2023 Harmonica Workshop Faculty
Singer, songwriter, and performer, Rob Roy Parnell has been mixing rockin' blues, boogie woogie, R&B and soul for over thirty-five years playing for audiences throughout the United States. With harmonica in hand, he is recognized as one of America’s finest players.
At age 17 his brother Lee Roy www.leeroyparnell.com introduced Rob Roy Parnell to the harmonica. During the 1990s Parnell worked as a sidemen for Lee Roy traveling the United States playing with many great acts such as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Vince Gill, Brooks and Dunn, Patty Loveless, Hal Ketchum, Travis Tritt, Martina McBride, Hank Williams Jr. just to name a few. Over the years Parnell has played all over the United States and was the first performer to play for the Armed Forces at camp delta at “Gitmo” Cuba. For 20 straight years he has played before the University of Texas and University of Oklahoma Red River Shoot Out game and has become part of this long standing tradition at America’s largest state fair.
He remains busy touring, songwriting and session work in the studio. One of his songs “Oughta Know” was cut and is on the Delbert McClinton and Glen Clark CD “ Blind Cripple and Crazy”. As stated by Texas Music Magazine “On stage, Rob Roy always delivers a winning and sterling set of roadhouse blues a la Delbert McClinton that travels through the range of Texas styles and modes with the assurance of a new crown prince of the scene."
Since 2005, Rob Roy has been part of the faculty at the Kerrville Folk Festival’s Harmonica Workshop serving as the musical director of the workshop. https://www.facebook.com/robroy.parnell.77
Ronnie Shellist has traveled the U.S., Canada and Europe with his blues showcase featuring various top notch blues artists. The show consists of original blues songs written by Ronnie, classic Chicago blues; as well as a mix of Delta and southern influenced blues artists. His high energy approach and command of his instrument immediately draws you in! In 2006 he posted a video on youtube which now has close to 2.5 million views and provided Ronnie with a massive following. He currently tours with Hohner as one of their top endorsors and clinician for the company putting on roadshows and training sessions. Ronnie was raised in Chicago, where he visits frequently to perform at local venues, festivals and blues dances. Currently he hails from Denver, Colorado.
PT Gazell has earned his position as a master of the diatonic harmonica by taking the long way around from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin to Nashville, Tennessee… First picking up the instrument in his late teens, the Wisconsin-born, self-taught player honed his craft by taking on all manner of musical styles and traveled a circuit that included bluegrass, folk, pop festivals and gigs.
Gazell soon became a sought after side man and session player for some of Nashville’s biggest stars and spent the next part of his career playing and recording all over the world along side the stars of the day.
In 2008 Gazell and New Zealand chromatic harmonica wizard, Brendan Power, teamed up for a swinging, dynamic sonic masterpiece entitled, “Back To Back.” Gazell’s work on this once-in-a-lifetime masterwork shows a man at the top of his game. The CD features standards and jazz classics reinterpreted by two of the world’s most gifted instrumentalists.
Joining forces with German Harmonica manufacturer C.A. Seydel in 2007, PT introduced two signature model “Gazell method” instruments. These harmonicas feature a revolutionary new valve material that PT researched, and his personal setup for half valved diatonics. These instruments are quickly becoming an industry standard.
“A Madness to the Method,” the latest offering in the musical journey of harmonica innovator PT Gazell, delights and captivates in all its genre-busting glory. PT’s command of his instrument is in full effect here and this recording offers listeners an extraordinary opportunity to experience someone with a matchless one-of-a-kind vision, style and technique. Again being nominated for 3 awards in the initial round of Grammy balloting “A Madness To The Method” re-establishes PT Gazell as one of the finest and most unique players in a generation.
PT likes to think of his projects as “an on going musical conversation between myself and my fans.” Judging by the music and performances he delivers, he’s quite a compelling and articulate speaker. No other player combines his phrasing, his melodic style, his song choices and his improvisational abilities… his singular style may draw comparisons to others, but in the end, it’s a style all his own.
A tasty harmonica accompanist & soloist, Michael D’Eath moved from his home in England to Texas as a teenager to pursue an entrepreneurial career in high technology. Twenty years later he chose harmonica as his primary instrument. Michael currently performs with Him & Her, a trio with his wife Brenda Freed (vocals and rhythm guitar) and Jonathan Lee (lead guitar). The Him & Her Trio focuses on performing, recording, songwriting, musical arrangement, and teaching, as well as having a good time with live audiences whether playing a club, house concert, small theater or festival. In addition to performing on three Him & Her albums, Michael was recording engineer for two of them.
Michael has studied privately with Austin legend, JB Henry, as well as with many world class instructors including Norton Buffalo, Gary Primich, Rob Roy Parnell, Peter “Madcat” Ruth, Joe Filisko, JimiLee, Will Scarlett, and Winslow Yerxa. He is an accomplished player in several musical styles on both diatonic and chromatic harmonicas and is a first call session player and sideman. He has performed harmonica on tracks for Marghi Allen, Farrell Droke, The Better Halves and Tracy Weinberg. Michael started performing with his wife, Brenda Freed, in 2000 and together they formed Texas Hot Flash, which won an Austin Music Award in 2005, and opened for the Charlie Daniels Band. Brenda and Michael formed Him & Her in 2005 and they have since played together, mostly as a trio or full band, throughout the Texas Hill Country, the U.S and Europe. www.himandhertx.com Their jazzy, bluesy, folksy combination of original and cover songs appeals to a wide variety of audiences. Michael is also a recording & sound engineer at the couple’s Moondance Recording Studios, and for live band performance and small festivals.