Kevin (Blake) Goodwin is a modern percussive fingerstyle guitar player from Conway, Arkansas (USA). He won 1st place in the 2015 Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar competition, an international acoustic guitar competition held annually in Kingston, Ontario and is the winner of the 2016 Acoustic Guitar Wars Competition in San Antonio, TX. He is the founder of FretMonkey Records, a popular independent fingerstyle guitar label operated by 21 acoustic players across the globe whose mission is to change how the music industry conducts business with artists. His acoustic music is a blend of haunting jazz and rock melodies coupled with traditional percussive fingerstyle guitar techniques. He has been described as the “21st Century Acoustic Man” and possessing “outrageous acoustic skills.”
Aaron Edward is a Guitarist and Composer from Tulsa, Oklahoma who creates transcendent, instrumental music that transforms soulful melodies, harmonies, and rhythms into vivid, emotion-charged imagery. As a gifted player, his fine-tuned technique enables him to make one guitar sound like an orchestra. His artistry dazzles in mesmerizing recordings and performances, which establish him as an engaging storyteller, able to channel both grit and heart through each note.
He released his first solo album, "Akasha", in June of 2015. He is currently filming a series of studio and cinematic music videos in support of his second album, "Cavenaut", which will be released in Spring of 2017, and writing songs for his third album.
Although FRETMONKEY™ RECORDS did not officially form as a business until November of 2015, the journey began many years ago. The answer will vary depending on whether you ask owners, Dennis Cotabish or his step-son, Kevin “Blake” Goodwin. As guitar enthusiasts in their teens, they played independently and in bands. In 2000, when Dennis married Blake’s mother, Alicia, a former guitar player herself, music was destined to be a common family bond for all.
In the summer of 2015, Blake won the 2015 Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar Competition in Ontario, Canada. With the expectation of producing an album, organizing playing events, and frustration related to the insular nature of the music industry as well as attempts to coordinate a variety of production and promotion services, Blake and his family conceptualized a "full service audio and music video production experience" that would essentially serve as a one-stop studio that would meet all of the needs of professional musicians as well as up and coming artists. In response, FRETMONKEY™ was formed and a state-of-the-art recording studio was built. However, it was an inspired vision of uniting talented musicians across the globe under one record label as collaborating artists who guide the operation of the label that led to the unique formation of FRETMONKEY™ RECORDS – the Record Label.
What we found along the way were 19 other notable and emerging fingerstyle musicians who felt exactly the same way. During a critical point in building the FRETMONKEY™ studio, artists began reaching out to us about creating a label. Not just any label, but an artist-driven label. It had been brewing in the minds of many, but there was no vehicle or entity to bring them all artists together. The concept evolved and catapulted into a label with a greater purpose. The purpose was to bring like-minded musicians across the world together to challenge the status quo of the music industry, and attempt to do something that had never been done before…to develop a label where musicians are at the center of the business model and have complete control over their careers. This means that the FRETMONKEY™ RECORDS label, including the model, products, and services evolve over time and serve as one collective voice under the label. Collectively, we truly believe that we can change the trajectory of how the music industry conducts business with artists. If there is something we don’t like, the artists (under the label), we will try to change it. We function as a guild (for a lack of a better term), a big strong voice in our community and beyond