Alan Smithline
Saturday, June 21, 2014, 3:45pm - 4:25pm
Pete Seeger Room - Room #107


Alan Smithline is one of the Bay Area's finest finger-picking blues guitarist. He lived with and took lessons from Reverend Gary Davis, so as you might expect a large part of his repertoire is Gary Davis and other country blues players. But he also creates intricate arrangements for standards and pop songs. His shows are a delight for both the serious connoisseur and the casual listener.

Alan Smithline has a resume most blues guitarists would kill for. He was one of those lucky souls who lived and studied with the legendary guitarist, Reverend Gary Davis, who many consider to be the greatest of all the classic blues players. In the blues realm, that's something akin to studying with Beethoven or Debussy. Smithline has spent the ensuing years dedicated to perfecting and refining the techniques learned at the feet of the master. He plays all the classic Davis rags, blues, and gospel pieces that you'd expect. But he does much more than merely play dry transcriptions of classics. He fills them with the life and spirit and buoyancy of someone who understands his material thoroughly. This makes him more than a preservationist. He likes to take the Davis method and apply it to some unlikely material. So don't be surprised if you hear that that unique independent thumb, fingerpicking style applied Dylan, Turtles, or even Dean Martin songs. And don't be surprised to feel the spirit of the Reverend and imagine his smile of delight directed at the pupil who learned his lessons so well.