Mike Varney's spotlight

After being away from Guitar Player for well over a decade, I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to write about new talent once again. No matter how old you are, where you live, or what style of music you play, this column offers you the chance to be recognized by your peers. To be considered for Spotlight, please send your e-mail address and a CD of your music to: Mike Varney’s Spotlight, Box P, Novato, CA 94945.

Guitarist: Stoney Curtis (Curtis Feliszak)
Age: 35
Style: Rock and blues
Influences: Robin Trower, Michael Schenker, and Jimmy Page
Main Guitar: Custom Fender Stratocaster
Location: Burbank, CA
Background: After leaving high school, Curtis played the Chicago club scene for two years before relocating to Los Angeles and becoming a fixture at top local venues. He formed the Stoney Curtis Band ten years ago, and currently plays nearly 200 dates a year. On Curtis’ self-produced double CD, Alive and Unleashed, the Stoney Curtis Band deliver a powerful set of covers, including classics such as Hendrix’s “Who Knows” and ZZ Top’s “Waitin’ for the Bus,” alongside rock-fused blues originals. Curtis is a consummate performer and technician.
Contact: stoneycurtisprod@aol.com; stoneycurtisband.net

Guitarist: Burr Johnson
Age: 40
Style: Funk, rock, and jazz
Influences: Wes Montgomery, John Scofield, Mike Stern, and Scott Henderson
Main Guitar: Brian Moore Custom
Location: Congers, NY
Background: Burr has toured nationally as a member of legendary organist Jack McDuff’s group, and appeared with his own band twice at the Montreux Jazz festival. Heavyweights such as Al Di Meola, B.B. King, and Les Paul have praised his playing. Burr is a harmony-oriented player who is as comfortable playing clean chord-solo phrases as he is laying down a barrage of blistering fusion licks. Burr augments his sound with guitar-synth soundscapes, which serve as foundations for his masterful soloing.
Contact: burrboe@optionline.net; burrjohnson.com

Credit: Nona Counter

Guitarist: Jody Counter
Age: 49
Style: Blues and rock
Influences: Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour, and Mark Knopfler
Main Guitar: Fender Stratocaster
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Background: Counter is an adept slide player who possesses a cerebral compendium of classic blues and rock licks that he delivers with the expertise and finesse of a master. His perfect slow-hand, wide-vibrato blues licks evoke both Eric Clapton and Albert King, and his blinding pentatonic flashes conjure shades of Johnny Winter, Rick Derringer, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Contact: booking@northbaymusic.com