“When I do a solo show, I don’t have a planned set,” explains banjo and guitar player Tony Furtado, who appears at GIG Performance Space at 7:30 p.m. on December 13. “I pick instrumental and vocal tunes from different albums, whatever I feel like doing at the moment.”
A banjo player since the age of 12 who writes that he was inspired to learn the instrument after watching the television show “The Beverly Hillbillies,” Furtado plays original and folk cover tunes as a solo, duo and trio act and with his five-person band in venues around the country. He’s also an accomplished slide guitarist who’s very attached to his 1944 Martin O-17 guitar that he found in a store in Salt Lake City.
A solo show in a space as intimate as GIG’s gives Furtado the opportunity to share his stories and music in a personal way. Many of the concerts that Furtado has presented through the years have been collaborations with blues, bluegrass, country, folk and jazz musicians including Gregg Allman, Alison Krauss and Kelly Joe Phelps.
A native of California who now calls Oregon home, Furtado first attracted attention in 1987 when he won the National Bluegrass Banjo Championship. He signed a record deal with Rounder Records in 1990 and recorded six albums for the label.
During the late 1990s, Furtado began playing the slide guitar, singing and songwriting and formed his own band. He’s been a guest artist at many of the world’s top music festivals, including the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, High Sierra Music Festival, Kerrville Folk Festival and San Jose Jazz Festival.
Expect to hear some tunes from Furtado’s 2017 release “Cider House Sessions-Live at Reverend Nat’s” as well as older songs at his GIG concert.
“I love playing live,” says Furtado on his website. “All my energy is focused on the love of playing music and rolling with the moment. It’s a give and take from the audience to the stage, and back. And the music that is created is something that otherwise might not occur without that flow.”