Orville Johnson Named First Artistic Director of the Port Townsend Slide and Steel Festival

Orville Johnson has been named the first Artistic Director of the Port Townsend Slide and Steel Festival. Sl_orvillejohnson

"We’re blessed to be working with Orville,” said Centrum program manager Peter McCracken. “Orville is someone who has the greatest respect of players and the field. The combination of characteristics that make Orville unique, his superb musicianship, his multi-instrument virtuosity and his singing ability, will serve the Slide and Steel workshop well.”

The Port Townsend Slide and Steel Festival is the only week-long experience in the nation devoted to the repertoire and technique of slide and steel guitar. The Festival is a total-immersion workshop presenting many styles of slide guitar music and pedal steel guitar music. The workshop’s wide spectrum includes workshop sessions, faculty demonstrations, tutorials, concerts, open jams, parties, and informal and spontaneous gatherings.

Participants in this gathering have basic technical command of their instrument, as well as basic
knowledge of music theory. Differing levels of ability are expected, and classes are designed to accommodate those differences.

Orville Johnson was born in 1953 in Edwardsville, Illinois. He came up on the St. Louis music scene, where he participated in a wide variety of blues, bluegrass, and American roots music. He moved to Seattle in 1978, where he was a founding member of the folk/rock group the Dynamic Logs.

Known for his singing, as well as for his dobro and slide guitar stylings, Johnson has played on over two-hundred albums. He has appeared on Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and was featured in the 1997 film Georgia with Mare Winningham. Johnson has also released several recordings, and has been featured in multiple soundtracks.

Centrum artistic directors select faculty, structure program content, and serve as cultural ambassadors. As Artistic Director, Johnson joins Rebecca Brown (The Port Townsend Writers’ Conference), Helen Callus (The Port Townsend Chamber Music Festival), John Clayton (Jazz Port Townsend), Dirk Powell (The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes), and Phil Wiggins (The Port Townsend Country Blues Festival) in guiding and shaping Centrum workshops and performances.