Songcraft: Spotlight on Songwriters Podcast

John Jorgenson

Ep. 95 - John Jorgenson
Beautiful Sound: The Divertuosic Guitarist/Instrumentalist/Composer


Scott and Paul chat about genres of music that are virtually represented by a single artist.

PART TWO -  8:23 mark
Find out how you can win a signed John Jorgenson CD and hear some great bloopers and outtakes from our interview!

PART THREE - 10:41 mark
Our in-depth interview with 3-time AMA Guitarist of the Year and official "US Ambassador of Gypsy Jazz" John Jorgenson.

* Click the orange play button below to begin listening. Or click here to download to your device.

John stops by Songcraft World Headquarters to talk about why he asked his school band teacher to assign him to the hardest instrument; how Disneyland became his musical proving ground; the "slightly devious" way he got Chris Hillman to co-found the Desert Rose Band; how his group the Hellecasters navigated the writing process with three guitar-slinging superstars; what he learned from watching Elton John write songs; why he turned down auditions to tour with Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen; how he ended up collaborating with Brad Paisley, Rodney Crowell, JD Souther, Peter Frampton, and other greats; and how his Django Reinhardt obsession led to his becoming the American master of  gypsy jazz. 

Named “one of the most respected guitarists in the world” by the Los Angeles Times, John Jorgenson is a musician and composer who is not easily pigeonholed. The three-time ACM Guitarist of the Year first rose to prominence as a founder of The Desert Rose Band, which landed eight Top 10 singles on the Billboard country chart between 1987 and 1990. He went on to co-found The Hellecasters, an instrumental guitar trio whose debut release earned Album of the Year honors from Guitar Player magazine.

In the 1990s Jorgenson spent six years touring and recording in Elton John’s band and released a collaborative instrumental album with Elton’s longtime guitarist Davey Johnstone.

In the following decade Jorgenson firmly established himself as a preeminent interpreter and innovator in a different genre, earning the official designation as the “US Ambassador of Gypsy Jazz.” The John Jorgenson Quintet has released a handful of highly regarded gypsy jazz albums while John has continued to record with artists such as Bonnie Raitt, John Prine, Bob Seger, Barbra Streisand, Kenny Chesney, Earl Scruggs, Luciano Pavarotti, Amy Grant, Lionel Richie, and many others.

In 2006 Peter Frampton won the Best Instrumental Album Grammy for Fingerprints, which featured a song performed and composed with Jorgenson called "Souvenirs de Nos Pères (Memories of Our Fathers)" In 2009 Jorgenson took home a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance for his work alongside fellow pickers James Burton, Vince Gill, Albert Lee, Brent Mason, Redd Volkaert, and Steve Wariner on Brad Paisley’s “Cluster Pluck.” “If there’s one guitar player I’d like to be,” Paisley has said, “it would be John Jorgenson.”

In 2015, John released Divertuoso, a three disc album that features his three current performing bands: The John Jorgenson Electric Band, The John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band, and the gypsy jazz of the John Jorgenson Quintet.

Songcraft's John Jorgenson Playlist: Spotify users can select the song you'd like to hear below, or simply start the player and enjoy more than an hour-and-a-half sampling of John's original compositions across a variety of styles and bands. If you don't have a Spotify account, follow the prompts to sign up for free. Click this link to take you directly to the playlist in the Spotify web player.