Last year, the 6-String Showdown showcased many great up-and-coming blues guitarists from Southern California and even out of state. This year, the special 6 String Showdown 21 and Under Cavalcade on August 3 highlights nine young guitarists. With an age range that runs from 12 to 21, these young guitarists play with a skill and style we beyond their years. Having competed in regional 6 String Showdowns, these guitarist are the best of the crop and are ready to take the stage at the PCH Blues Club in Long Beach on August 3.
Promoter/Social Media Maven and devoted blues fan Rick Snyder described the event as “If you picture what it would be like to have Jimi at 16, Eric when he was 14 and a 12 year old SRV sharing the same stage, on the same bill.. and you’ll have some idea what 6SS 21 and under is all about…6SS 21 & Under is nine of the baaaaaddest guitar slingers age 21 and under on the So Cal Blues scene. Fan favorite 12 year old Austin Thomason. Megawatt talent 13 y/o Justin Walter. Killer 14 y/o’s hard chargin’ Kyle Taylor and bundle of unrestrained energy Xander Marsden. Season One heroes 15 y/o Rahul Nedunuri and 16 y/o Andrew Ryan. And the grand daddies of the group, 21 y/o Steve Taylor (whose new release Moving On is available on iTunes), LA County regional winner Johnny Agundez and Nor Cal Bluesman of the Year Ryder Green. Each battle tested in 6 String Showdown regional competitions, each having performed on venerated stages up and down the Coast and come through with flying colors. This is not a showdown, this is a concert. This is the show in ten years, you will still be bragging about to your friends.”
Just like the main 6 String Showdown, which culminated in 3 guitarists preforming as finalists at the New Blues Festival in Long Beach, these guitarists have run the gauntlet to get to the 6-String Showdown 21 and Under Cavalcade. The event will be hosted by 6 String Showdown legend, 21-year-old Ryder Green – 2016 Golden Gate Blues Society IBC Winner and NorCal Best Bluesman of the Year 2019. All the entrants will be backed by the house band, Redd House.
David Hale, when he is not spearheading the overall 6 String Showdown or doing one of many gigs with his amazing blues band Blind Lemon Peel, had this to say about the new event coming up. “When we embarked on 6 String Showdown, we expected there would be a good cross section and representation of all the terrific blues guitar talent in the Southland. What we didn’t expect was the plethora of extraordinary young players on the scene… committed, dedicated hard working youngsters of whom some will spearhead the next generation of blues superstars.”
These young blues artists have made quite an impression, both at the 6 String Showdown Regionals and at various venues around southern CA. In addition, many have caught the attention of some top-tier blues performers who have played with them or mentored them and certainly encouraged them. 14-year old Xander Marsden is a two-time Downbeat Magazine winner. He’s been able to play with and learn from the likes of Joe Bonmassa, Robben Ford, Monte Pittman and Steve Vai. To get to the 6 String Showdown 21 and Under Blues Cavalcade, he aced the San Diego Regionals.
Steven Taylor, a 21-year old guitarist, was heavily influenced by his dad, Kim Wilson from the Fabulous Thunderbirds. He was a big hit at Six String Showndown Season one and has a new album out on his own called Moving On. For 21 year old Johnny Agundez, meant not only moving to the semi-finals, but winning the Grand Prize at the LA Regionals, a beautiful Tagima Guitar. 14 year old Kyle Taylor not only impressed the judges at the LA regionals but he caught the eye of seasoned veteran Bean Mojo Hand, who invited Kyle to open for him at the Arcadia Blues Club.
The youngest performer at the event will be Austin Thomason, a 12-year old blues guitarist who started out jamming with Israeli blues artist Lazer Lloyd at an Orange County Blues Society event. Now, he’s become a fan favorite and has been gigging all around Southern California, where despite his age he has the soul of an elder statesman of the blues. Justin Walter, a fiery 13 year old, caught a lot of attention at the Bakersfield Regionals, going lick for lick against roots and blues master Brett Cox. To hold his own against a legendary Bakersfield guitarist earned him a reputation for not caving under pressure as they traded licks.
Rounding out the show are 16-year old Andrew Ryan and 15-year old Rahul Nedunuri. In the very first round of the Season One Six String Showdown, they would up head to head, trading lick. Finally the judges sent them to a sudden death overtime. Rahul later was approached to play at the Ojai Bowl of Blues by popular blues band Crooked Eye Tommy.
Steve Artea, Redd House’s guitarist and a Southern California fixture on the music scene, said “”I am really amazed at the amount of guitar talent coming from the younger generation. I like to call them the Young Gunz More amazing is that they are carrying the torch of the Blues into the future, these Young Gunz are…Anthony Cullins, Andrew Ryan, Andrew Alvarez, Andrew Edward Garcia, Austin Thomason, Andy Vimar, Eric Shen, Beano Live, John Michael Agundez, Steven Taylor, Ky Michael, Ryder Green, and Xander Marsden, just to name a few. These are the ones that I have had the privilege to know, and there are many more coming out and blowing minds everywhere because of the Six String Showdown. I am so honored and humbled to be a part of this group and look forward to hearing and seeing what’s up ahead, and if you see any of these names mentioned above gigging somewhere, go and check them out, you’ll be glad you did.”
The 6 String Showdown 21 and Under Cavalcade on August will not be an event to miss. It really is a chance to see the future of young blues guitarists. This promises to be a show you’ll never forget.
6 String Showdown 21 and Under Cavalcade
August 3, 2019 6pm (doors open at 5pm)
PCH Club at Golden Sails Hotel
6285 Pacific Coast Highway
Long Beach, CA 90803
Phone: (562) 596-1631
6 String Showdown 21 and Under Cavalcade Facebook Page
Pictures and Videos courtesy of Rick Snyder/3 Sunz Consulting and David Hale
Video by www.musicucansee.com