San Francisco guitarist Asher Belsky a rising star at 16
What were you doing when you were 5 years old? Throw a ball in the garden for the dog to retrieve? Watching cartoons on Nickelodeon? Are you getting ready for kindergarten?
When he was 5 years old, Asher Belsky was practicing on the guitar. Today, at 16, he is greeted by credible professional musicians to share the stage.
âI begged my parents for a guitar,â Belsky said of his younger years. “They gave me a toy ukulele to start with.”
He has come a long way since then. You can see for yourself just how far the San Francisco teenager will perform on Saturday at the Sebastiani Theater in Sonoma. Who knows? It may be a historic moment. Someday you will be able to brag about seeing him while he was having a blast on his own.
âThis is my first time headlining my own show with my band,â Belsky said of the concert to Sebastiani. He will be joined on stage by drummer Porter Bliquer and bassist Matthew Jazwinski, with singer-songwriter Carly Thomas opening the show.
While his first headlining show is a big step, that doesn’t mean he’s inexperienced. He has performed a lot, met pros, and earlier this year released his first single, “About A Girl”, produced by Jorgen Carlsson of Gov’t Mule. It follows its four-song extended in-game release two years ago.
A seasoned player for his age, Belsky performed at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival, playing a featured set with Marcus King. He has been a featured artist at the Surrealistic Summer Solstice Jam 3 at Golden Gate Park and at the Allman Family Revival at the Fillmore in San Francisco and the Beacon in New York City.
The young guitarist says he is grateful for the serious attention he has received from professionals.
âIt’s amazing to be in the studio with musicians doing this for a living and who know what they’re doing,â Belsky said.
Belsky is an inaugural member of Gibson Guitars’ two-year selective mentorship program for young guitarists. He is also an artist sponsor of the brands Ernie Ball, MONO Creators and Jim Dunlop USA.
Like many musicians, Belsky resists any attempt to assign a specific genre to his style. Certainly, you can hear jazz, blues and rock in his work.
âMy brain just thinks musically,â he said. “I like being able to communicate through my singing voice or my guitar.”
Thomas, a Canadian singer-songwriter who has worked from California for a year and a half, will open the show, supported by her own group. His home is in London, Ontario, but his tour of the Bay Area was interrupted by the pandemic in March 2020.
âI was just starting to tour the United States,â Thomas said. âI’m trying to get away from my career in Canada and reach a new audience. I would like my name to be known in California.
His journey is unusual. Because her father worked for international companies, opening new offices in foreign countries, she was born in Thailand and raised in Argentina, France and various parts of North America.
“I was able to play my first concerts in Paris,” she said.
His fourth album, “Behind the Ficus”, was released at the end of August.
âI mostly do my own songs, but for some shows I do covers,â she said. “I love to tell stories and connect with audiences.”
You can reach Editor-in-Chief Dan Taylor at [email protected] or 707-521-5243. On Twitter @danarts.