MFG Artists

clay hessClay Hess:

Clay Hess is a GRAMMY-Award winner who first burst upon the bluegrass music scene as the red-hot flat-picking guitarist with Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, with whom he toured for three years. After leaving Kentucky Thunder he played with Mountain Heart, Mark Newton and Sierra Hull & Highway 111 before forming his own band, The Clay Hess Band. With his awesome speed and tasty sense of syncopation, Hess has established himself as one of the top flat-pickers in the business.  Find his latest record, Rain, along with upcoming tour dates at www.clayhess.com.

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Richard Red Richard Smith:

Chet Atkins says: “Richard Smith is the most amazing guy I know on the guitar.  He can play anything I know, only better.”  Tommy Emmanuel calls Richard “the world champion!” Born in Beckenham, Kent in England in 1971, Richard was invited to share the stage with Chet Atkins at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London at the age of 11. He now tours internationally as a solo artist and also with his wife, American cellist Julie Adams and his swing band The Hot Club of Nashville. He has released 10 CDs and 1 DVD, and his known for entertaining his audiences with a diversity of styles, including the Blues, flatpicking fiddle tunes, fingerstyle jazz, Bach and Joplin Rags.

Visit www.richardsmithmusic.com for more information.

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Sierra Hull:

Teenage mandolin phenomenon Sierra Hull began playing as an eight year old prodigy, and has quickly become one of bluegrass music’s youngest favorites.  At the age of 22, she has already graced the stages of The Kennedy Center, The Grand Ole Opry, The White House and Carnegie Hall. She has played alongside Alison Krauss, Barry Bales, Ron Block, Clay Hess, Bryan Sutton and more.  She recorded her debut album, Secrets, at the age of 16, and went on to earn a Presidential Scholarship from Boston’s Berklee College of Music shortly after.  Her latest release, Daybreak, highlights her singing and songwriting as well as her fiesty mandolin playing.

Visit www.sierrahull.com to follow her to Micronesia, Guam, Jerusalem and other intriguing destinations on her 2014 “Around the World” Tour.


 Jack Lawrence:

Jack Lawrence has been called a “flatpicking powerhouse.” His recordings and performances combine exciting, high spirited and innovative guitar solos with tasteful phrasing in his own inventive style. Well known as Doc Watson’s partner since the early 1980′s, Jack’s inspired playing and smooth vocals provide listeners with performances that span musical traditions.

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John Wheat:

Originally from Terre Haute, Indiana, John began playing banjo in his early teens after the discovery of a copy of “The Foggy Mountain Jamboree” Flat and Scruggs LP that his dad had bought in 1958. Shortly after this inspiration, John’s Dad traded 50 bales of hay for his first banjo, a plastic rimmed harmony.

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Mark Kreitzer:

Mark is nearing his fourth decade on stages around the midwest and the world, including appearances at folk and bluegrass festivals, concerts, on television and radio, including the Prairie Home Companion. He has recorded with such bands as The Clearwater Hot Club, The Middle Spunk Creek Boys, The Wisconsin River Bluegrass Boys, Harmonious Wail and numerous others. He has shared the stage with Tom Paxton, Alan Munde, Joe Carr, Don Stiernberg and Tony Trishka, Becky Schlegel, Brian Wicklund and Chris Silver. Mark’s songs have been recorded by Joe Carr and Alan Munde, The Middle Spunk Creek Boys, Becky Schlegel and the Sparetime Bluegrass Band.

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Cory and Jarrod Walker:
Cory and Jarrod Walker are originally from Tampa, Florida, where they began performing professionally as a duo at a very young age. Cory was the founding banjo man for Sierra Hull & Highway 111, and recently toured with Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder.
Jarrod plays mandolin for 7-Time IBMA Bass Player of the Year Missy Raines and her Americana/jazz band The New Hip, and currently tours with traditional bluegrass artist Rebecca Frazier out of Nashville.

 

Steve Rector:
Born in the coal camp hamlet of Beech Creek, Kentucky, Steve Rector learned his first guitar chords from his dad. His first encounter with thumbpicking was through a preacher that worked with his father in the mines, Mose Rager, Merle Travis’ mentor. Steve had a conversion experience with guitar styles that day and knew he would wear a thumbpick as long as he was able to play.

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Sedra and Deena Bistodeau:
Sisters from Princeton, Minnesota and they are among the most talented violinists in the country!Deena currently attends University of Minnesota majoring in Music Education and was the youngest State Fiddle Champion in Minnesota history to win at age 13!  Deena also plays in the U of M Symphony and was the Minnesota State Fiddle Champion in 2008, among dozens of other titles.15-year old Sedra fiddles with a avengeance (and plays Classical music like Itzhak Perlman, as does her sister) and among here other many accomplishments, was 2008 Grand Champion of the Halletsville Fiddle Contest, and 2008 Minnesota State Fai. Sedra was also Weiser National Jr. Champion in 2006 and 2007. Both girls accompany their parents Bob and Deb in the Bistodeau Family Band andplay all over the Midwest!

 

Yiannis Gougourelas:

Yiannis Gougourelas is a talented flatpicker who lives in Greece. In fact, he may be the only flatpicker in Greece to embrace the bluegrass style of playing. That is likely to change – Yiannis has won the Mask contest at Beppe Gambetta’s acoustic workshop twice and has recently released his own critically acclaimed CD!

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Jerry Salley:

Originally from Chillicothe, Ohio, Jerry Salley has been writing and singing in Nashville since 1982. To date, he has had 300 songs recorded in his career, including; “I’m Gonna Take That Mountain” – Reba McEntire, “Breaking New Ground” – Wild Rose/Universal Records, “I Fell in the Water” – John Anderson/BNA Records, “How Do You Sleep at Night” – Wade Hayes/DCK/Columbia Records, and ten (10) top twenty gospel songs.

Ron Block:

For the past fifteen years, Ron Block has been the spiritual touchstone of Alison Krauss and Union Station, contributing sterling musicianship on banjo, guitar and vocals. Block’s first solo album, Faraway Land (Rounder, 2001), met with great critical acclaim and raised the bar for Block’s follow-up, DoorWay (available on Rounder Records). Boasting an all-star lineup featuring Alison Krauss, Dan Tyminski, Jerry Douglas, Barry Bales, Adam Steffey, Stuart Duncan, Viktor Krauss, Suzanne and Sidney Cox, Andy Hubbard (Little Big Town) and Homer, Lisa, and Lori Forbes, among others.

Andy Wahlberg:

Andy was born in Wichita Falls, Texas. He was raised in Miami, Florida where he was first exposed to classical, pop and international music. He had his first “gig” at age five with a Calypso Latin band that performed at his mother’s restaurant in Miami every weekend.

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Michael Blasucci:

Originally from Chicago, spent 20 years in Nashville as a side man for country artists. Worked with David Frizzell and Shelly West, Ricky Van Shelton, Pam Tillis and Randy Travis. TV credits include, The Tonight Show, Live with Regis and Kathy Lee, Good Morning America, Farm Aid, Jerry Lewis Telethon and various Awards Shows. Currently living in Naples, Fl. and playing guitar in the Artisans Dining Room at The Ritz Carlton.

Mark Newton Band:
Mark Newton may not have been a household name to fans of roots/acoustic music a few years ago, but the release of his first solo CD in 1998, Living a Dream, and its subsequent success, went a long way toward “re-introducing” this bluegrass veteran to the public.

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Frank Smith:
Frank Smith is a professional guitarist and BMI recording artist with over 30 years of experience. Frank makes his home in Naples, Florida where he plays out regularly in venues all around southwest Florida. It was the love of acoustic guitar along with the music of Will Ackerman that inspired Frank to begin a music career and later create his three CD’s.

Larry Aynesmith:
Larry Aynesmith has performed in master classes for many of the world’s leading leading classical guitarists including Roland Dyens, Ana Vidovic, Steve Thachuk, Marc Teicholz and Jeremy Jouve. In addition, Larry has performed to standing ovations in concert duos with leading guitarists Marc Teicholz and Ricardo Cobo, and with the Sierra Nevada Guitar Ensemble.
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Ray Griggs:
Our Wonderful Guitar Tech!! Aside from being an excellent player, Ray makes sure every guitar we handle leaves our store in excellent condition.

Alabaster Falls:
We love every chance we get to play with Alabaster Falls – one of our favorite trios! Bill Kaiser plays fingerstyle guitar and sings baritone harmony, Julie Kaiser sings most of the lead vocals and recently started playing the mandolin, and Paul Jones plays fingerstyle guitar, dobro, and sings lead and tenor.


Finn Olafsson:
Danish guitarist & producer Finn Olafsson is an expert on acoustic steel-string guitars. He began his career in 1968 as co-founder of the legendary rock band Ache – a band that became known all over Europe.