february 2015

"The weird but nice combination of country and jazz has always fascinated me,"

says Finnish multi-instrumentalist Ville Leppänen.

Americana slide and steel—as viewed from Helsinki.

Finnish guitarist Ville Leppänen has only visited the United States a few times, though his deep knowledge of American music suggests otherwise. Playing conventional guitar as well as resonator, pedal steel, and lap steel, Leppänen has forged a style that synthesizes many regional sounds, from the Southwest to the Hawaiian Islands.

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Aspiring 14-year-old guitarist Pete Thorn (2nd from the right on the riser) shares the stage with AC/DC while playing air guitar at a 1985 Edmonton, Alberta, show.

Who says playing air guitar can’t lead to a career as a professional musician?

I recently posted an old photo to my Facebook page that made me reflect on life in ways I hadn't anticipated. The photo was taken in the mid '80s and shows me onstage with AC/DC who were passing through town playing a date on their Who Made Who tour. I was a huge AC/DC fan and had big dreams of becoming a professional rock guitarist, so at the tender age of 14, this was a monumental occasion and pivotal moment in my young life.

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