"At turns mesmerizing, playful, humorous and wistful, Gilewitz is a master of moods when he speaks to audiences through his guitar. He's always at the service of his inner voice, which has a sneaky way of connecting directly to the listener's heart." Creative Loafing Magazine, Tampa Bay FL
Composing and performing a kaleidoscopic mixture of instrumental selections, Gilewitz has become an internationally acclaimed 6 and 12-string acoustic guitarist, forging a new voice to include the expanse of his influences. His complex and energetic original works become stories from the guitar and deliver invitations to each listener to take a journey with him through the past and present realm of guitar music.
As a youngster, Richard embraced artists such as The Beatles, Andres Segovia, Leo Kottke, Arlo Guthrie, John Fahey and Flatt & Scruggs. His interest in performing began to surface as he discovered the American primitive guitar rhythms of John Fahey and the driving, percussive attack of Leo Kottke's playing. Soaking up the wealth of inspiration supplied by the diverse acts featured on "The Dr. Demento Radio Show" and "The Midnight Special", Richard welcomed the challenge of mastering and adapting many styles of music for the acoustic guitar -- a trait that still sets him apart from many other performers.
He began honing his skills both as a performer and composer during the late 1970's at the University of Alabama, playing the local coffee house circuit while pursing a degree in Computer Science and Mathematics and Music. Following graduation, Richard placed his music career in the background and joined the business world of flight simulation design, telemetry and satellite systems. Soon the pull of his passion for music was so compelling that Richard left corporate life to teach and perform full time.
The 80's brought Richard back to Florida where he released an album, Somewhere In Between, recorded entirely on a Ramirez classical guitar and Guild cutaway 12-string . With his second recording and debut CD Voluntary Solitary, Richard spoke to his audiences in a clear singular voice, excelling in simple communication of steel, 6-string guitar. But the solitary life of a traveling musician can lead to artistic tunnel vision, so growth often comes from opening up to new sounds, people, and ideas. This maturity is clearly evident in his third recording, Synapse Collapse , with shouts of influences from Memphis to the Mediterranean. Special guest sounds by pianist David Webb on "Embryonic Journey and "St. Louis Blues" and percussionist Gumbi Ortiz on Richard's original Latin-rhythm driven "Bilingual Fantasy give rise to a new sound for Richard's originals. He introduces his 12-string, slide playing, and offers two classical pieces composed by his mentor, teacher, and friend, David Walbert. The entire original "Echoing Wilderness", recorded in part by Leo Kottke as "Echoing Gilewitz" on his 1986 release, A Shout Toward Noon " and the haunting "Dirt To Dust", complete this 56 minute CD. Richard's fourth release, The Music of David Walbert, is classical steel at its best. As tribute to Walbert, Richard performs the entire works of this renowned composer with no overdubs or multi-tracking. Included are favorites such as "Dance", "Prelude", and "Study", as well as never recorded pieces such as "I Am Eaten By Sharks", "Tremolo Piece", "Em Piece", and "Nocturne".
Today, as one of the most graceful guitarists on the contemporary acoustic scene, Gilewitz stands out in his command of the 6 and 12-string guitar. Composing new selections for the acoustic guitar, he combines both standard and unique tunings with his own interpretations. He treats every single note as an individual character in a society of notes to achieve a sound that is very distinctive and contains a voice all its own. It is as if his own "DNA" is reflected in his playing. His right-hand position, a compilation of the classical-style guitar techniques and syncopated/ percussive movements, has enabled Richard to vary his "attack", thus creating a wider range of fingerpicking patterns as a "language".
Known as a very personable, humorous, and gifted performer, Richard tours extensively -- performing at colleges, festivals, performing arts centers and intimate concert halls, while conducting Master Class and Guitar Seminar Workshops on behalf of Tacoma Guitars, D'Addario Strings, and Peavey Electronics. He is a contributing writer for Peavey Electronics' trade journal, "Monitor", Disc Makers' "fastFORWARD", and Mel Bay Publications, Inc. "Guitar Sessions "® . National Public Radio fans sample Richard's wit and storytelling on syndicated shows such as River City Folk, E-Town, Live from Studio One, WoodSongs Old Time Radio Hour, Across the Prairie and Acoustic Wood, as he brings a historical journey of American and European fingerstyle guitar to his listeners. His Meet the Artist ® (Music in the Schools Enrichment Program) and Group Seminar Sessions for college music departments, performing arts centers, and arts councils rounds out a year long touring schedule.
Richard has appeared in concert with: Mose Allison/John Fahey/Leo Kottke/Norman Blake/Kenny G/Adrian Legg/The Little River Band/David Bromberg/Taj Mahal/Greg Brown/John Hammond/Steve Morse/Patty Larkin/The Indigo Girls/Joe Ely/Rory Block/America/Mike Cross/Sonny Landreth/Maria Muldaur/Jan Siberry/Jorma Kaukonen.