A! Magazine for the Arts

Right: Nick Weitzenfeld playing  with Gravel Road. (Chelsa Yoder Photography)

Right: Nick Weitzenfeld playing with Gravel Road. (Chelsa Yoder Photography)

Arts for Youth Spotlight: Nick Weitzenfeld

June 1, 2016

Nick Weitzenfeld owes his start in music to his grandparents, who bought him a guitar and lessons for his eighth birthday.

Now at the age of 15, he performs in the Mountains of Music Homecoming's "The Crooked Road Guitar Sampler Masters'" concert, June 12 at 2 p.m. at The Rock School, Damascus, Virginia.

The Homecoming's program says "When Nick Weitzenfeld was 8 years old, he saw a video of Doc Watson flatpicking a guitar and was immediately hooked. At age 9, he won his first guitar contest. By age 10, he had joined his first band. Now a seasoned performer at 15, Nick continues to impress audiences with his guitar skills, and has also become an accomplished singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. He plays guitar at a level way beyond his years in a flat pick style that is powerful and nuanced."

His fellow guitar masters are Dean Jackson of the Bluegrass Kinsmen, Steve Kilby, a North Carolina State guitar champion, Mac Traynham, Garry Dalton and Jim Lloyd.

When Nick isn't playing with guitar masters, he is a member of Gravel Road, plays in music jams and competes in festivals. He has won the Fiddler's Convention guitar contest and placed sixth at the Galax Fiddlers Convention.

He says he is influenced by Scott Fore (his former guitar teacher). He also listens to Tony Rice, Tim Stafford, Bryan Sutton, Tony Wray, Darrell Scott and others.

"I try not to copy anyone when I'm out playing somewhere, and I think I have created a unique style that's very melodic and interesting at the same time," Nick says. "I approach each song with the melody in mind, and I try to play something different every time I'm on stage."

Playing with other people is what he enjoys most about music, he says. "Music is a collection of countless hours of hard work and a time where people can come together and enjoy playing with each other and listening and just have fun doing it.

"I want people to value the music I play and appreciate the work it takes to be a musician. If the audience enjoys the music, then I'm happy. I enjoy playing the guitar because there are a lot of creative vessels on the fret board that allow me to experiment with some cool stuff. I wouldn't say I chose bluegrass, it kind of chose me given the area; but I really enjoy bluegrass because it's very real and wholesome. I also enjoy other styles of music when I'm not playing bluegrass."

Nick is the son of Leigh and Jesse Weitzenfeld. He is in the 10th grade at Cave Spring High School and lives in Roanoke, Virginia.