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GUITAR CENTER CROWNS MATT O’REE
THE NEXT KING OF THE BLUES
— New Jersey guitarist takes reign at the nation’s largest
guitar competition —
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA, July 24, 2006 — Showcasing
his musical talents in front of a packed house at the House of Blues
Chicago, New Jersey’s Matt O’Ree was crowned the nation’s
best undiscovered blues guitarist at Guitar Center’s (Nasdaq:GTRC)
2006 Guitarmageddon: King of the Blues grand finals. In addition to
the King of the Blues battle between the nation’s top seven amateur
guitarists, Guitar Center helped kick off the Chicago Blues Festival
with a collaborative performance by legendary blues guitarist B.B. King
and GRAMMY® award-winning artist John Mayer, who paid tribute to
the genre’s roots, according to Jay Wanamaker, Executive Vice
President, General Merchandise Manager for Guitar Center.
"Guitar Center's King of the Blues gives aspiring
artists the opportunity to become nationally recognized for their talents
and further their careers.” Wanamaker said. “From sharing
the stage with blues greats B.B. King and John Mayer to fronting a band
led by GRAMMY award winner Pete Anderson, this was truly a night they’ll
never forget. We hope a successful music career lies ahead for each
of our talented contestants.”
In addition to the competition and exclusive joint performance
with King and Mayer, Guitar Center assembled a group of L.A.-based hip-hop
musicians to open the event with a special one-time set orchestrated
by the Beat Junkies’ DJ J ROCC. To further illustrate the resurgence
of the blues, the special set featured classic blues samples mixed in
with today’s top hip-hop tracks.
Representing Holmel, NJ, 34-year-old O’Ree has played
blues guitar for more than 20 years. O’Ree is known as a top-notch
performer and instructor throughout the New York blues scene. Aside
from connecting with the crowd, O’Ree stood apart from the other
six contestants with his rock-influenced style of the blues.
“The King of the Blues experience was bigger and
better than I ever could have imagined,” said O’Ree. “To
share the stage and shake hands with B.B. King — one of the blues’
greats — was the most memorable moment of my life. By being able
to perform in front of industry legends and receive such recognition,
Guitar Center has provided me with the opportunity to develop my career
well beyond what I could have done on my own.”
O’Ree was selected from more than 4,000 undiscovered
guitarists nationwide who participated in the four-tiered competition
that began in February 2006. According to the 10 judges, which included
Rick Neilson (Cheap Trick), Hubert Sumlin (Descriptor), Dave Mason (Traffic),
and Marcy Levy (Eric Clapton), O’Ree excelled in the categories
of originality, technique, style, stage presence and overall performance.
In addition to the coveted “King of the Blues”
title, O’Ree took home more than $40,000 in prizes, including
a 2006 Scion tC, a trip to L.A. to record with GRAMMY-winning producer
Pete Anderson, a one-year Gibson endorsement deal, a Gibson ‘59
reissue, and a Gibson GA20 amplifier, among other prizes.
Photo File: ORee_King.JPG
Photo Caption: Pictured are Guitarmageddon: King of the Blues champion
Matt O’Ree (left) and legendary blues guitarist B.B. King. Photo
by Robert Knight.
Photo File: ORee.JPG
Photo Caption: Guitarmageddon: King of the Blues champion Matt O’Ree
gives his award-winning performance at the House of Blues in Chicago.
Photo by Robert Knight.
Photo File: Mayer_ORee.JPG
Photo Caption: GRAMMY®-winning artist John Mayer (left), who helped
kick off Guitar Center’s 2006 Guitarmageddon: King of the Blues
grand finals, is pictured with champion Matt O’Ree. Photo by Robert
…ends 466 words
About Guitar Center
Guitar Center is the leading United States retailer of guitars, amplifiers,
percussion instruments, keyboards and pro-audio and recording equipment.
Our retail store subsidiary presently operates 183 Guitar Center stores
across the United States. In addition, our Music & Arts division
operates 90 stores specializing in band instruments for sale and rental,
serving teachers, band directors, college professors and students. We
are also the largest direct response retailer of musical instruments
in the United States through our wholly owned subsidiary, Musician’s
Friend, Inc., and its catalog and web site, www.musiciansfriend.com.
More information on Guitar Center can be found by visiting the Company’s
web site at www.guitarcenter.com.
The Guitar Center logo is a registered trademark of Guitar Center,
Inc. Other brand or product names may be trademarks of the respective
companies with which they are associated.
MEDIA CONTACT: Robert Clyne, Neilson/Clyne at (615) 662-1616