|J. Buzz Guerra wasn’t born with a guitar in his hand, but it didn’t take long for him to find one. The lifetime Austin resident first picked up the acoustic guitar when he was ten years old.
Guerra learned his craft on his own with no formal lessons. When his father explained how to play by ear, his learning took off like a rocket.
Although his first love was acoustic guitar, his ability to play by ear led to opportunities to play in several touring bands as their electric guitarist. During his early career, starting at age 14, has saw the world from the stage.
But, he always came back to his two loves, Austin and acoustic guitar. Eventually, tired of the road, he planted himself in his hometown in the early 1980s. At this point, he decided on a career change, a 9 to 5, and took a job (with medical benefits) with the State.
Life off the road worked out, as Guerra continued to be involved in music through teaching his craft through a few Austin community schools and from a home studio. Around 1997, Guerra picked up a classical guitar and taught himself how to fingerpick… adding another dimension to his playing.
He’s also had occasion to play at various coffee houses, restaurants and bars in Austin over the last decade. Places like The Hideout, Tres Amigos, Waterloo Ice House, Seattle’s Best, and Zin Bistro have been gracious enough to host Guerra.
As for studio albums, he has self-released two CDs earlier this decade, 2001’s Tu Solo Tu and 2004’s My Favorites . Each of these releases help explain the truth that, as an acoustic guitarist, he isn’t being pigeonholed into a certain genre. He excels at styles as diverse as Mexican Classical, Jazz, Bossa Nova, Latin, Blues, Country, Pop, Light Rock, and Mariachi.
Summing up his style, Guerra likely said it best: “My music is a testament of all my experiences, expressing my feelings of happiness, and sadness, joy and sorrow. It is my sincerest hope that I can share these feelings with you.”
In 2008 he will retire from “The State” and concentrate on his playing full-time. Look for great things from Guerra, as he only expects the best from himself. He will be releasing a ful-length album of originals in early 2008.
-- Sean Claes
Managing Editor, INsite Magazine