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Al Petteway

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Biography

Fingerstyle acoustic guitarist Al Petteway has been playing in bands since the early '70s. By the time he launched his own solo recording career in the '90s, Petteway had created an original playing style combining Celtic tunings and phrases with American themes. Petteway was bitten by the music bug at an early age due to the British Invasion and by the age of 11, was playing in several rock and folk acts in the Washington, D.C., area (alternating between guitar, drums, and bass). Upon attending college in 1969, Petteway broadened his musical horizons by playing with the Old Dominion University Madrigal Singers, the school's jazz and symphonic bands, plus the Norfolk Ballet Orchestra. In the late '70s, music briefly took a back seat in Petteway's life as he became the supervisor of picture editing for the National Geographic Society, but he eventually teamed with mandolinist Akira Otsuka to become a regular attraction at the renowned folk club the Birchmere, in Alexandria, VA. Otsuka and Petteway issued a critically acclaimed album together around this time (calling themselves Grazz Matazz) — Delinquent Minor — which featured guest appearances by Béla Fleck, Jethro Burns, and Mike Auldridge, and won a Washington Area Music Association Wammie award for Best Album of 1985. A couple of years later, Petteway formed the Al Petteway Quartet, an all acoustic and instrumental trio comprised of Petteway, Otsuka, and Mary-Chapin Carpenter guitarist John Jennings, resulting in such releases as Whispering Stones and The Waters and the Wild. Further Petteway albums appeared throughout the decade and beyond, including 1995's Midsummer Moon, 1997's Caledon Wood, and a pair of releases in 2000 that were collaborations with his wife, Amy White: Racing Hearts and Groovemasters, Vol. 3: Gratitude. In addition to his own recordings, Petteway has played on numerous recordings by other artists over the years, including Cheryl Wheeler, Jonathan Edwards, the Smith Sisters, Debi Smith, Grace Griffith, Susan Graham White, Maggie Sansone, and Bonnie Rideout, among others.

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