The great Fado guitarists? (Fado is a kind of Portuguese blues–and in case you are wondering what Portuguese music has to do with a history of the guitar in America, WJFD-FM in New Bedford, Massachusetts, broadcasts 50,000 watts entirely in Portuguese.) Where are the great Russian seven-string players of the early twentieth century? The emerging African guitarists?

Wait a moment. I can’t believe I forgot John Williams. And Waylon Jennings. And Jack Marshall. Goran Sollscher. Stefan Grossman. Duck Baker. Cindy Cashdollar. John James, the Welsh ragtime wizard…

* * *

In addition to books on asthma, hospice, SARS, and hitchhiking, our friend Tim wrote Guitar: An American Life.



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Our friend Tim Brookes, author of Guitar: An American Life, poses the question on every guitar fan’s mind. Who was, or is, the greatest guitarist of all time? Or can that question really be answered in a meaningful and thoughtful way? Inquiring minds want to know…


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On Sunday, September 8th, the New York Times published an article by Allan Kozinn about our upcoming all-Bach marathon concert taking place in January. You can read the full story here, and tickets are available here.


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Over the years we’ve had the privilege of working with some terrific designers, including Jason Munn, Milton Glaser and Alex Coulter. Here are a few of our favorite posters. If you’d like to learn more about their work, please visit their websites:




NYGF 2008

Our 2008 poster, by Jason Munn

nygf glaser

Our 2006 poster by Milton Glaser

NYGF ufo

Our 2004 poster by Alex Coulter

NYGF mta

Our 2004 poster by Alex Coulter

nygf absolute

A poster concept Alex Coulter did for us, in anticipation of a sponsor that never quite paned out.

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In September we wrapped ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival, our biennial “sister festival” previously known as Wall to Wall Guitar Festival, held at the University of Illinois’ acclaimed Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. The three-day event included more than 30 world-class artists, including Bill Frisell, The National, the Brazilian Guitar Quartet, Alex De Grassi, Ani Di Franco, Junior Brown, and more, plus the world premiere of “The Long Count,” a multi-disciplinary piece featuring visual artist Matthew Ritchie and members of The National and the Pixies (which had its New York debut this past week at the Brooklyn Academy of Music).

Check out ellnoraguitarfestival.com.

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2010 festival posterBig thanks to graphic artist Jason Munn for designing our tenth anniversary festival poster. Check out his website to see more of his excellent work.

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