Blues Guitar Workshop with Andy Cohen

Blues master Andy Cohen will offer a guitar workshop at the Cowan Center for the Arts. Andy has toured with blues greats including Brother Daniel Womack, Rev. Dan Smith, Jim Brewer, Honeyboy Edwards, and Martin, Bogan and Armstrong. Andy worked with Walt and Ethel Phelps, Big Joe Duskin, Pigmeat Jarrett, Etta Baker, Big Boy Henry, Son Thomas, and – for a brief time, the legendary Rev. Gary Davis. As a teacher, Andy patiently covers guitar techniques with an attention to detail that benefits players of all skill levels.

Here’s an example of Andy’s thorough and approachable teaching style. The volume of Andy’s voice in this video is a bit low, so you’ll probably want to adjust your speakers’ volume.


Cohen’s deep knowledge and understanding of the folk, blues, and roots musical traditions and his virtuoso finger-style guitar performances have won him acclaim in acoustic music circles. Over the years, Cohen has toured or worked with many of the blues greats including Rev. Gary Davis and Son Thomas, and has helped to support a number of his mentors and promising younger musicians by organizing festivals and other performances. He has also worked to spread his knowledge through classes, workshops, and, he says, “anywhere people are making music.” He has received the prestigious Eisteddford Award from the Folk Music Society of NY for “his outstanding contributions to the field of traditional music, as performer, collector, and advocate”, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the California Autoharp Gathering.

Cohen’s guitar workshop will be held on May 24 from 5 – 7 p.m. at Cowan Center for the Arts. The workshop will focus on Piedmont Blues fingerstyle guitar. Cohen says “What’s called Piedmont Blues is awfully similar to what’s called Travis Picking. Pickers who play a melody against a constant alternating bass line done with the thumb, and all the complications that arise from that interaction, distributed all over the South but more thickly in the eastern regions. The technique which probably arose in Africa, is common in both Black and White playing. Most early players used just the thumb and index finger to accomplish it.

“This workshop is designed to highlight the several secrets of one of those master players, Rev. Gary Davis, who was a school of music unto himself. If you can do even a little of his music, it illuminates all the rest of it and makes it accessible.” The workshop is limited to 15 participants, and costs $20 per person. The long running weekly Cowan Acoustic Jam will follow from 7 p.m. until 9:30 p.m., moving to the Center for the Arts this week from its usual location at the Franklin County Arts Guild’s Artisan Depot Gallery.

The workshop will be followed by the Cowan Accoustic Jam, which is open to beginners and experts alike. Don’t miss Andy’s concert on Friday evening.

Cowan Center for the Arts Theater
301 Montgomery St., Cowan, TN, 37318

Date(s) - 05/24/2018
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Bookings are closed for this event.