The Expert Guides
Each Expert Guide has deep knowledge in one or more aspects of harmonica playing, performing, building, or other aspects of musicianship, and can help guide you to deepen your understanding and abilities. Joining founders Winslow Yerxa and Jason Ricci are three additional Expert Guides.
moves from strength to strength in his varied and wide ranging performing career. He is an award winning musician (Grammy Award in 2015, for playing on the final Johnny Winter album Step Back
, Blues Music Award in 2010 for Best Harmonica Player, and SPAH's Bernie Bray Harmonica Player of the Year Award in 2017). He has turned the harmonica world upside down, bringing new depths of expression to the instrument through his virtuosic chops, innovative approach, and deeply studied use of effects and amplification. His songwriting subjects go beyond traditional blues subjects, with fearlessly honest, soul-searing – yet humorous – songs that often chronicle his out-in-the-open battles with bipolar disorder and addiction. As a teacher, Jason’s generosity and enthusiasm in sharing his knowledge and love of music is contagious, and he conveys it with humor, clarity, and passion.
Learn directly from this brilliant teacher at the Harmonica Collective. Don't miss your opportunity to experience Jason at the Harmonica Collective 2020 Spring Gathering
top of page Jason Ricci's website
is the author of the books Harmonica For Dummies
(now translated into French, German, Russian, and Portuguese) and Blues Harmonica For Dummies
. In 2016 he received SPAH's Pete Pedersen Lifetime Achievement Award. He’s widely known as both a fine and original harmonica player in several styles and an expert on all aspects of harmonica playing. He has the uncanny knack of seeing something inside-out and then explaining it in a way that makes sense – and using it to make head-turning music. Connected to all things harmonica worldwide, Winslow can address nearly any question and at the Harmonica Collective 2020 Spring Gathering
will teach eye-opening approaches to music and the harmonica that will have you exploring fascinating universes you didn’t know existed. top of page Winslow Yerxa's website
is the real deal for old-school, authentic blues harp. He cut his blues teeth on Chicago’s legendary Maxwell Street, ground zero for Chicago blues, and played in the bands of blues legends Muddy Waters, Johnny Young, and Johnny Littlejohn before working with Duke Robillard and Eric Clapton. His blues pedigree is matched only by his teaching skills.
We’re honored to have this blues legend and master harmonica teacher at the Harmonica Collective this year. In addition to teaching at the Harmonica Collective 2020 Spring Gathering
, Jerry will do an in-depth interview with Jason Ricci and participate in a panel discussion with the other Expert Guides.
top of page Jerry Portnoy's website
grew up deeply imbued in both Irish traditional music and the blues, playing harmonica, tin whistle, bodhran (hand drum) and guitar. From his home base in Chicago, James performs (including a weekly train ride jam), records, and teaches. His phenomenal command of fast Irish tunes combines with a unique understanding of blues harmonica to produce a fascinating approach to music, which he communicates with clarity. At the Harmonica Collective 2020 Spring Gathering
, hearing him will inspire and excite you, while learning from him will open up a whole new world of ways to approach the harmonica.
top of page James Conway's website
, a former student of Jason Ricci, is a road-toughened independent performer who has toured the US, Japan, Canada, Italy, and Germany from her home base in Ottawa, Canada. As a player, she she seamlessly integrates guitar, harmonica, and violin, and infuses her original music partly with blues and folk and partly with her background as an indie rock bass player in the band Plumtree, whose song Scott Pilgrim
inspired a series of graphic novels and the major motion picture Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Catriona is also a patient and insightful teacher who teaches hundreds of beginning harmonica players every year and also some high-level pros in her native Canada. At the Harmonica Collective 2020 Spring Gathering
she will present classes focusing on confidence, relaxation, and delivering an effective performance. She will also coach individual players in conjunction with event producer Tom Watson
. (By the way, her name is pronounced ka-TREE-na – like the hurricane.)
top of page Catriona Sturton's website
This year’s Harmonica Collective will take place at The Alley in Sanford, Florida with complimentary breakfast and lunch provided as part of the price of admission.
Space is limited, so sign up here.