Meet the Guitar Superstar 2011 Finalists!

July 8, 2011
<div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="img" src="/Portals/0/GPGS_banner.jpg" /><br /> <br /> <div style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;Presenting Guitar Player Magazine's Guitar Superstar 2011 final five! These five finalists will compete at Guitar Superstar 2011 in Nashville, TN on July 23, 2011 as part of <a href="http://www.namm.org/summer/2011/wannaplay" target="_blank">Summer NAMM 2011's Wanna Play Day</a>...<br /> </div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"> <div style="text-align: left;"> <table> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td style="text-align: left; vertical-align: top;"><img style="width: 200px; height: 300px; vertical-align: middle; margin-right: 5px; border: 1px solid #000000;" src="/Portals/0/GPGS2011_ArekReliga.jpg" alt="img" /> <br /> </td> <td><strong>Arek Religa</strong> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Chicago, Illinois</strong></div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;">Born in 1965 in Kamienna G&oacute;ra, Poland, under the zodiac Taurus, Religa knew very early that his life would revolve around music. In 2000, Religa left his homeland and arrived in Chicago, building a small home studio, recording numerous singles, and working on his first record.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;">In 2007, his songs "Viva Carlos!", "Beyond the Horizon," and "Island of My Dreams" gained him international recognition as a talented composer and arranger. He created numerous compositions for television, commercials, and multimedia presentations.&nbsp;His proudest musical achievement to date was receiving the 2008&nbsp;Hollywood Music Award for "Best New Age Artist" at the&nbsp;legendary Kodak Theatre.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Competition Song:</strong> &ldquo;Chicago Guitar Knight&rdquo;</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Main Guitar:</strong> Music Man Axis.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Main Amp:&nbsp;</strong> Bugera 6262.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Fave Effects Pedal:</strong> Avid Eleven Rack.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Strings:</strong> Cleartone, .010-.046.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Picks:</strong> Dunlop.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Cables:</strong> Monster.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Main Stylistic Influences:</strong> Ritchie Blackmore, Michael Schenker, Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, Al Di Meola.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>All-Time Favorite Album:</strong> <em>Strangers in the Night</em>, UFO</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Favorite Guitar Solo:</strong> &ldquo;Hotel California,&rdquo; the Eagles.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>What is unique about your approach to the guitar?:</strong> I think that every guitarist&rsquo;s approach to the instrument is unique in some way. I like to <em>feel</em> it before I play&mdash;warm up the neck, touch the strings. My music is the result of my feelings, my thoughts, and my life experiences, so the uniqueness is inevitable.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>What&rsquo;s the best thing about playing guitar?: </strong>Everything! Playing is the best thing I could ever do.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><a target="_blank" href="https://mail.nbmedia.com/owa/redir.aspx?C=8e46dee7bb2f4d56b21643a70385ee8f&amp;URL=http%3a%2f%2fwww.arekreliga.com%2f"><strong>www.arekreliga.com</strong></a></div> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <br /> <hr /> </div> </div> <div style="text-align: center;"> <div style="text-align: left;"> <table> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td style="text-align: left; vertical-align: top;"><img alt="img" src="/Portals/0/GPGS2011_ForrestLee.jpg" style="width: 200px; height: 300px; vertical-align: middle;" /> <br /> </td> <td><strong>Forrest Lee, Jr.</strong> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Nashville, Tennessee </strong></div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;">Nashville superstar guitarist Forrest Lee, Jr. grew up in the music business. His father was an actor and recording artist in the 1950s, and had songs recorded by the legendary Earl Scruggs, Jim Reeves, and Billy Dee. Lee has done guitar clinics all over the U.S. and Canada, showing his masterful techniques for speed twang, hyper blues, chicken picking, and B bending.&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;">Besides playing, Lee also manages Loretta Lynn's recording studio, makes the best bender guitars on the planet, raises five kids, and owns a music store (Waverly Music And Computer), where he fixes anything the others can't figure out.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Competition Song:</strong> &ldquo;Telethon&rdquo;</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Main Guitars:</strong> Forrest custom T-style with FCG B-Bender installed, Washburn WD-10SCE Forrest Lee Jr. Signature Model with B-Bender.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Main Amp:</strong> Bolt 100-watt, 2x12 combo.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Fave Effects Pedal:</strong> Wampler Ego compressor (modded to my specs).</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Strings:</strong> GHS Super Steels, .009-.042; D&rsquo;Addario Phosphor Bronze Light.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Picks:</strong> Dunlop nylon .60mm.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Cables:</strong> CBI</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Main Stylistic Influences:</strong> Country, hard rock, metal, blues.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>All-Time Favorite Album:</strong> <em>Georgia Sunshine</em>, Jerry Reed.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Favorite Guitar Solo:</strong> &ldquo;Sea Of Love,&rdquo; The Honeydrippers.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>What is unique about your approach to the guitar?:</strong> I look at the guitar and B-Benders as an extension of my voice. I play what I&rsquo;m singing in my head. I subconsciously let the notes flow through whatever chord pattern I&rsquo;m in, weaving in and out of the chords, and voicings. I never look at soloing from a structured standpoint, but more as a platform to improvise what I feel at the moment.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>What&rsquo;s the best thing about playing guitar?:</strong> It&rsquo;s in my DNA, I can&rsquo;t explain it. It&rsquo;s love,life, sex, power. It&rsquo;s an emotional connection that can&rsquo;t be spoken. It&rsquo;s everything.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><a target="_blank" href="https://mail.nbmedia.com/owa/redir.aspx?C=8e46dee7bb2f4d56b21643a70385ee8f&amp;URL=http%3a%2f%2fwww.forrestcustomguitars.com"><strong>www.forrestcustomguitars.com</strong></a><strong>&nbsp; &nbsp;</strong></div> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> <br /> <hr /> <br /> <div style="text-align: center;"> <div style="text-align: left;"> <table> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td style="text-align: left; vertical-align: top;"><img alt="img" src="/Portals/0/GPGS2011_FredrikHalland.jpg" style="width: 239px; height: 158px; margin-right: 5px; border: 1px solid #000000;" /> <br /> </td> <td><strong>Fredrik Strand Halland</strong> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Bergen, Norway</strong><strong>&nbsp;</strong> <br /> </div> <div style="margin: 0pt;">Fredrik is Norwegian from the city of Bergen. He started playing the guitar at the age of seven. He learned his first chords from his father, Frank, who is a bass player, and started taking lessons at the age of nine with the well-known guitarist from Norway, Mads Eriksen. He was then introduced to the blues, and Stevie Ray Vaughan became his biggest inspiration.<br /> </div> <div style="margin: 0pt;">Fredrik had his first TV appearance in Norway at the age of 12. Since then, he has been travelling along with his band,&nbsp;performing in Scandinavia, Europe, and the United States in different showcases, workshops, venues, and festivals.&nbsp;Fredrik has just begun work on his new album, and he is&nbsp;currently a student at the Musicians Institute at the GIT program in California.&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin: 0pt;"><strong><br /> </strong></div> <div style="margin: 0pt;"><strong>Competition Song:</strong>&nbsp;"True Expressions"</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Main Guitar:&nbsp;</strong>Tom Anderson Hollow T Classic.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Main Amp: </strong>Fender Hot Rod DeVille 4x10</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Fave Effects Pedal:&nbsp;</strong>Boss RT-20.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Strings:&nbsp;</strong>Dean Markley.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Picks:&nbsp;</strong>Dunlop Jazz III.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Cables: </strong>No particular brand.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Main Stylistic Influences:&nbsp;</strong>Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robben Ford, Greg Howe, Guthrie Govan, Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>All-Time Favorite Album:&nbsp;</strong><em>In Step</em>, Stevie Ray Vaughan.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Favorite Guitar Solo: </strong>"Tender Surrender," Steve Vai.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>What is unique about your approach to the guitar?:&nbsp;</strong>I challenge myself daily to strive for perfection. I enjoy the challenge of learning different genres of music.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>What&rsquo;s the best thing about playing guitar?:&nbsp;</strong>The guitar allows me to express my emotions through the melodies I create.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><a href="http://www.fredrikhalland.com/"><strong>www</strong><strong>.</strong><strong>fredrikhalland.com</strong></a></div> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <br /> <hr /> </div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"> <div style="text-align: left;"> <table> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td style="text-align: left; vertical-align: top;"><img src="/Portals/0/GPGS2011_JeremyOre.jpg" alt="img" style="width: 237px; height: 177px; border: 1px solid #000000;" /> <br /> </td> <td> <div style="text-align: left;"><strong>Jeremy Ore<br /> </strong> </div> <strong>North East, Pennsylvania</strong> <div style="text-align: left;"> </div> <br /> Jeremy Ore just finished studying at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California. He has been playing guitar for about 11 years, and can truly say that it is his passion.Ever since he can remember, he was always playing some sort of musical instrument.&nbsp;He feels extremely blessed to be in this competition, and he looks forward to playing!&nbsp; <div style="text-align: left;"> </div> <strong><br /> Competition Song:</strong> &ldquo;Instrumental Shred&rdquo; <div style="text-align: left;"> </div> <strong><br /> Main Guitar:&nbsp;</strong>PRS Custom 24. <div style="text-align: left;"> </div> <strong><br /> Main Amp:&nbsp;</strong>Vox Valvetronix 100-watt combo. <div style="text-align: left;"> </div> <strong><br /> Fave Effects Pedal:</strong> DigiTech RP355. <div style="text-align: left;"> </div> <strong><br /> Strings:</strong>&nbsp;GHS Boomers, .010 set. <div style="text-align: left;"> </div> <strong><br /> Picks:</strong> Any heavy pick. <div style="text-align: left;"> </div> <strong><br /> Cables:</strong>&nbsp;Any cable&mdash;as long as it works. <div style="text-align: left;"> </div> <strong><br /> Main Stylistic Influences:&nbsp;</strong>Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, Paul Gilbert. <div style="text-align: left;"> </div> <strong><br /> All-Time Favorite Album:&nbsp;</strong>I can&rsquo;t answer this question! <div style="text-align: left;"> </div> <strong><br /> Favorite Guitar Solo:&nbsp;</strong>&ldquo;Eruption,&rdquo; Eddie Van Halen. <div style="text-align: left;"> </div> <strong><br /> What is unique about your approach to the guitar?:</strong>&nbsp;I try todo a lot of things that people normally don&rsquo;t do&mdash;such as play guitar with a pencil, or simultaneously play rhythm with my right hand and lead with my left on one neck. I&rsquo;m always thinking of ways to come up with something new or unique. <div style="text-align: left;"> </div> <strong><br /> What&rsquo;s the best thing about playing guitar?: </strong>When I play my guitar, everything fades away, and I get in my own little zone. I just love playing. <div style="text-align: left;"> </div> <br /> <a href="http://www.myspace.com/jeremyore"><strong>www.myspace.com/jeremy</strong><strong>ore</strong></a> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"> <div style="text-align: left;"> <hr /> <table> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td style="text-align: left; vertical-align: top;"><img alt="img" src="/Portals/0/GPGS2011_MarkKroos.JPG" style="width: 235px; height: 155px; margin-right: 5px; border: 1px solid #000000;" /> <br /> </td> <td><strong>Mark Kroos</strong> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Williamsburg, Virginia</strong></div> <div>Mark Kroos plays two guitar necks at the same time. His primarily instrumental style is characterized by open harmonies, polyphonic textures, and incredible tapping technique, and he it is all as entertaining to watch as it is to listen to. Drawing influence from folk, Celtic, indie, and even punk rock artists&mdash;as well as other great acoustic guitarist such as Michael Hedges, Phil Keaggy, Tommy Emmanuel, and Leo Kottke&mdash;Kroos has developed his own edge to the acoustic guitar.<br /> <br /> "Mark Kroos is one of the most intelligent musical forces of the new guitar generation."&mdash;Randall Williams<br /> </div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Competition Song: </strong>&ldquo;Flight Attempt, Take Two&rdquo;</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Main Guitar:</strong>&nbsp;Ovation CSE 225 doubleneck.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Main Amp:&nbsp;</strong>Just a solid P.A. System. I carry a 15-watt, battery-powered Crate Taxi with me everywhere I go in case of an emergency. &nbsp;</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Fave Effects Pedal: </strong>I try to stay away from effects. &nbsp;</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Strings:</strong>&nbsp;Curt Mangan.&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Cables:</strong>&nbsp;Planet Waves.&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Main Stylistic Influences:</strong>&nbsp;MichaelHedges, Bruce Springsteen, Jeff Danna, Sigur Ros, The Lawrence Arms, Los Campesinos, and the Weakerthans.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>All-Time Favorite Album:</strong>&nbsp;<em>Set Ourselves Free</em>, The Wild.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>Favorite Guitar Solo:</strong>&nbsp;&ldquo;Ross'Concert&rdquo; from the movie <em>Uncorked</em>, composed and performed by Jeff Danna.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>What is unique about your approach to the guitar?: </strong>I play two guitar necks at the same time, and I also draw most of my influence from music that is not solo-guitar music.</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><strong>What&rsquo;s the best thing about playing guitar?:</strong>&nbsp;As a Christian artist, I enjoy being able to share God&rsquo;s joy with people through instrumental music without making them feel like I&rsquo;m pushing my beliefs onto them. I also really enjoy composing pieces that I can&rsquo;t play, and then learning to play them!</div> <div style="margin-top: 14pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><a target="_blank" href="https://mail.nbmedia.com/owa/redir.aspx?C=8e46dee7bb2f4d56b21643a70385ee8f&amp;URL=http%3a%2f%2fwww.markkroos.com%2f"><strong>www.markkroos.com</strong></a></div> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <br /> </div> <strong> </strong> <table cellspacing="10" cellpadding="5" align="center"> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td><a href="http://www.guitarplayer.com/article/unleash-your-star/March-2011/129315" target="_blank" style="font-weight: bold;">GPGS 2011 HOME</a><br /> </td> <td><strong><a href="http://www.guitarplayer.com/article/guitar-superstar-2011-%E2%80%93-host-and-judges/4158">GPGS 2011 HOST &amp; JUDGES</a></strong><br /> </td> <td valign="top"><strong><a href="http://www.guitarplayer.com/article/guitar-superstar-2011-%E2%80%93-sponsors/4185">GPGS 2011 SPONSORS</a></strong> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>
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