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Billy McLaughlin Concert & Workshop


On Saturday, September 15th, Billy McLaughlin will perform at 7:30 p.m. with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church which is located at 22331 Woodward Avenue in Ferndale 3 blocks south of 9 mile on West side of Woodward. Tickets are available at the door for $15, Seniors/Students $10 or can be purchased online at

In addition on Saturday afternoon Billy will be conducting a hands-on workshop from 3:00pm (sharp) – 5:00pm.  Space is limited, advanced reservation is required.   The Michigan Fingerstyle Guitar Society presents its workshop series in a non-competitive environment and welcomes guitarists of all skill levels.  Students can register or request information by contacting the MFGS office at 248-646-4030.  Cost is $40.

Billy McLaughlin is recognized as an innovative performer and composer who embraces the advantages of acoustic guitar amplification, unorthodox techniques and altered tunings while celebrating a gift for melody. His vision of an acoustic guitar that sounds as big as a grand piano but which plays fluidly like a violin has carried him around the world, to Billboard’s Top-Ten Chart and most recently through a devastating medical disorder called focal dystonia. McLaughlin is in the early stages of what might be described as “one of the great musical-comeback stories of all time.”

In 2001, McLaughlin's skills on the guitar were severely degraded. He could no longer perform most of his own repertoire. Knowing he could not deliver another recording to Narada, he negotiated an end to his record contract and sought medical treatment. Several months later Billy was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disorder called focal dystonia. Choosing to go against doctors’ recommendations to quit music and look for other work, McLaughlin focused on his songwriting and returned to his ensemble which was less demanding for his hands. Despite releasing his ensemble’s best recording, Finally – Live! in 2002, it was clear that focal dystonia had ended McLaughlin’s career as a virtuoso guitarist. 

Drawing upon every resource of faith, prayer, and determination, McLaughlin began the unlikely journey of teaching himself to play in his signature style, left-handed. Warned by doctors of a higher likelihood for developing focal dystonia in his remaining good hand, McLaughlin chose to press on towards an ambitious goal he had yet to achieve – to perform and record a new project with a string orchestra.
In January 2007, McLaughlin published a limited release of Into the Light, a concert recording of compositions for acoustic guitar with string orchestra. This collaboration with Grammy nominated arranger, Eugenio Toussaint, is McLaughlin’s first as a left-handed guitarist. Into the Light will be released nationally in the Fall of 2007 accompanied by a companion concert DVD.

“Many people fail because they quit too soon.” reads the fortune cookie saying McLaughlin taped to his dashboard in 2001 – it remains there to this day.  You can read more about Billy's story at his website

View Video Clips of Billy's new Documentary DVD

Michigan Fingerstyle Guitar Society

255 E. Brown St. Suite 101
Birmingham, MI. 48009
248-646-4030 Office
248-646-4598 Fax

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