Neil Dixon Smith
I am a solo guitarist based in Chicago. I have been performing professionally as a soloist since 2004, most often providing live instrumental background music for events of all types: dinner/cocktail parties, gallery openings, corporate receptions, fundraising banquets, wine tastings, memorial services, and weddings. Increasingly I have also been performing in concert settings, including esteemed Chicago venues such as MayneStage, Uncommon Ground and City Winery.
I love everything about being a solo guitarist - the physicality of the instrument itself, the range of emotion and energy, the endless variety of techniques and ways to produce different sounds and rhythms - and I was lucky enough to have been presented with a path to learning music that I believe exercises the full range of expression the instrument has to offer.
I perform a very unique repertoire of "old school" popular, classical and folkloric guitar music from Latin America, along with some great works of Spanish classical guitar. I learned this music from a decade-long apprenticeship with a master guitarist from Chile, Alfonso Chacon (1934-2011).
Anytime I play you'll be hearing a mix of music from Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Ecuador, Chile and Puerto Rico. It may be high energy cocktail party music, or mellow and romantic. The music I play is rootsy and tropical while also elegant and graceful. I play to the purpose of the event and the energy of the room.
My mission as a guitarist is twofold: first, musically, to go deeper into Afro/Latin rhythms, and continue to learn classic tunes within styles such as cumbia, bossa nova, son, milonga, joropo, and festejo developing new finger-picking techniques that I also use to create original music. Secondly, professionally, to continue to bring this music to every conceivable live performance space the world has to offer: dining rooms, patios, concert halls, art galleries, restaurants, churches, conference rooms, you name it.
I perform solo, as well as in a duo with percussionist Janet Cramer as Neil & Janet de los EEUU. We released a debut EP called 2017 Demonstrations that I think pretty exciting music. You can learn more about Neil & Janet here: