Guitarists front and center at ‘Six String Fling’

  • Photo by Gerald Besson

    Kona’s Colin John is among the guitarists featured in the “Six String Fling: Big Island’s Masters of Guitar” concert Friday (March 15) at the Palace Theater in Hilo.

  • Photo by Laura Ruminski

    “Lightnin’ Larry” Dupio is among the guitarists featured in “The Six String Fling: Big Island Masters of Guitar” concert Friday at the Palace Theater in Hilo.

Six of the Big Island’s top guitar slingers will burn up the fret boards Friday night at the Palace Theater in Hilo.

“The Six String Fling: Big Island’s Masters of Guitar” will feature Larry Dupio, Colin John, Tomi Isobe, David Lawrence, Steve Fundy and Dan Corippo with the band Bottle of Blue.

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Showtime is 7 p.m. Admission is $35 in advance, $40 the day of show. Tickets are available at the Palace box office, by calling 934-7010 or online at eventbrite.com.

The concert concept is the brainchild of Bottle of Blue frontman Scott Reagan.

“We did the first Six String Fling back in September at the Aloha Theatre in Kainaliu. It was an almost sold-out show,” Reagan told the Tribune-Herald. “We’re bringing it to Hilo because a lot of people said, ‘When are you bringing it to the east side?’”

Reagan said Bottle of Blue will back all the featured artists, including the band’s own lead guitarist, Corippo. Reagan said that will save on down time between acts that happens with multiple bands and give concertgoers more music.

The only change from the Kona show in September is Colin John, a Kona-based musician who steps in because Larry Seyer, who played the original show, isn’t available. John, like a lot of Big Island musicians, plays solo and duo gigs around the island, including an occasional Saturday night at the Hilo Burger Joint. An Ohioan with dual U.S.-United Kingdom citizenship who still tours on the mainland, he came to the islands in the early 2000s, and at one time played in the Saturday night house band at B.B. King’s Memphis club.

“I sat in with Bottle of Blue on New Year’s Eve at a little shindig that they did at Aloha Theatre in Kona. And Scott asked me if I’d be interested in partaking in this after the show, and I said, ‘Yes, that sounds like a lot of fun.’ I like the idea of shared kindred musical spirit amongst players,” John said. “Some of these guys, I’ve never even seen before because of our schedules. We’re always working. And some of them I know personally, but I’ve never played with them before.”

John said this will be his first show at the Palace.

“I’m really excited to do that. It has a storied history,” he said.

Dupio, aka “Lightnin’ Larry,” is well-known to music lovers on both sides of the island and is in the process of recording his seventh album. He’s excited about his return to the Palace, and to be a part of what Reagan described as his “guitar dream team.”

“I know them personally and we’re all good friends, but we don’t get a chance to hang out and talk about stuff. They’re busy, all of them,” Dupio said. “I like this opportunity to get out there and get to see them play, too. Everybody’s going to put their best foot forward. And it’s going to be great.”

Fundy, a New Yorker and a regular on the Northern California circuit before moving to Puna, is also a favorite among East Hawaii music lovers. He said on Facebook he’s “proud to be a part of this event.”

“The last one in September 2018 was quite the night!” Fundy noted, adding he’s looking forward to “sharing the stage with this fine, fun group of musicians!”

Fundy dropped jaws at the September show with a medley of the Grateful Dead’s “Scarlet Begonias” and “Fire on the Mountain,” shining on vocals and shredding on a gleaming red Gibson SG. The performance is available on YouTube under “6 String Fling 2018 Scarlet Fire.”

“Always Rippin’” David Lawrence is equally comfortable strapped in on stage or fronting a studio mic as the afternoon personality on LAVA 105.3 FM, where he personally curates the guitar licks and rockin’ solos Mondays through Fridays for the Six String Slingers at Six.

All the players have compelling stories, but Isobe’s is unique. A Japan native, he honed his blues and blues-rock chops in Atlanta in the early 1980s.

“He really puts his heart and soul into it. His playing is top notch,” Reagan said. “He’s told me stories about growing up, and when all of his friends were listening to Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd and Ted Nugent, he was listening to Albert Collins and Buddy Guy, neck deep into the electric blues players. And you can hear it. He’s really all about the blues.”

Reagan, who works during the week as a guitar tech at Kiernan Music in Kainaliu, said it’s a pleasure to share the stage with the guitarists on the bill.

“Knowing all of these guitar players and seeing the level of talent we have here on the island, I really wanted to feature these players and showcase them in a way that’s all about them,” he explained.

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“It’s a lot of work to put these shows on, but the reason I do it is because of how happy it makes people. It creates memories, not only for the audience, but for us as performers, as well.”

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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