International Guitar Summit 2015 | Durham Convention Center | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week
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International Guitar Summit 2015 

When: Thu., May 14, 12-11 p.m., Fri., May 15, 9 a.m.-11 p.m. and Sat., May 16, 12-5 p.m. 2015
Phone: 919-741-4260
Email: internationalguitarsummit@gmail.com
Price: $25-$200
www.internationalguitarsummit.com
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INTERNATIONAL GUITAR SUMMIT

THURSDAY, MAY 14–SATURDAY, MAY 16

DURHAM CONVENTION CENTER & MILLENNIUM HOTEL, DURHAM—It's a certain ilk of guitar player's dream—a gathering of like-minded string pullers jamming, studying, networking and performing for a three-day weekend. Founded in 2011 by New York player Kevin Wilson, the International Guitar Summit gathers a stellar array of performers from several genres.

This year, for the convocation's fourth trip to Durham, the mix includes former Bonnie Raitt accompanist Will McFarlane, who shared his talents on local stages for more than a decade before relocating to Muscle Shoals four years ago. McFarlane now does session work there and in Nashville. Hendrix-inspired hotshot and child prodigy Eric Gales lends his fiery licks to the event, too; the blistering blues-rock purveyor also nods to Clapton and Prince.

The wild card here comes with the inclusion of The Canton Spirituals. Known for their hard-charging, call-and-response, Jubilee-style gospel harmonies, the Cantons have been traditional torch-bearers since 1943. Though recognized for their vocals, Cornelius Dwayne Watkins' guitar adds wings to the sound. As with Dixie Hummingbirds guitarist Howard Carroll or The "5" Royales' Lowman Pauling, Watkins' guitar offers echoes of blues and jazz.

For an additional celestial boost, gospel guitarist Rick Watford—whose résumé includes recordings with Shirley Caesar, CeCe Winans and evangelist T.D. Jakes—will conduct a master class entitled "Becoming An Effective Gospel Musician" on Thursday.

Pay attention to 17-year-old Francesca Simone, making her Summit debut. The guitarist got her first big break when she was accepted for a prestigious Grammy Combo position at the 2013 Grammy Band Jazz Session camp. Her band's fusion of jazz, funk, R&B and Latino rhythms has already landed gigs opening for Carlos Santana, Sheila E. and Lauryn Hill.

Though the schedule is loaded with workshops, general spectators can catch the guitar action at a concert in the Millennium Hotel's ballroom Friday, May 15, at 8:15 p.m. There's a finale concert in the Durham Convention Center Saturday, May 16, at 1 p.m., followed by jam sessions at Beyù Caffè later that night. $100 for concerts, workshops and sessions, $25–$50 for individual events. For a complete schedule, visit internationalguitarsummit.com. —Grant Britt

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