Sean McGowan

Artist of the Month | April 2009


Sean uses the Pure Western and the Pure Archtop in his guitars.

The Pure Archtop is totally transparent and gives me crisp highs and plenty of ‘wood’ that sounds great in solo and duo situations. When used with a full range system, the results are stunning and three-dimensional. … The Pure Archtop even sounds great by itself for playing vintage archtop styles – amazing!

Sean McGowan is a fingerstyle jazz & acoustic guitarist who combines many diverse musical influences with unconventional techniques to create a broad palette of textures within his compositions and arrangements for solo guitar.

His first recording, River Coffee won the Best Independent Release of the Year Award (2002) from Acoustic Guitar magazine and music from the recording has been featured on BBC’s “Great Guitars” radio program, Maine Public Radio, and has been published in Japan’s Acoustic Guitar magazine and Mel Bay’s Master Anthology of Fingerstyle Guitar, Vol. 3 (2005).

His most recent release Indigo (2008) offers a compelling portrait of classic jazz standards performed on solo electric archtop guitar. Music from Indigo has been featured in Just Jazz Guitar magazine. As a soloist, Sean has performed at several festivals including the Novi Sad International Jazz Festival in Serbia, the Newport Guitar Festival, the Classic American Guitar Show in New York, and has collaborated with several dance and improv companies including the Portland Ballet.

Sean is an avid arts educator and currently serves as an assistant professor of music at the University of Colorado at Denver. He earned a DMA in Guitar Performance from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and has conducted guitar workshops at colleges throughout New England as a member of the Artist Roster of the Maine Arts Commission. Sean is a strong advocate for injury prevention and health education for musicians, and his workshops incorporate a holistic approach to playing. Sean is also a regular contributor to Acoustic Guitar magazine.

“Sean McGowan is the most promising young solo guitarist I have ever heard. His first CD, River Coffee, paints a broad, beautiful picture of his enormous virtuosity, unrelenting musicality, playful sense of humor and remarkable knowledge of musical history. Guitarists will weep yet laugh with delight as they try to figure out what he is doing, and history will remember Sean as one of the most important guitarists of his generation.”

Tuck Andress of Tuck & Patti

“Few pleasures equal that of watching a gifted musician hit the track and just sail on out there. You’ll hear a lot of tradition in Sean McGowan’s guitar: Christian, Burrell, Farlow, Pass. You’ll also hear the sound of a musician finding the groove…his groove.”

James Sallis, author of The Guitar Players: One Instrument and Its Masters in American Music

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