August 2008

Sponsored By


You Tube Link


Name:   Jamie Stillway                                 Age:       31

Currently Reside:    Portland, Oregon





I was born in Sacramento, CA, but spent most of my formidable years in Hastings, MN.



First guitar: 

First guitar:  I can't recall the brand name, but it was a rather inexpensive acoustic/electric with a cutaway.  I also had a little Fender Squire amp.  Nothing like trying to coax distortion out of an acoustic with an electric amp!


 At what age did you start playing guitar and why? 

I started around age 13.  My stepbrother had come home one day with a red Stratocaster copy that his friend had lent him.   Being the flailing saxophonist that I was, I had apparently been seeking other musical outlets.  I do believe the first song, well, riff I learned was "Smoke on the Water."


Early Influences:

Due to the fact that I was firmly ensconced in my teenage years at the onset of my guitar playing, I was undoubtedly swayed by popular music of the day.  Eric Clapton's "Unplugged" album came out shortly after I started playing guitar; when I realized I could comprehend the tablature for "Layla" in a guitar magazine, a whole new world opened up.  Mind you, I had also started classical guitar lessons around the same time, so I was also heavily influenced by my teacher, Jeff Brueske.


First gig

I often refer to my first gig as my first appearance at an open mic in Santa Barbara, CA.  At that point, I knew I wanted to be a professional musician, and you have to start somewhere.  I played "Steel Guitar Rag" and just remember that my fingertips were so sweaty that my thumb pick fell off.   Any time I get nervous before a gig, I think about that experience, and know that I can't possibly be as nervous as I was then!


Acoustic Guitars you own: 

1921 Gibson L-1, an Alvarez-Yairi nylon string guitar, Santa Cruz OM-PW, National Reso-phonic Style O, and a Stevens O-BW.


Favorite Guitar: 

It depends on the day you ask.

Okay, Since I'm featuring Stout Street rag streaming on this page, what guitar did you use that day?

Twas my Santa Cruz.


Your Style, and how you developed it: 

I often refer to it as a ragtime-classical-Gypsy jazz mish mash.  I started with classical guitar lessons in high school, went off to college and didn't really play for a few years, and then started taking ragtime/blues finger picking lessons.  After I moved to Denver, I developed an interest in Gypsy jazz, and actually had a short stint as a rhythm guitarist in a Gypsy jazz ensemble.  It wasn't until I relocated to Portland that I really began composing my own material, and was finally able to incorporate all of those different elements.  I think it must have been all the rain that keeps one inside during the notoriously wet and dark winters here.  And strong coffee.


Practice Regimen: 

I've been doing some side-person gigs lately, so I've been spending a fair amount of time working on learning new tunes.  In the past, I've been known to have a pretty respectable practice regimen; practicing for 4-5 hours per day, running scales, arpeggios, studying jazz tunes.   Nowadays, I'm more apt to just sit down with my guitar, and see what comes out.  I don't pay much attention to the time, as I've discovered that when I watch the clock, I'm not very focused. 


Favorite Artist(s): 

Just a few, in no particular order:  Bela Fleck, Pat Donohue, Bob Brozman, Chris Thile, Alison Brown, Queen. 


Is there anything else you want people to know about you, your playing style or your views on today's music in general?  

I want people to understand that it's perfectly legitimate to be an instrumental guitarist who happens to be female.  If I had a nickel for every time I've been asked, "do you sing?"  Or told, "you're pretty good, for a girl," I'd be rich!  I understand that I haven't chosen an easy path with my style, but instead of people immediately disregarding it due to its instrumental nature, I would hope folks can find a quiet, centered place in themselves where they can absorb the nuances and subtleties in this music.  But, in terms of playing live, when you consider that most venues are really just hoping that the musicians will bring in people to buy their alcohol, it makes it really tricky to have this attitude and be a performer. 


What are your immediate, short-term aspirations? 

Besides selling more of the CD's that are piling up in my basement?  Let's see.  Of course, I'm always hoping to improve my guitar playing in some way.   I'm also hoping to start teaching at guitar workshops, and I'd also like to travel to Madagascar to study Malagasy guitar styles.

"Buy" the way, to purchase Jamie's said CD's , CLICK HERE!!! (Eric's shameless mid interview plug)  Okay, back to business...


What do you do when you aren't playing guitar? 

I really enjoy staying fairly active, since I spend so much time on my rump with a guitar in my hands.  Since I'm not too keen on driving my car, and Portland is such a great town for bicycle commuting, I spend a lot of my time riding my bicycle around.  I also enjoy playing tennis, juggling clubs, and cooking.  I'm also hoping that a ping-pong table will come into my life soon.


What feeds you and pays the bills? 

Teaching.  I've been teaching private guitar lessons for the last 10 years, and have also recently started teaching guitar at a high school in downtown Portland.  And depending how self-motivated I am, performance gigs also help feed me and pay the bills.


And finally, what's the coolest (music-related) thing that has happened to you? 

I'd have to say getting an endorsement from Stevens Guitar of Munich.  Every time I pick up that guitar, I think to myself, "I can't believe they just gave this to me!"  I love that guitar, and am honored to have received it. 

Here's a tune called "Stout Street Rag", from her 2005 CD Mell of a Hess


It should already have played, but just click below to hear it again.

This catchy little tune was used in all of the radio advertising for

the Newport Guitar Festival in Miami Beach back in April this year.

If the music isn't already playing in Safari Browser Get the plug-in here!!

And please visit her website www.jamiestillway.com to learn more about Jamie and her music.


If you are a guitarist with a CD out and would like to be featured here please contact us.

AOTM Archives:

August 2008 - Danny Combs
March 2006 - Bryan Clark
Februry 2006 - Darin Leong
January 2006 - Andy McKee
December 2005 - Don Alder
November 2005 - Doug Young
October 2005 - Nancy Conescu
August - September 2005 - Warren Greig
July 2005 - Ian Melrose
June 2005 - Roger Lasley
May 2005 - Jim Tozier
April 2005 - Jessica Papkoff
March 2005 - Todd Habekost
February 2005 - Michael Hewett
January 2005 - Steve Barney
December 2004 - Tony McManus
November 2004 - Chris Newman
October 2004 - Kevin Kastning
September 2004 - Rick Duke
August 2004 - El McMeen
June-July 2004 - Charles David Alexander
May 2004 - Tony Capri
April 2004 - Shane Simpson
March 2004 - Bill Cooley
February 2004 - Greg Meckes
January 2004 - Gary Leek
December 2003 - Ernie Hawkins
November 2003 - Keith Knight
October 2003 - Jaquie Gipson
September 2003 - Chuck Durfor
August 2003 - Cathy Horner
July 2003 - Art Edelstein
June 2003 - Muriel Anderson
May 2003 - Clarelynn Rose
March-April 2003 - Steve Wildey
February 2003 - Rick Ruskin
January 2003 - Kerry Kling
December 2002 - Tim O'Brien
November 2002 - Howard Emerson
October 2002 - Dennis Roger Reed
September 2002 - Larry Pattis
August 2002 - Paul Asbell