I am an acoustic instrumental guitarist and singer with more than 50 original instrumental compositions and arrangements recorded upon 4 CDs. Because my compositions are inspired from, and ultimately “reflect”, experiences I've had throughout my life, I call what I do "Acoustic Reflections."
I also can sing and play over 50 songs by other artists. Past audience response, to both my guitar playing and my singing, leads me to conclude that my performances delight listeners partial to either form of musical expression. (link hidden)
Traveled to Pocarello for business. Scott played and sang on a Saturday night (last minute) when the scheduled act couldn't show at Portneuf Valley Brewing Co. and I'm glad he did.
We were pleasantly surprised with Scott's wide range of material and his talent. For a one-man show Scott was fantastic. He took requests, interacted pleasantly with the crowd, which was college kids, working adults, and middle aged couples.
I will definitely go where he's playing next time we are in the Pocatello area again.
Response from Acoustic Reflections-Scott Balsai:
Thank you so much, Jim for writing this review. I guess some people do know about Gig Salad. I am glad you decided to come to the PVB tonight. I hope to see you again somewhere out there in music land.
I don't know if you've checked out my website, but I have a performance schedule on there. www.acousticreflections.net
Scott Balsai is an incredibly gifted musician who charms audiences with his fingerstyle guitar playing performances. Whether he is performing his own melodic pieces or performing a cover song, his style resonates through his playing. Appearing at the Tumbleweed Music Festival over Labor Day weekend in Richland, WA he not only performed a solo set that captured the theme of the Festival, but also gave a well-attended workshop featuring fingerstyle guitar playing techniques.
While performing for an audience, his style is delightful and appears effortless. Both music novices and those who have an intimate knowledge of music appreciate his performance. Scott is a musician’s musician who also relates well to general audiences. Musicians listening to him play are captivated by the complex and intricate interweaving of his melodies while those who just know good music when they hear it agree Scott plays good music!
He is a pleasure to work with and would be a wonderful addition to any event or venue.
Scott Balsai has performed for my Arts Stage at our annual Snoqualmie Railroad Days festival for two years now. I will not hesitate to have him back again. He is wonderful to work with, very professional, responsible, and extremely talented.
His music catches your ear from the first notes played, and he connects well with his listening audience.
Scott is one of the most talented acoustic guitar player I have ever met I know people in our community feel that way they come out to see him when he played at Marigolds he's very professional very very fun fun person Scott has a great following they just come out to listen to what a fantastic guitar player he is I just can't say this enough. My name is Jean Christensen I was the owner of Marigolds wine and delicacies in Pocatello Idaho and Scott Balsi is one of the best musicians I hired
Scott played at the recent annual meeting we had at the Westside Players Warehouse in Pocatello. Several people who commented during and after his performance commented on the high quality of Scott's music. He is an excellent choice for any kind of social function where you need some great music during social time. I would have Scott again in a heartbeat! Very attentive and easy to work with and reliable.
Price Range: $200.00 and up depending on travel distance
Gig Length: 60 - 180 minutes
What to Expect
What you will get is a performance that would delight a listening audience as well as a socializing audience. I would play relaxing easy listening instrumental guitar music and familiar covers that incorporate fingerstyle guitar picking similar to what I do with the instrumentals. All in all, it would be an easy listening performance.
I might also tell a few short stories between songs as intro to some of the songs if the environment is conducive to that. My volume would be appropriate to the venue size and purpose.
I would also have CD's available for sale for those who might want to take a little bit of the music with them to listen at their leisure in their car, or home, or where ever. If it's a benefit, I might even include some CD's as a gift to the organization to give away to their attendees as door prizes or to be bid on if there would be a silent auction..
"Acoustic Reflections" is what Scott Balsai calls the compositions he creates on his acoustic guitar. "Each piece," he says, "reflects a sliver of my life, but taken together, they can be seen as musical diary of 'tone poems' which reflect my life as a whole."
Having been born and reared in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania from the 1950’s through the 1970’s, Balsai had the fortune of being located in an unusually rich musical milieu. Home of the “Godfrey Daniels” coffee house, Scott had the opportunity to cross paths, both on stage and off stage, with the likes of John Gorka, David Frey, and Steve Kimock, among others. In fact, Scott first learned his way around the guitar neck with some cursory help from Steve while they both were barely out of high school. In the late 1970's, he performed several times at the famous "Godfrey Daniels" coffee house before moving to Idaho.
In 1980 Scott walked the entire Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. (A couple of photographs he took while hiking the AT are today part of the graphics on two of his CD's.) He says he did this because he needed to think about what he would do with his life and with his guitar. Then in 1981, pulled by his love for the outdoors, he moved to Pocatello, Idaho where he became an English teacher in the Pocatello School District.
Although he has been retired from teaching since 2011, he says that,"...some of the most ardent and polite listeners of mine have been those students in my classes over the years that I have taught in the Pocatello School District. A few of those English students of mine also became guitar students during the lunch hour. I suppose the best thing I could have done with my guitar for most of my working career was to use it as a teaching tool in my classes, as I did. The apparent effect it had on my students and their learning was, and still is, more valuable to me then anything else I could have possibly done with it."
He hopes that his playing may inspire you too and bring you peace and joy in your life as well. He says, "If this happens, then all of the countless hours I have spent teaching myself to play have been all worthwhile."
Since living and teaching in Pocatello, Idaho, Scott has worked with a few local, and national, favorites such as Steve Eaton and his son Marcus Eaton. In the last ten years or so, he also has gotten to be good friends with such nationally recognized players as Bill Mize and Michael Gulezian, two of his favorite acoustic fingerstyle players. Both of these players have graciously encouraged Scott to become more active in performing out, recording, and getting more involved in the contemporary acoustic guitar scene.
Another influence of Scott’s is Will Ackerman. This becomes obvious when one sees Ackerman’s piece titled “Visiting” listed as number four on Scott’s third CD, Reflections of Maple and Mahogany. This is the only non-original piece out of 15 recordings on the CD. On this recording, one can hear a pleasant mix of Scott and Ackerman as Scott gives his interpretation of this piece. In his textual annotations, he then thanks Ackerman for the impetus for another of Scott’s own pieces on the CD titled “Sunday Visitors”.
Other influences of his include Ed Gerhard, Jorma Kaukonen, Alex De Grassi, Leo Kottke, Billy McLaughlin, Pat Metheny, Duane Allman, Chris Proctor, Chet Atkins, Norman Blake, John Hartford as well as a host of famous finger pickin’ singer-songwriters such as Paul Simon, Gordon Lightfoot, Peter Paul and Mary, Tom Paxton, Bob Dylan, Taj Mahal, Jackson Brown, Rev. Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt, Jerry Jeff Walker, James Taylor, Jim Croce, Don McLean, John Denver, Eric Anderson, Tom Rush, Steve Goodman, Arlo Guthrie, Doc and Merle Watson, Merle Travis, Clint Black and England’s Tir Na Nog, Amazing Blondel, John Martyn, Ralph McTell, John Renbourn, Richard Thompson,and many others.
Scott presently has 5 CD's. They include four instrumental CD's and one vocal CD with some of his favorite covers.
You can learn more about Scott and his "Acoustic Reflections" on his website.
Additional Booking Notes
I usually bring my own sound system and control it myself. But should I get lucky and the venue provides its own sound then I might also bring an AER Compact 60 (as a potential monitor and signal source) as well as a Bose T1 ToneMatch mixer to plug into the house sound system. I also have other back-up sound devices such as pre-amps and DI Boxes should my standard system not work for some reason. I always bring my own mic and stand, but am not opposed to using a house mic and stand.
For any sound system and sound person feedback from an acoustic guitar at higher volumes can pose a problem should the sound man not be familiar with amplifying acoustic guitars for good rich sound. Although I do have a number of strategies and devices that might help to control feedback and deliver a good signal, still a challenging acoustical environment can pose a problem and limit my set list. (This usually means fewer instrumentals since the instrumentals generally require a good acoustic environment and are more prone to feedback on the guitar as the volume goes up.) So a sound man familiar with this problem is a good idea.
A carpet under the musician and sound system of some sort can also help with controlling feedback. If the venue is completely carpeted from wall to wall this is good.
Also the quieter the venue is, the less feedback will be a problem because the volume does not need to be turned as high, and the better the sound will be. For example, listening house concerts or coffee houses are usually not a problem with feedback because of the minimal volume requirements they pose for the musician playing to a listening audience.
I generally don't do lighting myself, but if there is some at the venue, that is fine.
Stages are nice, but if they are hollow wooden platforms on hard floors, then feedback may pose more of a problem than not having a stage at all because the lower frequencies tend to want to reverberate more and feedback more on this type of a stage. Again carpeting on the stage can help this. Also having the sound system's speakers off of the stage may ameliorate this a great deal.
If I am going to be outside, feedback is less of a problem. But weather may be a concern for obvious reasons involving electricity. A canopy, tent, or roof of some sort would be nice to keep me shaded from the hot sun or from the rain and to protect my guitars and sound system.
At all venues I would need a good three pronged grounded outlet that can accommodate a 6 + outlet surge protector into which I would be plugging my gear should I be doing my own sound.
This would largely depend on where I am playing and for what kind of audience. If the venue is a listening venue, I might play more instrumentals. If the venue is a talking or socializing venue I might play more vocal covers.
Given the qualifiers above these are some of the pieces I might be likely to play:
Instrumentals might include a mix of original and non-originals or original arrangements of public domain pieces.
The Water is Wide
Isa Lei or A Polynesian Farewell
Shenandoah (Original arrangement)
Water Under the Bridge (Original)
Name that Tune (Happy Birthday) (Original arrangement)
Auld Lang Syne (Original arrangement)
Youthful Indulgence (Original)
Waiting for the Sun (Original)
Home Again (Original)
Falling Colors (Original)
Prairie Braid (Original)
Day's Beginning (Original)
Day's End (Original)
Red River Valley (Original arrangement)
Praying on the ol' Campgrounds and Lonesome Blues
September Moonlight Lullaby (Original)
Covers might include:
Time Run Like a Freight Train
Rhyme and Time
Streets of London
April Come She Will
This Old Guitar
Leavin'on a Jet Plane
Early Mornin' Rain
If You Could Read My Mind
City of New Orleans
The Pony Man
Fire and Rain
Photographs and Memories
Deep River Blues
Mr. Tambourine Man (on a 12 string)
The Wedding Song
Lesson too Late for the Learning
Influences & Inspiration
Influences include Will Ackerman, Bill Mize, Ed Gerhard, Michael Gulezian, Jorma Kaukonen, Alex De Grassi, Leo Kottke, Billy McLaughlin, Pat Metheny, Duane Allman, Chris Proctor, Chet Atcins, Norman Blake, John Hartford as well as a host of famous finger pickin’ singer-songwriters such as Paul Simon, Gordon Lightfoot, Peter Paul and Mary, Tom Paxton, Bob Dylan, Taj Mahal, Jackson Brown, Rev. Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt, Jerry Jeff Walker, James Taylor, Jim Croce, Don McLean, John Denver, Eric Anderson, Tom Rush, Steve Goodman, Arlo Guthrie, Doc and Merle Watson, Merle Travis, Clint Black and England’s Tir Na Nog, Amazing Blondel, John Martyn, Ralph McTell, John Renbourn, Richard Thompson,and many others.
A good PA system that will accept a Bose T1 ToneMatch
Good stage monitors if I am to use the house system
Obviously good main speakers for the house, preferably off of the stage (especially if the stage is a hollow wooden stage.)
A good sound man who is experienced with doing sound for acoustic guitar performers.
A balanced TRS 1/4 inch plug that will be plugged into my Bose T1 ToneMatch personal mixer, if I am to use the house sound system
A grounded three prong outlet near the playing area (or stage) which will accommodate a 6 outlet surge protector
Appropriate stage lighting.
If I am to use the house system, having a system with a little "Hall Reverb" for vocal and guitar as an effect might be nice.
A nice stage carpet (10 by 10 or bigger ?) which will help control on stage feedback
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