featuring Andy McKee, Stephen Bennett & Antoine Dufour
Friday July 31st
GA Standing: $20
GA Seated: $25 ADV. • $30 DOS.
Andy McKee is among the world’s finest acoustic guitarists, and his crossover success to millions upon millions of YouTube viewers underscores his emergence as one of today’s most unique and influential artists. To fans of virtuoso musicianship it is Andy’s attention to song structure and melodic content that elevates him above the rest. To fans of popular music Andy entertains both the eye and the ear as he magically transforms the steel string guitar into a full orchestra via his use of altered tunings, tapping, partial capos, percussive hits and a signature two-handed technique. He’s been featured as a cover story in both Acoustic Guitar Magazine in the U.S. and Acoustic Magazine in the UK, and is also the figurehead of the unique Guitar Masters tours which has traveled the world over.
With his influence continuing to grow, in 2012 Andy was personally asked by progressive metal icons Dream Theater to open their Asian tour followed by living-legend Prince – yes PRINCE, who found him on YouTube! – to join his band for a series of shows in Australia. Andy now looks to challenge himself even further with more surprise collaborations, diverse music releases, development of new instrument products (including Ernie Ball’s Aluminum Bronze strings) and ceaseless international touring including new markets such as India, Russia, the Middle East and Greece. In addition, Andy launched a record label titled Mythmaker Records in 2014 whose focus is on gathering and developing the world's most creative and unique musicians in one place.
Widely regarded as one of the most respected fingerstyle guitarists of his generation, Stephen Bennett is also an acknowledged master of the harp guitar, a challenging teacher, a gifted composer, and a performer of great sensitivity. The Toronto Fingerstyle Guitar Association referred to him as “the Jedi Master of Fingerstyle Guitar”.
Stephen has traveled the world and performed with the best. From California to Maine, Texas to Tennessee, around Europe, Canada, Australia and Japan, Stephen has played all sorts of venues and events. He has released many recordings of music, along with DVDs, books and other instructional materials – and is always working on something new.
None other than Tommy Emmanuel, arguably the most well-known solo guitarist in the world today, includes one of Stephen’s recordings (Ten) in his list of 10 Essential Acoustic Guitar Albums.
Listening to Stephen’s music, it’s clear that his work is the product of both mind and heart, intellectually challenging and emotionally satisfying. It is deeply personal, even as it is universal. Listeners often have a feeling that they have stepped into the world of the musician, and for a short moment in time, there are only the two of them there. Says one reviewer: “With his ear near the body of the harp guitar, Mr. Bennett gave the impression of a father cradling a newborn baby . . . His performance was imbued with heart and grace.”
34 year old Montreal, Canada based guitarist Antoine Dufour is known colloquially among the best guitar players in the world as a musician’s musician. To fans of popular music, he deftly combines jaw-dropping guitar playing skills and an artistic soul in crafting instrumental compositions that reflect ambient and progressive music that transcends global cultures and languages. That he does this in an incredibly visual and entertaining style has endeared him to a broad spectrum of fans of popular music.
Via his six albums of original material released to critical acclaim, two live performance DVDs, 6 years of global touring and more than 50 million cumulative views on YouTube, Antoine Dufour has emerged as a young star of fingerstyle acoustic guitar, building a worldwide reputation for innovation and creativity. 2014 will showcase his abilities as he tours global markets including Canada, Germany, USA, China, UK, France Netherlands, and many others. He has recorded a new album of material that is slated for a fall 2014 release.
Antoine’s records of accomplishment include winning First place at the Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar Championships, Third place at the ultra-prestigious international guitar championships at Winfield, recording for the leading Instrumental music record label Candyrat, plus touring and playing with luminary guitar players such as Andy McKee and Don Ross.
Through his active schedule of post show meet and greets with every fan after gigs, holding seminars, workshops and masterclasses as part of his tour schedule he truly loves engaging fans on a one-to-one level – however, it is via social media that he has connected with millions of fans spread out all over the globe. His fans have recorded countless covers of his music on YouTube and his fan base is as loyal and ravenous to see him perform as any artist out there today.
Clearly, fans are attracted to his technical prowess in the progressive Acoustic Guitarist as trail-blazed by such geniuses as Michael Hedges and Preston Reed; yet, it is a solid reflection of his ability and persona that he is simultaneously hailed by reviewers and critics alike.