What's New: Gary Allegretto Interview
Gary started playing upon receiving his first harp at age 5 from his grandfather. Soon after, while attending a cultural festival he wandered away from his family following an irresistible sound... a Big Walter Horton performance. As the loudspeakers blared something about a lost child, he knew he’d found his calling… and he followed. Down the road his recordings have received multiple Grammy Award nominations. His music has topped the Blues and Roots radio charts internationally. On stage his live shows have attracted guest performances by famous musicians such as Prince, Mick Taylor, Warren Haynes, David Lee Roth, Rick James and celebrity musicians such as Queen Latifah, Bruce Willis, and Dennis Quaid. He is the 2011 recipient of the Blues Foundation's prestigious "Keeping the Blues Alive" award. He's been praised in the pages of prominent Blues press including Blues Revue, Blueswax, Living Blues, Big City Blues, Blues Matters, and more.
His songs can be found on film and television productions including the soundtracks of Johnny Depp's film "Rum Diary" and the national PBS television program "Roadtrip Nation." Gary is featured in the KBA award winning harmonica documentary film "Pocket Full Of Soul." For over two decades Hohner has endorsed Allegretto. Allegretto is also a blues educator and recipient of the Blues Foundation's prestigious 2011 KBA Award in education. Recently Gary was chosen to be the first harmonica instructor at the Pinetop Perkins Foundation's Master Class 2012. He has taught harmonica in many other celebrated workshops including the Augusta Heritage Center's Blues Week, Telluride Blues Camp, Riverfront Blues Festival, California Traditional Music Society's Folk Festival, Tremblant International Blues Festival, John Gindick's Harmonica Jam Camp, the Folk Alliance Conference and Stax Music Academy in Memphis. Gary's "Blues in The Schools" program, has been featured by many Blues societies internationally and featured by the Blues Foundation in Memphis area schools as part of the 2008 and 2010 International Blues Challenge.
Of special note, Gary is the founder and director of Harmonikids (see www.harmonikids.org) which is a 501(c)3 non profit charitable organization that provides music therapy with harmonicas and lessons to special needs children internationally. His work has earned him the aforementioned 2011 KBA award and 2010 Artists for a Better World award. Allegretto has provided aid to special needs children from the earthquake devastated Port Au Prince, Haiti, to the tsunami refugee camps of North Sumatra, Indonesia to the Katrina evacuee trailer villages of Louisiana and many points in between. Harmonikids has received widespread acclaim in the media including The Today Show, PBS News programs, as well as Vogue, Blues Revue, Blues Matters, Big City Blues, and Living Blues Magazines.
Gary’s Early Years, Part 1
Gary’s Early Years, Part 2
Accompaniment Playing and Cowboy Music Defined
Importance of Singing
Importance of Songwriting
Harmonikids Program and Closing