Players' Gallery: A K
Pat Alger is a renowned songwriter whose songs have been performed by many famous artists, including Katty Mattea, James and Livingston Taylor ("City Lights"), Garth Brooks ("The Thunder Rolls," "Unanswered Prayer," and "What She's Doing Now"), and David Wilcox ("Seeds").
Russ Barenberg is perhaps best known as a bluegrass player, although he has so broad a command of his instrument that it makes little sense to categorize him. He has written columns for Acoustic Guitar Magazine. His playing was featured in the soundtrack for the renowned Public Television series, The Civil War; he played accompaniment and lead on the signature song for the series, "Ashokan Farewell." He has recently been performing and recording in a "newgrass" supergroup in which he is joined by Jerry Douglas on Dobro and Edgar Meyer on upright bass. You can hear some of their work together on their recording, Skip, Hop and Wobble.
Jonatha's unique songwriting, singing, and guitar playing (she often uses the unusual altered tuning, Eb Bb Eb F Bb Eb) first came to national attention when she performed as a duo with Jennifer Kimball, together comprising The Story. More recently Jonatha is performing as a solo artist. She plays both an Olson SJ and a Guild jumbo, favoring the Olson for songs in tunings close to standard, and the Guild for open Eb sus 2 and Eb maj 9 (no 3) tunings. You can find out more about her at the Jonatha Brooke web page.
Born in Nashville and raised in a musical family, Michael Card mastered guitar and piano early in his life, but went to school to study scripture. There he was encouraged to write songs for weekly worship; this musical "diversion" soon became his occupation! His friend Randy Scruggs produced his first album; later albums would win Card the coveted Dove award and respect from fans and peers alike as both a musical talent and a man of integrity. You can learn more about the music and ministry of this talented writer, singer, and instrumentalist at The Michael Card Official Web Site.
Jim Cole was our inaugural Featured Artist. To read more about him and to access MP3 samplings of his playing, visit our Featured Artist: Jim Cole page.
Perhaps best known as one of the distinctive vocal and guitar voices comprising the legendary lineups CSN and CSNY, David Crosby continues playing, writing, recording, and touring internationally in the trio Crosby/Pevar/Raymond (CPR). A devoted fan and friend offered Crosby the gift of an Olson of his own design in 2003. He received it in May and immediately wrote Jim: "I played it for hours... it sings... it is a bell... so totally wonderful... absolutely amazing craftsmanship... I am in love... the rosewood is some of the most beautiful I have ever seen and the dragon inlay is just beautiful...." The next day he added, "I played it again last night and it sounds just .....words fail me." A photo of Crosby with his new Olson will appear here shortly. Crosby is also an enthusiastic player of a McAlister guitar made by Jim's friend and fellow luthier Roy McAlister. Extensive information about Crosby's past and current musical activities is at the David Crosby and CPR web site.
Five-time Grammy Award winner Christopher Cross plays a cedar-top SJ (noncutaway). You can learn more about his music at his extensive Christopher Cross Website.
Scott is the guitarist half of the duo Out of the Grey, where he joined by his wife Christine on vocals. Their music combines sophisticated acoustic guitar lines with equally sophisticated lyrics in an infectious and unique style of contemporary Christian folk/pop. Visit Out of the Grey dot Com for complete coverage of this creative duo's doings.
Justin Hayward is best known as the guitarist for the Moody Blues; but although he still tours with the Moody Blues, he also writes, records, and performs as a solo artist. There are several web sites devoted to the Moody Blues; two good starting points for blue-mood web wanderings are the The Official Moody Blues Web Site and Higher & Higher The Moody Blues Magazine. There is also the Justin Hayward web site, focusing on his solo career. Justin's Olson is prominently featured in his Justin Hayward Live in San Juan Capistrano video which you may have seen broadcast on your local PBS station. It is available from his web site where you'll also find video clips. You'll also see his Olson very much front-and-center in the Moody Blues Live at Redrocks, Colorado video.
Ric, a happy cedar-topped SJ owner, has played guitar with two other Olson owners of note, Phil Keaggy and David Wilcox. In fact, Ric produced Wilcox's recent Turning Point album. He also co-wrote and performs on "Soul Song" from Wilcox's What You Whispered album (as does Phil Keaggy). Ric was a founder of the group Over the Rhine, and has shared concert stages with such artists as Margaret Becker (that's him playing beside her on her Front Row video), Adrian Belew, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, the Indigo Girls, Bruce Cockburn, and Larry Norman--whoa! Hordinski fan Don Smith hosts the Ric Hordinski home page, with info about many of Ric's activities past and present. Ric's current project is a band called Monk; you can find out more about Monk at the Monkusic.com web site. Ric even has an Olson guitar page at Monkmusic---thanks, Ric!
See our separate Phil Keaggy page.
Wes King is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who says of his contemporary Christian folk/pop songs, "I hope that this music serves to encourage those who listen to go to the Source." His web site is currently under construction. In the meantime you can find out more about him in a delightfully informal interview with him and Phil Keaggy titled Coffee Talk: Phil Keaggy and Wes King. Read carefully, and you'll find some playful comments about their Olson guitars! Click on this thumbnail photo of Wes to view a photo of him and Phil from the interview. Wes teamed up with Phil and fellow Olson player Scott Dente (from the duo Out of the Grey) to record an album featuring both instrumental and vocal performances on electric and acoustic instrumentsInvention. You can glimpse their Olsons in the album artwork.
Wayne Kirkpatrick is probably best known in the music industry for his behind-the-scenes roles as a gifted songwriter and sideman. He has written dozens of songs performed by contemporary Christian music luminaries such as Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, and Gary Chapman, for which he has taken home four Dove Awards. He won a Song of the Year Grammay Award in 1996 for "Change the World" (co-written with Gordon Kennedy and Tommy Simms), and has also garnered several BMI Pop Awards. In recent years he has also pursued a career as a solo artist, relying on an Olson guitar for much of his acoustic recording. In an interview for Christian Musician magazine's March/April 2000 issue, he explained:
"I was introduced to the Olson by Phil Keaggy. He was doing a session for me on a Susan Ashton record. Of course anything he plays he makes sound good, but this guitar sounded great. So I asked him about it and he handed it to me. After playing it, I called James Olson and got one."
Leo plays a 6-string Olson guitar with Indian rosewood back and sides, as well as his Taylor signature 12- and 6-string guitars. You'll find lots more info about Leo at his official web site, LeoKottke.com, and two in-depth interviews (from 1994 and 1999) at Anil Prasad's Innerviews artist interview site.