Exhibitors Schedule Location Admission Lowertown Guitar Festival Home

2016 Performers

Ben Abrahamson

Ben Abrahamson is an active guitarist and composer based in the Twin Cities. His passion for flamenco guitar drove him to Taller de Músics School of Music in Barcelona, Spain, where he studied under Juan Ramón Caro. He has composed extensively for live dance and theater and performed as guest artist at colleges throughout the metro and in Pennsylvania. Ben's pieces have been commissioned by the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre, and the Macalester College big band. He has shared the stage with mentors like Michael Hauser, Susana di Palma, La Conja, Pedro Cortes Jr., Joan Griffith, and Gary Lee Joyner. Ben also plays regularly with groups such as Lulu's Playground, the Tom Nordlund Quintet, A Touch of Spain, and the Ben AbrahamsonTrio. www.benabrahamson.com

Adam Bjoraker

Adam Bjoraker is a finger-style guitarist from Forest Lake, MN. He is currently studying with John Stropes in the only Finger-Style Guitar program in the world at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Concentrating primarily on the the repertoire of Michael Hedges, Leo Kottke, Antoine Dufour, John Fahey, Pino Forastiere, John Renbourn, Andy McKee and others, he is cultivating techniques and forms used by these iconic guitarists to one day release music of his own and make a living as a performing artists.


Sam Breckenridge

Sam Breckenridge is an accomplished Twin Cities finger-style acoustic guitarist and composer. With over 16 years of live stage experience as a Twin Cities musician, he brings an innovative and soulful style that has earned him performances at Minnesota's Guitar Concert Series at Sundin Hall, features in the "Minnesota Guitarist" Magazine, two videos featured on City Pages "Top 10 Must See Music Videos," a release on the world renowned Candyrat Records label, and gear endorsements with K&K Pickups. Sam is enjoying the successful release of his 2014 album "The Unknown," and is currently in production of his follow up album due out in 2016.


Christoph Bruhn

Takoma Records/American Primitive focusing on an eclectic blend of traditional and non-traditional themes i.e. something for everyone.
First solo guitar record "Weekends on the Frontier" released in 2013, "Chandelier" in April 2016. Both released on Grass-Tops Recording. Other recording projects: Studio guitar for "Glen's Neighbor Behind the Door" debut album. "Weekends on the Frontier" was voted top 3 records released in 2013 by Perfect Duluth Day and Duluth News Tribune. Highly acclaimed reviews for "Weekends on the Frontier "and new release "Chandelier".



Mike Cramer

Mike Cramer is a versatile multi-instrumentalist. Whether he’s playing bluegrass, jazz, blues, or swing, he brings an infectious energy to the stage. Ranging from soulful to fiery hot, his lead work has impressed audiences throughout the Midwest. He was the 2012 Minnesota State Flatpick Guitar Champion and winner of the Upper Midwest Flatpick Championship in 2014 and 2015. Mike has written seven mandolin books for Hal Leonard and his inventive flatpicking guitar arrangements have been featured in Flatpick Guitar Magazine and Premier Guitar Magazine. He is a member of the Barley Jacks and The Good Intentions.


Greg Gilbertson

Greg Gilbertson is a fingerstyle guitarist and singer/songwriter from Chippewa Falls, WI. In 2008 Greg took third place in the International Fingerstyle Guitar Championships at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas. He has shared the stage with finger picking masters such as Doyle Dykes, Tim Thompson, Todd Hallawell, and Pete Huttlinger, among others. His music heavily melodic and tender, oftentimes exploring what it means to be human. Greg lives in Chippewa Falls with his wife and three daughters.



Phil Heywood

Phil Heywood plays guitar with a bluesy swing, ear-bending clarity of tone, and soulful lyricism. His music encompasses the down-home rhythmic groove of a Mississippi John Hurt or Lead Belly, and the sheer fluidity and melodic flair of such contemporaries as Leo Kottke, who once handpicked Phil to tour and perform duets with him. In 1986 he won the National Fingerpicking Championship, and followed up a year later by winning the American Fingerstyle Guitar Festival Competition. He has appeared on NPR's A Prairie Home Companion and shared the stage with a host of local, national and international folk/blues guitar luminaries.


Jerry Kosak


Jerry Kosak’s musical journey began over 35 years ago and he has managed to
incorporate and maintain every new stylistic turn presented along the way. As a
performer, Jerry is equally comfortable with an acoustic, electric, nylon string, or
resonator in his hands. He has performed alongside Andy McKee, Don Ross, Mike
Dowling and a bunch of others
Jerry earned a MM in Musicology/Guitar Performance and he served as Head of the
Guitar Department at McNally Smith College of Music from 2007 through 2010.


Tim Sparks

Tim Sparks has been redefining the acoustic guitar repertoire since he won the National Fingerpicking Championship in 1993. Sparks continues to thrill audiences with his diverse repertoire and stunning technique. Equally at home with Country Blues, Jazz or World Music, Sparks' extraordinary ability has earned him an international reputation as one of the most innovative guitarists working today. On his latest release, Chasin’ the Boogie, his playing evokes the sounds, sights, and smells of "New Orleans sportin’ houses, Harlem speakeasies and a world of tobacco fields, fire-breathing itinerant preachers, moonshine on Saturday night, and rapturous Gospel singing on Sunday morning."


Daniel Volovets

Daniel Volovets is a guitarist, composer, and instructor specializing in classical, flamenco, Latin American, and jazz music. Daniel is a prolific performer, giving concerts regularly throughout the Twin Cities, including the Cedar Cultural Center, the Landmark Center, the Museum of Russian Art, and the Dakota Jazz Club. Daniel’s mastery of many musical genres and aesthetics is evident in the breadth of his extensive repertoire. He is an accomplished arranger and composer, utilizing the harmonic and tonal possibilities of the guitar in his inventive arrangements and compositions. Daniel has recorded six CDs and is currently working on a seventh, an album inspired by the music of the circus, titled "Masquerade."


Jason Zimmerman

Jason Zimmerman is a fingerstyle guitar player from the Twin Cities. He has been writing, recording, and performing original songs and pop/rock hits since 2011. In 2013, Jason was a finalist at the MN State Fair Talent Contest and performed at the Grandstand for 8-10,000 people. Jason has also performed at Moondance Jam, Holiday Under Glass at the IDS Center, and the holiday music festival at MOA. Jason released his debut album, "A Happy Time" on 9/1/15.