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Born in Virginia, raised on traditional music from the hills of West Virginia, and touring the country to revive the sounds of old-time, Georgia’s own Old-Time Guitar Guy (Karl Hepler) is a thrilling performer, incredible guitarist and multi-instrumentalist, and talented songwriter who mixes the styles of bluegrass, newgrass, country, folk, americana, and old-time to create his signature style of “New Traditional American Music”.
He is currently #1 in the Reverb Nation folk charts for Stone Mountain, GA and has climbed to the top 10 in the nation (hailed for his song writing and guitar picking, it’s easy to see why). His songs are honest with good story-telling, interesting-yet-simple melodies, and a good mixture of high-energy and heart-felt mid-tempo ballads. His lyrics have no advice to give and nothing negative to say – just honest and simple stories to tell.
Karl is a real treat to see live – he is a natural performer who is effortlessly engaging – and with his often-deadpan humor, he usually gets a laugh or two in as well. Also, be prepared to meet him during one of his shows, as he will typically use the break in the set to come around to each person in the audience and introduce himself. He has even been known to jam with people in the audience who bring instruments to the show.
Karl studied piano at an early age, which later spurred the creation of several short written piano pieces. He was later introduced to the music of West Virginia through the Allegheny Echoes Workshops at age 11 and, throughout the years since, has learned from some of the best musicians of the old time genre including Danny Arthur, Robin Kessinger, Robert Shafer, Tim Bing, and Mike Bing. Karl is now a multi-instrumentalist with his talents stretching from guitar, to clawhammer banjo, to mandolin and fiddle (to name a few).
Influenced by everything from traditional old time and celtic melodies, to bands and performers like The Beatles, Elton John, Solas, John Doyle, Tool, Tim O’Brien, The Wailin’ Jennys, and Gillian Welch, Karl has really created an original, yet familiar, sound in his music. Some have compared his musical stylings to George Harrison, Gordon Lightfoot, Gram Parsons, James Taylor, John Mayer, Dave Matthews, Jack Johnson, and John Denver. However, even with those comparisons, it is easy to see that Karl’s music has something different, which stems from the roots of traditional American old time music.