San Francisco guitarist Asher Belsky a rising star at 16
What were you doing when you were 5 years old? Tossing a ball in the backyard for the dog to fetch? Watching cartoons on Nickelodeon? Gearing up for kindergarten?
When he was 5, Asher Belsky was practicing his guitar. Now, at age 16, he’s welcomed by credible professional musicians to share the stage.
“I pleaded with my parents for a guitar,” Belsky said of his younger years. “They gave me a toy ukulele to start with.”
He has come a long way since then. You can find out for yourself just how far when the San Francisco teenager performs Saturday at Sonoma’s Sebastiani Theatre. Who knows? It may be a historic moment. Someday you’ll be able to brag that you saw him when he was just breaking out on his own.
“This is my first time headlining my own show with my band,” Belsky said of the concert at Sebastiani. He will be joined onstage by drummer Porter Bliquez and bassist Matthew Jazwinski, with singer-songwriter Carly Thomas opening the show.
Although his first show as the headliner is a big step, that doesn’t mean he’s inexperienced. He has performed widely, jammed with pros and earlier this year released his debut single, “About A Girl,” produced by Jorgen Carlsson of Gov’t Mule. It follows his four-song, extended-play release two years ago.
A seasoned player for his age, Belsky has performed at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival, playing a featured set with Marcus King. He’s been a featured artist at Surrealistic Summer Solstice Jam 3 in Golden Gate Park and at The Allman Family Revival at the Fillmore in San Francisco and The Beacon in New York City.
The young guitarist counts himself grateful for the serious attention he’s received from professionals.
“It’s been amazing, being in the studio with musicians who do this for a living and know what they’re doing,” Belsky said.
Belsky is an inaugural member of Gibson Guitars’ selective two-year mentoring program for young guitar players. He is also an endorsing artist for Ernie Ball, MONO Creators and Jim Dunlop USA brands.
Like many musicians, Belsky resists any attempt to assign his style a specific genre. Certainly, you can hear jazz, blues and rock in his work.
“My brain just thinks musically,” he said. “I love to be able to communicate through my singing voice or my guitar.”
Thomas, a Canadian singer-songwriter who has been working from California for the last year and a half, will open the show, backed by her own band. Her home is in London, Ontario, but her tour was interrupted in the Bay Area by the pandemic in March 2020.
“I was just beginning to tour in the U.S.,” Thomas said. “I am trying to take a departure from my career in Canada and reach a new audience. I would like get my name known in California.”
Her background is unusual. Because her father worked for international companies, opening new offices in foreign countries, she was born in Thailand and raised in Argentina, France and various parts of North America.
“I got to play my first shows in Paris,” she said.
Her fourth album, “Behind the Ficus,” was released in late August.
“I do mostly my own songs, but for some gigs I do some covers,” she said. “I love storytelling and connecting with the audience.”
You can reach Staff Writer Dan Taylor at email@example.com or 707-521-5243. On Twitter @danarts.
Arts & Entertainment, The Press Democrat
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