Frank Vignola is one of the most extraordinary guitarists performing before the public today. His stunning virtuosity has made him the guitarist of choice for many of the world’s top musicians, including Ringo Starr, Madonna, Donald Fagen, Wynton Marsalis, Tommy Emmanuel, the Boston Pops, the New York Pops, and guitar legend Les Paul, who named Vignola to his “Five Most Admired Guitar List” for the Wall Street Journal. Vignola’s jaw-dropping technique explains why the New York Times deemed him “one of the brightest…stars of the guitar”.
Frank has written 18 guitar instruction books for Mel Bay Publications and has recorded 6 Educational DVD’s for Truefire.com. He has performed hundreds of clinics and masterclasses at major universities and colleges throughout the world including Julliard and Boston University. Currently, Vignola is touring world wide.
J.D. Moffat has been making a living with his guitar for over forty years. He started playing at seven years old on a ‘5 dollar Stella’. At twenty years of age he fell in love with the playing of Charlie Byrd. He drove cold to Byrds house in Washington D.C. and asked Charlie if he would show him how it was done. Charlie was very receptive to this young charismatic kid and taught J. D. steadily for a period of time. He also had the opportunity to sudy with and befriend Joe Pass.
J.D.’s unique guitar style is deep, soulful and always to the point. Inspired by Wes Montgomery, J.D. gave up his pick early on, creating an original take on Wes’s classic technique involving colors and flavors reminiscent of flamaenco guitar.
In the early seventies J.D. was involved in creating the jazz guitar program at the University of Utah. He taught there for four years and in 77 he won ‘outstanding guitar performance’ award from the National Association of Jazz Eduacators. He went to Florida to perform at the convention that year, where drummer Billy Cobham heard him play. He invited J.D. to audition for Lou Rawls who was looking for a guitar player . Cobham told J.D. “You might be the guy”, to which he responded “I AM the guy!” J.D. played played with Rawls from ’77-’81 during which time he helped to write the charting hit, “Lady Love”. After that from ’81-’83 he toured with the original boogie man him self, John Lee Hooker. Then J.D. toured with Ray Charles for a couple of years. Over the years J.D. has performed all over the world, from Europe to New Zealand. He currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah where he performs frequently at various local venues.
In 2010 Joe was composer and music director for “IllumiNights!”, summer spectacular at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.
His career includes a 25-year association with the Walt Disney Company & Universal Studios composing a wide range of musical scores in the United States, Japan, Hong Kong & Latin America. Joe has conducted the London Symphony, National Symphony, Seattle Symphony & Slovak National Symphony orchestras.
Bill is equally at home in many idioms from ragtime, fingerstyle, blues, swing, fingerstyle, gypsy, and jazz. A guitar instructor at Colorado Mountain College where he teaches all styles of guitar instruction and music theory. He has been playing since the age of 13 studying classical guitar. Bill is a self-taught musician and performs locally in the Glenwood Springs and Aspen Colorado area. Bill has played many guitars over the years and once he picked up a Thorell guitar it was the beginning of a great friendship with Ryan.
“I own four Thorell guitars at this time and just ordered a Frank Vignola Model. All of Ryan’s guitars are so unique in their voicing, it brings the love of playing music back to the player and the audience. I just love these guitars, nothing comes even close, Ryan is a hidden seceret that isn’t going to stay secret for long. He puts all his love and expertise in every instrument and I am proud to be an endorser for Thorell Guitars. Thanks Ryan for being a great friend and a creator of the finest instruments I have had the pleasure to play.”
Drawing from the refinement of classical music, the visceral experience of blues and classic rock and the swinging dance feel of American jazz, Celtic and other folk traditions, Austin Weyand creates a truly diverse and awe-inspiring experience through the medium of solo acoustic guitar instrumentals. Austin entertains with his pianistic approach to the guitar displaying melody, harmony, bass lines, and even percussion at the same time. As the 2008 champion of the State of Wyoming Fingerstyle Guitar Competition Austin has drawn attention to his music. National Fingerstyle Guitar Champion Chris Proctor says, “Austin plays imaginative, original pieces and arrangements for solo guitar with a fine technique and excellent tone. If you like solo acoustic guitar, my guess is that you’ll find his music right up your alley.”
Keven Johansen has had the honor and privilege of performing with several jazz legends including, Milt Jackson, Roy Hargrove, Phil Woods, Al Grey, Stanley Turrentine, Louie Bellson, Clark Terry, Eddie Daniels, Kevin Mahogany, David “Fathead” Newman, Brain Bromberg, J.D. Moffat, Jan Konopasek, Christoph Luty, and Joey DeFrancesco.
Keven Johansen is a Lecturing Associate Professor in the University of Utah School of Music where he has taught since 1983. His guitar and banjo skills are in demand close to home in Salt Lake City and as far away as the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia and in Orvieto Italy.
Keven performs frequently with the Salt Lake City Jazz Orchestra, The Great Basin Street Band, The Joe Muscolino Band, Zone Azul, GNP, and with fellow guitarist and University of Utah music professor, Tully Cathey. Keven works occasionally with Brian Booth, Alan Michaels, John Flanders, Dale Lee, the KlezBros, the Chisholm Bros. (Joe and Dave), and the Utah Symphony. In Keven’s first Utah Symphony performance, he was the featured soloist in Tully Cathey’s arrangement of Sting’s “Fragile”. Keven also performs frequently as a solo guitarist and has played several solo performances at the Utah Governor’s mansion.
Keven has played for countless Broadway performances at the Capitol Theater, Kingsbury Hall, The Grand Theater, and Pioneer Memorial Theater. His favorite show was “Song of Singapore” at the Grand Theater where he not only played guitar, but acted, sang, and danced the “Hawaiin Dance” (“Oh no! Not the Hawaiian Dance!”)
Keven purchased his first Thorell in order to play for the 2006 Capitol Theater Production of “Sweet Charity”, staring Molly Ringwald. Although Keven was completely satisfied with the Thorell he had purchased, Ryan made him an amazing offer. “Ryan offered to build me a guitar customized to my specifications. If I did not like it, I could keep the guitar that I had broken in on the show. Ryan Thorell’s custom guitar virtually plays itself. Its tone was full and rich from the beginning and it is improving as it ages, just like me. Whoever ends up with the first Thorell that I purchased will be the second most fortunate guitarist on the planet. My current Thorell represents perfection. Ryan, thank you for your artistry and your friendship”.