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.
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). Jason has turned the harmonica world upside down with his virtuosic playing, soul-searing songs, and out-in-the-open battles with bipolar disorder and addiction. His generosity and enthusiasm in sharing his knowledge and love of music is contagious, and he conveys it with humor, clarity, and passion.
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
. He’s widely known as both a fine and original harmonica player in several styles and an expert on all aspects of harmonica playing. In 2016 he received SPAH's Pete Pedersen Lifetime Achievement Award.top of page Winslow Yerxa's website
cut his blues teeth on Chicago’s legendary Maxwell Street, and toured and recorded with Muddy Waters and Eric Clapton. We’re honored to have this blues legend and master harmonica teacher at the Harmonica Collective this year. In addition to teaching, 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. From his home base in Chicago he 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.
top of page James Conway's website
, a former student of Jason Ricci, has toured the US, Japan, Canada, Italy, and Germany from her home base in Ottawa, Canada, accompanying her songs with harmonica, guitar, and violin. An road-toughened independent performer whose songs have inspired graphic novels and a major motion picture, she is also a patient and insightful teacher who will present classes and 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.