Epiphone's 140th Anniversary Celebration came to a head Saturday night in Nashville when Epiphone principals and friends invaded The Bourbon Street Blues & Boogie Bar in Printer's Alley for what was a standing-room-only showcase of Epiphone instruments, by some of Epiphone's brightest endorsees. The evening was MC'd by Epiphone President, Jim Rosenberg and Twister Sister guitarist Jay Jay French who not only kept the night moving with his own brand of comedy, but treated the crowd to his own performance of Albert Kings "Crosscut Saw."
Mega-hit writers Steve Dean and Billy Montana opened the evening with an acoustic set of their songs and some colorful insights into their lives as music-row songwriters. These two guys have written for some of the biggest stars in country music including Garth Brooks, Sara Evans, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton and more.
Smooth jazz artist Tim Bowman was up next and played a stellar set with his Epiphone Broadway, backed by some of the top players in Nashville. Tim spent 3 years as the musical director for renowned gospel group, The Winans, and has established himself as a top artist in the Smooth Jazz field as evidenced by his top ten hits on the Billboard's Smooth Jazz chart. Nashville favorite, Nichole Cooper of Cooper and the Jam, joined Tim for a couple of numbers that brought the house down.
Up and coming country artist Duane Cliatt followed with a set of country originals that had even the most successful songwriters in the audience listening closely. It didn't hurt that Duane's band is top-notch!
Smooth jazz artist Matt Marshak was next with his Epiphone Sheraton-II and delivered a flawless set of tunes off his latest release Colors of Me with his band that included brother Chris on drums.
Guitarist Rick Marcel (The Isley Brothers, Charlie Wilson, Lil Wayne) followed Matt with a blistering set of high-powered, blues influenced tunes.
Next was country artist Jared Ashley, who not only treated the crowd to his own tunes, but surprised everyone with a stylistic-diverse medley of songs that included everything from Ozzy's "Crazy Train" to Bon Jovi's "Livin' On A Prayer." Jared's guitarist Michael Elsner proved why he is one of the busiest guitarists in Nashville by effortlessly covering a wide swath of guitar parts from Randy Rhoads to Richie Sambora!
The evening ended with a fantastic set of blues by Bad Influence Band featuring guitarist Michael "Jr." Tash on his Epiphone ES-339 PRO.
Seven hours of music celebration might not have been enough for a 140 year anniversary, but it was great start! We plan on celebrating for the rest of the year and hope you will join us. To everyone that did make it to Nashville this weekend, we say thank you very much for making our 140th Anniversary Celebration truly one to remember!