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Genre: Acoustic

Sound description: If heaven had a house guitarist, Earp would be eligible.

RIYL: Phil Keaggy, Joe Mersch, Pierre Bensusan

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Synoposis

Influences: Phil Keaggy, Richard Thompson, Alex De Grassi, Davy Spillane, Billy Mclaughlin, Bruce Cockburn, Jim Croce, Gordon Lightfoot, Pierre Bensusan, James Taylor, Jackson Browne

Background:

Jim Earp has been playing guitar since 1973. He describes his playing style as "noveau-celtic-classical-folk." His guitar of choice is a custom Rosewood 6-String Cutaway and a Steinberger GM.

In 2009, Earp went to the annual Walnut Valley Music Festival in Winfield, Kansas, and came home with honors. Earp says he tied for fourth place in the International Finger Style Guitar Championship out of a field of 40 competitors from around the globe. Did he win a prize? No, he says. “First, second and third-place winners take home guitars and trophies. I got a nice little plaque that doubles as a microwave hot plate. In fourth place you’re an also-ran,” he says, “but it’s nice.”

Earp says that he finds the atmosphere at Winfield (that’s what the locals call the festival, now in its 38th year) more collegial than the scene here on his home turf.

“When I made the finals this year, the second-place winner from last year greeted me and introduced himself and gave me his business card and was all smiles and very friendly. In contrast, when I do an acoustic showcase in San Diego and there are singer-songwriters onboard, I can usually muster up friendly conversation before the show. But, I am hard-pressed to see those same formerly talkative folks saying so much as a word to me after the show. I chalk it up to the general strong competitiveness that’s intrinsic to singer-songwriters and the fact that there isn’t always a lot of friendliness from singer-songwriters toward acoustic artists who approach things differently than they do.”

What song did Earp play that caught the judges’ ears at Winfield? “I performed a hymn, an arrangement of ‘Jesus Loves Me’ from my third collection of hymns. I turned it into a Celtic dance piece. I’ve made the finals twice with that song.”

And as for the local attitude? “Suffice it to say, I prefer setting up my own local acoustic-music showcases these days,” Earp says. “I just make sure the local songwriters I bring in — most of which are below the local-scene radar — are pretty secure in what they do and don’t carry around a lot of the aforementioned baggage.”

By 2017, Earp had twice been a top five finalist in the International Fingerstyle Guitar Championship, and had released over a half dozen solo instrumental CDs.

Discography

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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