O.I.E. Records

So impressed was guitarist and entrepreneur John McGlasson with the abundance of skilled 6-stringers in his native Illinois, that he was moved to found a record label dedicated to getting those players heard. Launched in 2003, O.I.E. records—for “originality is everything”—began as little more than a home for a few local artists. Today, McGlasson oversees a roster of guitarists from across the country, playing a variety of styles ranging from prog metal to acoustic to surf to smooth jazz. O.I.E.’ s artists may have little in common musically, but all fall within the scope of McGlasson’s vision: To provide a forum for forward-looking guitarists who have been ignored by the major-label power structure.

“Grassroots promo gives us a huge advantage over the majors,” says McGlasson. “They don’t see gaining one fan at a time as a legitimate business model, whereas we do. Also, I wanted to be as diverse as possible, and build a fan base for the label along with the artists. I think it’s our focus on musicians—and music oriented toward them—that will give us long-term credibility.”


Guitarists Lee Fehr and Ken Thornton move fluidly between King Crimson-esque prog, and dark and moody ambient music.

Andreas Kapsalis Trio Andreas Kapsalis Trio

Kapsalis employs an “eight-fingered,” all-tapping style that drives this acoustic world-jazz-fusion trio.

Backyard Tire FireSkin and Bones

Full-frontal blues-rock with a Southern edge, led by Eric Anderson’s visceral, Neil Young-like garage-rock tone.

Balance IIBalance II

Guitarist Brian Moritz leads a prog-pop ensemble that features former Dixie Dregs Rod Morgenstein (drums) and Dave LaRue (bass).

CurtisBlue Electric Cool

Curtis Fornadley—whose debt to Jeff Beck and Eric Johnson is readily apparent—offers up a blues-jazz-rock hybrid.

Sons of ScienceThrust

O.I.E. founder McGlasson’s project specializes in progressive metal, but can just as adeptly handle a hyper-fueled take on Louis Prima’s “Sing, Sing, Sing.”

John Blakeley & Ron NagleTan Mantis

Blakeley’s reverb-soaked surf guitar merges with Nagle’s smooth-jazz keyboard arrangements on this easy listening outing.

Isaiah Sharkey Skyliner

Sixteen-year-old jazz guitarist Sharkey goes to town on nine George Benson-ish takes on lightly funky jazz.