Drum roll please …and the winners of the 2013 GFL! Competition are ...
ACOUSTIC GUITAR: Rory Glenn – Saugus, CA
SINGER-SONGWRITER: Chris LeBel – Livermore, CA
Rory Glenn first started playing guitar at the age of 13. He was heavily influenced from his mother and father consistently playing acoustic guitar and singing different kinds of music around the house. His musical style is a combination of rock, metal, blues, and alternative pop music. His acoustic guitar playing has a new age feel to it. With influences like Antoine Dufour, Andy Mckee, and Don Ross, he has formed his own unique style of acoustic fingerstyle guitar playing.
Chris LeBel began playing acoustic guitar and singing at age ten, learning from his mentors; folk singer Roger Kardinal, and blues artist Lane Coker. His music genre ranges from Classic rock to Top 40. In addition to singing his originals, Chris enjoys putting his own twist on the cover songs he performs. Chris' early concert experiences such as music legends CSN&Y, James Taylor and B.B. King inspired Chris to explore a wide repertoire of music, as evidenced by his covers ranging from Buffalo Springfield to Train, and Jason Mraz. Chris' originals are written from his life's experiences and he enjoys putting these times to song.
Congratulations and a big standing “O” to all of the finalists and competitors, we certainly appreciate all of the time and effort that went into your recordings and live performances. Click here to view the participants videos.
Brandon Crowder, Hayward, CA
Chris LeBel, Livermore, CA
Nicky Moriarty, Danville, CA
Darren Richardson, Dublin, CA
Ryan Ayers, Playa Del Rey, CA
Rory Glenn, Saugus, CA
Robert Sakogawa, Pleasanton, CA
Thomas Silkman, Emporia, KS
Guitar Player Magazine’s senior editor Art Thompson
KFOG’s Acoustic Sunrise host Rosalie Howarth
Studio D Recording’s producer Joel Jaffe
Santa Cruz Guitar endorser James Nash of the Waybacks
Contestants were judged on:
5) stage presence
Acoustic Fender and Voyage-Air Acoustic Guitar
An interview with Rosalie and your song played on KFOG’s Acoustic Sunrise
Article and music video posted on GuitarPlayer.com
Recording session at Legendary Studio D Recording with award winning engineer/producer Joel Jaffe
Three paid performance engagements at select Downtown Livermore businesses
Paid spot on stage during the Livermore Wine Country Festival
Brandon Crowder, aka Crowding Out, is a singer-songwriter and Bay Area native. After keeping his musical talents mostly to himself for years, Brandon began performing live in 2011, captivating audiences with his raw emotion and ability to connect with his listeners on such an intimate level. In 2012 he released a 7-song EP that was received well by old and new fans alike. This positive feedback inspired Brandon to dive into music full-time, and he’s currently working on his full-length album, "Is This What You Imagined?", due out later this year. Brandon’s musical style blends acoustic, classic, pop and folk rock in a way that is sure to entertain listeners of all types.
Nicky Moriarty is the latest in singer-songwriter talent from the Bay Area of California. At only eighteen, his knack for songwriting reflects that of someone who has been singing for decades. Growing up listening to famous songwriters such as John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Bob Seager, and Jack Johnson Nicky forms his songs with thoughtful and provoking lyrics. Through poetic imagery and calm melodies he chronicles the stories of his life, others’ lives, and his thoughts on the world. Nicky mesmerizes listeners with his simple songs and smooth voice. His songs are as catchy as they are deep and will cause one to find themselves quickly singing along. Bringing a quiet confidence to the stage Nicky draws in listeners with his honest, fun-loving personality, creating for his audience an intimate setting, even in the largest venue. His voice carries his lyrics with a unique accent that gives for a truly unique listening experience. Nicky is a local favorite in the East Bay and regularly performs at venues throughout the Bay Area. With his loyal backing of local fans and supporters, Nicky is determined to take his songs to the national arena where he wants his music to bring hope to lives of his listeners.
Darren Lee Richardson is an East Bay, California musician/songwriter. His past includes several metal crunching rock bands playing lead guitar, bass and lead vocals. But these days he spends most of his musical time writing hard rock and easy listening acoustic numbers in his home studio where he has produced several CD projects of his music. When the opportunity arises, he enjoys collaborating with other musicians and songwriters on musical compositions and/or Internet band projects. Most of his free time is spent creating music or making short films with his son. Whenever possible he attends local open mics to share his creations. At six years old he learned to play the accordion, by nineteen he was playing bass in his first gigging rock band formed in Hayward, California. These days he mostly sings and plays guitar, but has been known to play a variety of instruments including drums, bass, keyboards, harmonica and even the mouth harp. He enjoys many different types of music, from rock bands through the ages, country artists throughout the years, crooners, musical numbers… he has a fondness for music and its structure and its potential to tell a story or make a point… and that is inspiring, to him.
ACOUSTIC GUITAR FINALISTS
Ryan Ayers, a solo steel-string guitarist, mixes together classical technique with accessible song forms and structures. Ryan began playing guitar at age thirteen. He attended Loyola Marymount University and graduated with degrees in both classical guitar performance and recording arts. It was there that he began his studies with esteemed classical guitarist Martha Masters. An active composer for over ten years, Ryan released his first album of ten original pieces for steel string guitar entitled "ermita" in 2011. In 2012, he published the corresponding sheet music and tablature. His pieces employ classical guitar technique to explore the reaches of steel string and finger style guitar. Ryan also likes to experiment with gestures, textures, and rhythmic ideas in his compositions. Ryan was recently honored by the Guitar Foundation of America's journal of classical guitar "Soundboard," which published his piece "ebb a bit" in a 2013 publication.
Robert Sakogawa began his musical life as a violinist while still in grade school. He continued with this until just before his first year of college, when he decided to take the plunge into learning guitar. Little did he know how the purchase of the pawn shop guitar would lead to a lifetime exploration of the instrument and the various techniques employed to bring music into the world. Originally focusing on songs from artists such as Gordon Lightfoot and James Taylor, he began playing in local venues and college coffeehouses. It wasn't long before he was drawn into the world of the just-emerging genre of jazz fusion. This led to the purchase of an electric guitar and a never ending affliction with “Gear Acquisition Syndrome!” Fast forward to early 2003 when Robert acquired a 'no name' nylon string guitar with remarkable tone and timbre. Now his exploration turned towards flamenco and world music with an emphasis on fingerstyle techniques. Robert continues to keep an interest in a wide variety of playing styles through his role as one of the guitarists in the tri-valley classic rock band Audio Illusion. Robert sincerely believes that music truly breaks down barriers and allows people to focus on what they have in common, rather than what separates them.
Thomas Silkman started playing the guitar at 12, began teaching others at age 14, and began to really understand the instrument by teaching others. Over the years Thomas has consistently been teaching others to play the guitar in order to keep himself "well practiced" and has had the opportunity to teach a wide range of students which has developed into a passion for teaching others, whatever the subject may be. After focusing on electric guitar most of his life, he began really focusing on fingerstyle acoustic guitar about 2 years ago. Silkman now focuses on writing original fingerstyle compositions and hopes one day to be able to perform on a regular basis and possibly teach fingerstyle guitar workshops. Thomas is currently a Graduate student obtaining a masters degree in Business Education, loves to travel, and thought that this competition would be a great opportunity to visit California and share a couple of original songs a little farther from home… Kansas.
Check back next May to enter the 2014 Acoustic Guitar and Singer-Songwriter Competition!