Guitar Center crowns the next King of the Blues

Guitar Center has announced the winner of King of The Blues '07, the world's largest guitar competition. The grand finale encompassed artists who personify the blues beginning with a rare special performance by Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Hubert Sumlin, and closed with an explosive set by The Black Crowes. Geared towards promoting players with deep passion and commitment to the craft, "King of The Blues" is an annual celebration of a genre that is the root of today's music.

In an epic show on Saturday, June 16th at the historic Music Box @ Fonda Theater in Hollywood, CA, Aaron Loesch from Houston, Texas, performed alongside Grammy Award-winning producer Pete Anderson, and battled it out with three other contestants from around the country in front of a sold out crowd of more than 1,400. The evening's judges, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Hubert Sumlin, Pete Anderson, Brad Tolinsky, Randy Chortoff and last year's winner, Matt O'Ree, based their decision on overall performance, originality, technique, style and stage presence. With those variables in mind, Aaron Loesch was awarded the title of Guitar Center's "The King of The Blues." In addition, he will receive a prize package valued at more than $50,000 and the opportunity to perform on the same stage as BB King, Willie Nelson and John Mayer at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival this summer in Chicago, IL.

For the Grand Final Competition, the talent was narrowed down from more than 4,000 participants to the four finalists who competed at more than 200 Guitar Center locations across the country. Hosted by Cheech Marin, the finals showcased the nation's top undiscovered talent, and featured performances by The Black Crowes, a special collaborative set by Kenny Wayne Shepherd and blues legend Hubert Sumlin, as well as an appearance by Billy Bob Thornton.

"The amount of talent that came out during this year's competition was nothing short of amazing," said Dustin Hinz, Manager of Event Marketing and Promotions. "Guitar Center is proud to work with such a versatile emerging artist. Through 'King of The Blues,' we hope Guitar Center will be able to act as the catalyst for Aaron Loesch as he begins his career as a professional musician."

"I'm very grateful just to be at this level in the competition and to get to perform with amazing artists like The Black Crowes, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Hubert Sumlin," said Aaron Loesch, this year's winner. "Guitar Center has really blown the doors of opportunity open for me. I'm incredibly excited to see what the future has in store. I feel this contest is a historical landmark and I thank Guitar Center for keeping the blues alive."

In addition to the title and a slot to perform at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival the winner will receive:

-- 7 days in the studio with Grammy Award winning producer and guitar

aficionado Pete Anderson

-- 2007 Ford Mustang

-- Gibson '59 VOS re-issue Les Paul

-- 1-year Gibson endorsement deal

-- Write-up in Guitar World magazine

-- Gibson GA40 Amplifier

-- Apple MacPro 2.66 GHz computer with 23-inch Cinema HD monitor

-- $2500 Levi's Shopping spree


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