2011 Acoustic Guitar Boot Camp in Austria
Thomas Leeb / Tony McManus and more
Now open for booking.
February 13th, 2011
...in case you were wondering: no, I haven't fallen in a ditch somewhere! It's been a busy few months at the construction site of our home since I came back from the fall tour. While I am enjoying the hands-on aspect of things, I am very much looking forward to getting my life back!
I decided to skip the spring tour this year and move into the new house instead. I'd rather do it all right than have a half-done house and a half-done spring tour. All concerts that I usually play in spring will be this fall instead so I'm looking at a pretty intense tour in October 2011...
The new album sounds great - I've been listening to it in my car quite a bit and am still into it. Release date isn't firm yet but I'm thinking May-ish.
On the guitar side of things, another NAMM show came and went but this one was special because I got to take my very own Lowden Signature model home with me. Very very touched by that one.
And another piece of wonderful news is that Tony McManus is going to be teaching along Yours Truly at this year's Acoustic Guitar 'Boot Camp' in Austria.
October 5th, 2010
Wow, it's been quite a year! While I've spent more time going back and forth to our construction site (I am building a home for my family) the guitar side of things hasn't been dormant. This year started out with another NAMM show, the highlight of which was to play at a ceremony honoring Quincy Jones and Yoko Ono for their lifetime achievements. I got to shake hands with some real legends. And it looks like we'll have a Lowden Thomas Leeb signature model in 2011!
The spring tour was the usual whirlwind round of Europe - Austria, Germany, Italy and Ireland. Every five years I play the Guitarena in Spittal/Drau in Austria and this was one of these special years.
The annual boot camp saw hordes of guitar (and apparently beer-) hungry maniacs from all over the world converg in my Austrian home town of Turracher Höhe. My fellow teachers (most notably Stuart Ryan himself) and I had a blast and as far as I've heard I think the students enjoyed every minute of it as well. For 2011 we have already confirmed one of my personal all-time heroes for teaching the workshop alongside Yours Truly. Any more information at this point would compromise our agents in the field :-)
We also saw the fifth anniversary of Eric Roches death this September. I still miss him dearly but I'm sure his family misses him more. Having a child of my own makes the depth of their loss even more apparent to me. If you haven't already, buy his CDs or tablature from ericroche.com!
Well, I'm about to pack my bags and leave my wife and the little one for another month of gigs in Austria, England and Ireland. I hope to see you along the way.
Oh, and p.s.: I'm recording the new album the first week of November. Wheeee!
November 28th, 2009
Every time I come back home from tour I'm amazed and slightly surprised that it all went off without a hitch! There are so many little things that could go wrong and never really do - a broken string at the wrong time, a deer on the road, food poisoning, a careless baggage handler and so forth.
I got on the touring roller-coaster about six weeks ago and it sped through Ireland, England, Wales and Germany before dropping me back off in California again. Although this was probably the tour I've prepared the least for (a baby at home and a house to build take their toll :-) but for some reason the hit-miss ratio has improved quite a bit and I'm well pleased with how the new material works out on stage. There's some video footage from a gig in Nottingham I think should turn out great - you will find it a YouTube channel or DVD near you soon!
I also just realized that I got to hang out with every single one of the top young 'progressive' acoustic guitar players in Europe I know of - Jon Gomm, Stuart Ryan, Petteri Sariola and Newton Faulkner. And it was great to catch up with Mr. Guthrie Govan as well. I'm honored to count such great musicians among my friends - if you haven't heard of one or more of them, make sure to check them out.
Enough of the name-dropping, I've got to go back to catch up on cuddling my wife and baby daughter and thinking what woods I'll pick for the Lowden Thomas Leeb signature model. Oh, and I have a house to build as well :-)
Life is good.
May 2nd 2009
Introducing the new model Leeb! Asha was born in the middle of March and we're both madly in love with her. She's a bit on the white side (mom's black) but we decided not to give her back and try to start her out with some James Brown songs. We'll see if that helps.
So yeah, I've been out of touch for months and don't care. We're building a home on a piece of land in an area we love. Still in the permit process to build the house, which is just about the most tedious thing I've ever done in my life but makes me appreciate what I really do for a living all the more. It feels like a waste of time but once it is done, I can focus on what I do even more. Plus, we'll be able to start off a Boot Camp for the Americans as well.
The upside is that I'm working on some good stuff that should pass the test of time like most the other ones have. I'm enjoying the baritone guitar a lot. Even Bach isn't safe from me these days.
Speaking of birthdays - my album 'riddle' just had it's 10th anniversary. Time flies, doesn't it?
I'm off to a tour of Ireland and Austria and a week-end teaching at Don Ross' Cannington Guitar week-end in Canada. Very excited about the trip but not so happy to leave my baby daughter behind.
Thank you all for your support and friendship!
March 16th 2009
My wife and I are expecting an addition to the family this April so we have enjoyed the last few months with each other immensely and we are excited about meeting our first child! As you can imagine, my creative juices are flowing and I'm excited to bring some new material on tour with me. But it will be hard to leave the baby and my wife for a month and go on tour. I didn't expect issues like this when I decided to play the guitar. Be careful what you wish for!
Albums now available on i-Tunes
Acoustic Guitar magazine article
Newton Faulkner singing praise on Yours Truly on MySpace, LAist and the Washington Post
Big article in the Irish News
somebody wrote about Thomas on Wikipedia
Interview with FingerStyleChina.com
Desert Pirate reviewed by Minor7th.com
Nov. 2nd 2008
Hello from Zurich Airport Hotel!
I'm in the middle of a 38-date-tour through eight countries in Europe at the moment and finally found the time and muse to write a much-needed update.
Even though I've been quiet for most of this year it has been quite an eventful one.
First of all my dad's illness which has kept the family on our toes since January but that's now fortunately all sorted and he's back home again and well.
The biggest news item of all of them is that I am going to become a father in April 2009. You can imagine how happy and excited we are about that.
The boot camp was lots of fun again this year, with lots of people from all around the world coming to my the place where I grew up. I am looking forward to next year's workshop too and can promise you a brilliant line-up of teachers!
See you at one of the gigs or in 2009!
June 13th 2008
sorry I've been out of touch - my dad's been in an intensive care unit for months after a nasty fall so that's been a clear priority in my life - I'm sure you'll understand. I originally intended to keep the two thirds of this year relatively clear of travelling and playing live but that wasn't meant to be. Oh, well.
The gigs in Austria in April went really well and I've tested the new songs live as well. I'm usually a bit of a scaredicat when it comes to playing new stuff in front of people and tend to practice for months but this time I just went and played it. Felt good (except the very first time, haha). But if you take a leap you sometimes fall flat on your face. Just get up and try again.
Another great thing is that I went to see Newton Faulkner a few weeks ago - he learned 'The Hard Can' when Eric transcribed it for Guitar Techniques all those years ago, found his own style, started singing over it and landed at the top of the charts! It was great to meet him although there wasn't much time to hang out. Check him out - he's a great performer!
We're off to Austria next week (again) - happy to escape the worst of the California heat and looking forward to the boot camp!
Feb. 22nd 2008
Another long-overdue update!
NAMM was fun but exhausting as usual. One of the things I love about that show is that it is starting to feel like a bit like a family reunion - you keep bumping into old friends and making new ones. I was really happy I finally got to meet Don Ross. I've been aware of for a long, long time (even learned his 'First Ride' in 1996) and finally met him when him and Andy McKee stopped by to say hello .
It's media month again - there's a big article/interview with me in this month's 'Guitarist' magazine (# 300, UK/Ireland) and as far as I know there should also be a huge interview/article on me in the coming German "Akustik-Gitarre" which is fantastic because I used to read that when I started out.
You can also find Eric Roche's arrangement of Van Halen's 'Jump' which I transcribed in this month's 'Acoustic Guitar'. Apart from the fact that it should give Eric's cause a bit of a boost. I'm really chuffed I get to write for them sometimes - AG is the biggest acoustic guitar magazine out there!
A NAMM story worth mentioning: I was playing 'Desert Pirate' and suddenly somebody who honestly looked a bit like a California bum/hippie snuck up next to me and started singing along and dancing. He had a fantastic voice and great sense of time - I thought it was hilarious but at the same time a bit rude because I was trying to perform for a group of people! I laughed, leaned towards him and said "you're crazy, man" and kept on playing. After I was done, a camera guy (ubiquitous at NAMM) comes up to me and tells me about a documentary they are doing about Jon Anderson and would I mind if they used the video they just took. I said: "Who's Jon Anderson?" and he said "The singer from 'Yes'!". So I guess I must have pissed off somebody really famous by being a bit rude. But he was a bit rude too, so whatever. I told them I wanted to see the footage first...
Jan. 25th 2008
I'm sorry for having to cancel/move the Knitting Factory and Verity Room gigs in Los Angeles but I had to fly to Austria on short notice. This is the first time I've cancelled a show so this is important. I'm sure you'll understand.
I'll be back in California on February fifth and all concerts will go ahead as planned.
Jan. 4th 2008
2007 was fantastic - and I have high hopes for 2008 as well! The concerts in Croatia, the UK and Ireland went down really well and I think I've found a good way of keeping myself fresh on tour by simply avoiding 3 1/2 months of gigs everyday but about a month maximum. Am at home at the moment, writing some new stuff, arranging more. A Lowden baritone guitar will join the famly in a few weeks and I'm REALLY looking forward to what I'll come up with on that thing.
What else is there to look forward to? A quick jump to Belgium for the Verviers Guitar Festival (should brush up on my French for that one) and the Austria tour this spring which I'm in the process of setting up.
Nov. 3rd 2007
THE DESERT PIRATE HAS ARRIVED
...and a whole bunch of videos are online now as well - feel free to send these to everybody you know :-)
will start packing tomorrow - almost 30 gigs in as many days in Croatia, the UK and Ireland. Can't wait....
Oct. 24th 2007
just finished a two-week bout of manic tablature writing....some of it with flames closing in on the house and some of it in a car because we were evacuated and had to spend the night in a parking lot. I'm not joking.
The digital tab book will be done tomorrow and I've updated the shop area for that and the NEW ALBUM which should be here just in time before I leave for Croatia, the UK and Ireland!
Sample tracks to 'Desert Pirate' can be found on my MySpace page.
And we've done some photo and video shoots which you'll see soon too. The website is also about to receive an update.
Sept. 5th, 2007
It's been a fantastic summer - My yearly residential guitar workshop "boot camp" was brilliant due to a magic constellation of students, teachers and great weather on the mountain. I'm already excited about next year!
2007 guitar boot camp pictures here
...and here are some from Matt B.
The music festivals in Aflenz (A), the IGF Bath (UK), Lewes (UK), Limerick (IRE), Hersbruck (GER) and Bregenz (A) as well as all the concerts in between also were a lot of fun and on the top of it all I recorded the new album 'Desert Pirate' in two days at the Hitbox Altenburg where 'riddle' and 'Upside Down' were also done. For those two albums we've tried to achieve a 'larger-than-life' type of sound but this time we are aiming at RFB (really f***ing big). We must have hit the target because a manic grin keeps spreading across my face while listening to the near-final mixes. Am very excited about this one - it should be out in October. Featuring new original tunes as well as a cover of Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry" and Bjork's "Isobel".
The only bad news: I have to write quite a bit of tablature in the next month, which is not much fun at all!
June 18th, 2007
Spring Tour picture diary online
It's been a while - after this round-the-world tour, trying to play live and reach as many of you as possible, I urgently needed a few weeks off.
But I'm writing quite a bit these days and looking forward to a busy summer! Highlights include recording sessions for the new album, my own summer workshop, guitar festivals in Austria, Germany, England (two) and Ireland and a few concerts along the way here and there.
As far as the tour retrospective goes, I've noticed that I started repeating myself so instead of doing the usual "tour went well", "I think I played well", "it was great to see xyxy", "thanks to xyz" etc.... I thought I'd treat you to a picture diary from this mad dash around the world. Enjoy!
April 4th, 2007
We're both happy and sad that the summer workshop is completely full. Please e-mail me anyway so you can be the first to know about next year's workshop.
I'm in Austria at the moment, enjoying a couple of days 'break' in the middle of a spring tour which spans six countries and three continents... I also just spent a day and a half answering left-over e-mails.
NEWS: I'm very happy to announce that I have joined Cornford Records - a record label which is also home to the fantastic Guthrie Govan. This is a bit of an adventure as Cornford Records are basically known for extreme electric guitar playing but we think my acoustic antics should go down well with the shredder crowd.
Hello everybody -
another year, another NAMM show - I will post some pictures soon. It's always so much fun to spend time with the folks from Lowden Guitars and play their beautiful guitars. And there are many friends and colleagues from all over the world I usually only come across at the major trade shows! Playing there was a lot of work - it's tricky to get a crowd from passing (and mostly jaded) industry-types but it's a great work-out and testing ground for new material. Which I've incidentally been working on in the weeks 'off' since as well.
The workshop for this summer is sold out - we're still taking people's names down for a waiting list in case of cancellations and for next year but we're full. Whee!!!
I'm writing this at Chicago O'Hare airport - I've been re-routed on account of the snow storms and have four hours to spend here.... Well, at least I finally get to write something for the website :-)
The next week I'll be blazing through Missouri, Kansas and Colorado with my friends and fellow guitar slingers Andy McKee and Dan LaVoie - I'm very much looking forward to these concerts - it will be great to play and hang out with them and grab the 'middle' of America by the ears!
See you all soon!
December 23rd 2006
You can find the look back on the tour of Taiwan and Korea here - and pictures are here
I am enjoying a few weeks 'off' at the moment before the road will eat me again -the spring tour will start off with a few dates in the US with my friend Andy McKee, the on to Japan, on to Germany, Austria, UK, Ireland and then back to California... So I am using this rare occasion to write, organize and prepare for 2007. I have so many ideas rushing around in my head at the moment - I haven't felt like this since 1998 when I wrote the material for 'riddle'.
2007 will be a good year :-)
November 22nd 2006
If I get sick before I go to Korea this kid can play my shows for me... video
November 15th 2006
Sam is a good friend of mine and his daughter Niamh is probably my youngest (definitely the cutest) fan and is playing the opening bar of 'riddle' for you in this video. If she keeps practicing like that I'll have to look for a new job!