Loida Liuzzi has been causing a stir online recently with the release of her instrumental debut, The Journey.
“I’m super proud of The Journey,” she tells Guitar Player. “And I feel honored to have had such amazingly talented people feature as guests.”
Though Liuzzi currently makes a living from teaching guitar she sees herself equally as a dedicated student, travelling from her home in Paraguay’s capital Asunción as far afield as the U.S. in order to attend guitar masterclasses.
“I constantly change and explore. It’s a way to keep the fire of passion burning,” she enthuses.
“It doesn’t matter how good you are, you can always learn something new. Last year, I took flamenco lessons for four months and that gave me new insights. Everything I do has a focus.”
A masterclass in guitar instrumental composition itself, The Journey features guest appearances by shred wizard Greg Howe, tone connoisseur Pete Thorn, and drummer extraordinaire Marco Minnemann (Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert, Steven Wilson.)
Guitar Player recently spoke to Liuzzi as she was preparing to take her music across the ocean and into Europe…
How long have you been teaching guitar?
I started teaching when I was 17 years old. Right now, I have a dozen students. And they are super dedicated. I want to give them the best of me with all the energy I have. I practice a lot and take one-to-one lessons too.
You’re also a triathlete. That must take up a lot of energy too!
Yes! Triathlon is swimming, cycling and running: three sports in one. So I usually train twice a day.
Do you find there are any similarities between being an athlete and being a guitarist?
Yes. For me, it’s the same adrenaline and emotions. But with an audience there it’s different – it’s even more intense.
#LicksByLoi has really taken off. How did that come about?
Before the pandemic, I worked as a session guitarist playing lead guitar in a band here in Paraguay with one of the country's best singers, Hector Candia. We played for two and a half years together and I learned a lot. Performing was my full-time job back then.
Then the pandemic came: no more shows! As an alternative I thought I would dedicate some time to creating content. At that moment I started the hashtag #LicksByLoi. That’s where I’ll use backing tracks from anywhere and try to compose in one minute.
But people started to get more interested in #LicksByLoi?
Yeah, people started following that more than the covers. So I eventually had a lot of #LicksByLoi and thought, Why don’t I do an album of the best ones?
I started production with my bass player, Alejandro Duarte, and keyboardist, Brian Halaburda. We did all the drums digitally and kept the central ideas while relaxing and allowing it to expand without the pressure of time.
What inspired the title, The Journey?
The title The Journey is because every song is a short story of my life in music.
For example, the first track, “Little Big Things,” is dedicated to my dad. He was my first guitar teacher. Sadly, he has Alzheimer’s, so he isn’t aware what an impact that he has had on my life.
Greg Howe features on two tracks on The Journey, “Little Big Things” and “What Really Matters.” Tell us about how the collaboration came about.
When I thought about having special guests on the recording, the first name that came to mind was Greg Howe. I thought that would be a dream come true.
When I’d finished the pre-production, Kiesel Guitars came to me and asked if I would be interested in collaborating. They really liked #LicksByLoi and wanted to see if we could do something together. And they hooked me up with Greg.
I sent him the tracks and those two were the ones Greg chose to work on.
What was the inspiration behind the second track, “Passion Driven?”
That’s about finding your passion and using it to make your dreams come true.
For me, that was sports. Sports is like the power. It taught me a lot of things about discipline and consistency, which relates a lot to my journey as a guitarist.
The third track, “Make It Happen,” features Pete Thorn and legendary drummer Marco Minnemann, who you’ve appeared with in several videos.
I met Marco Minnemann and we became good friends. He asked me if I would record a solo for his upcoming album, and I said, “Of course!”
We did a video for a piece called “To All New Ghosts In Town,” which is on his YouTube channel.
He’s done quite a bit of stuff with two of my heroes, Joe Satriani and Alex Lifeson, so I was like, “Sure! Anything you want!” [laughs]
Tell us about the fourth track, “Enjoy the Run.”
I did the video for this at the Grand Canyon and took both of my new seven-string Kiesels along to the shoot.
I didn’t realize it was going to be so cold there! But it was a lot of fun.
As well as Greg Howe, guitarist Daniel Trébol features on the fifth track, “What Really Matters.”
Yes, Daniel Trébol was my first electric guitar instructor, so I have two of my biggest influences featuring.
I Zoomed Greg Howe and he asked me if he could play on this track. I said, “Of course, you can!”
The sixth and final track is titled “It’s All About You” and was released as a single in April this year. What was your inspiration behind this one?
This is dedicated to all the people who have supported me and continue to support me.
The song is super groovy and features a vocal collaboration with Sol Perez of the band Dali. It was an honor to have his voice duel with the guitar.
I thought it would be a dream to do an instrumental album without following a specific genre. But the blues is the feeling that ties all the songs on The Journey together.
Stream and download The Journey by Loida Liuzzi here.
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Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World, Guitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.