"Whether its helping recovering addicts, impacting how the music conducts business with its artists, or promoting organizations that I believe in - at the end of the day my goal is to use my music for the greater good."
Kevin Blake Goodwin
About Kevin Blake Goodwin (aka Blake Goodwin)
Kevin (Blake) Goodwin is a hybrid electric and acoustic guitar player embracing both technical and fingerstyle progressive guitar skills. After overcoming drug addiction in 2014, the Conway, Arkansas native won the 2015 Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar Competition, an international acoustic guitar competition held annually in Canada. Since winning the competition, he has used his music platform to advocate for causes including services for disabled veterans, expanding awareness of addiction recovery, and increasing opportunties for musicians in the music industry. In 2016, he founded FRETMONKEY RECORDS, a popular independent guitar record label representing 23 guitar players spanning 10 countries whose mission is to create career-changing opportunities for musicians across the globe. He went on to win the 2016 (Acoustic), 2017 (Electric), and 2018 (Acoustic) Guitar Wars Competition in San Antonio (Texas), the longest running guitar competition in America. In addition to being a musician, he is the music videographer, audio engineer, producer and owner of FRETMONKEY RECORDS Studio. His electric and acoustic music is a blend of jazz, metal, and rock melodies coupled with technical and percussive fingerstyle guitar techniques. He has been described as the “21st Century Guitar Man” possessing “outrageous skills.”
He is endorsed by:
Mayson Guitars (7-string Acoustic Kevin Blake Goodwin Signature Model)
.strandberg (Associate Artist, 7-string & 8 -string Electric)
Stonebridge / Furch Guitars (Baritone Guitar)
Eastman Guitars (Hollow body Electric Guitar, 6-String Acoustic)
Strictly 7 Guitars (5-string Bass)
DiMarzio (Black Angel Pickups)
K&K Sound (Trinity Pickups)
Radial Engineering (Pre-amps and Interfaces)
Fractal Audio (Guitar Processor and Amp Modeler)
Strymon (Effect Pedals)
Sunburst Gear / Elite Acoustics (Acoustic Amp)
Gruv Gear (Cases)
George L (Cables)
Virtual Jeff (Acoustic Whammy Bar)
Tonewood Amp (Acoustic Multi-effect Processor)
VP Percussion (Acoustic Stombox)
String Shirts Clothing
Kevin Blake Goodwin - A Road Less Traveled
Music has always been a significant part of my life; however, my music has been influenced by a number of significant events that have shaped who I am as an artist today. I started, as many young musicians do, playing rock and heavy metal. I learned the fundamentals early on and practiced a lot. It didn't take long for me to abandon cover songs. I always enjoyed expressing myself in original compositions, which later influenced my decision to become a solo artist. The band scene was fun (particularly when you are young). As a musician in my late teens and early twenties and highly engaged in the music scene, I developed addiction behaviors and had to spend time early in life working on my own recovery. In addition, a divorce at the mere age of 22, encountering my own near-death experience, and the untimely death of my best friend who suffered from alcohol addiction combined with an undiagnosed liver disease took a toll on me and certainly gave me plenty of material to write about. Overtime, my music reflected these hardships, losses, and eventually led to hope and redemption - and later I used these experiences as my platform for inspiring musicians and others who seek recovery. I take this calling very seriously. It's my way of paying the grace afforded to me forward.
Once I overcame these struggles, I attempted to jump start my career as a solo artist. I made the decision (on a whim) to enter the longest running Guitar Wars competition in America (located in San Antonio), just making the midnight deadline with minutes to spare. When accepted, I had planned to compete in the electric guitar division, but a last-minute decision to play my acoustic (a life-changing decision), led to a 3rd place win. The win encouraged me. Shortly thereafter, I picked up a music sponsor, Preston Palmer Studios in Conway, Arkansas, to produce music videos for me as a marketing tool and submissions to various venues, and competitions. The first music video, titled “Kai,” had over 10,000 views within days and drew a modest international following. I posted a couple of others, and they did just as well. It gave me hope that people would listen.
To further hone my skills, learn the trade, and be critiqued by notable musicians - I took a number of master guitar classes from international guitar legends through musician camps (e.g., Joe Satriani, Andy McKee, Antoine Dufour, Tosin Abasi, Javier Reyes etc.). This required me to travel (California, New York, etc.) and spend several days at guitar camps. It also allowed me to build a network of talented musician friends, all of whom inspired me to be better at guitar. (You may have heard the old phrase "you become what you hang around"...well, it's true if you are persistent.) I spent as much time as possible trying to learn from those whom I admired the most and strived to learn techniques from them, and apply these learnings to my own music. These experiences have been life-changing.
On July 26, 2015, I made my way to compete in the international Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar Competition in Kingston, Ontario. I absolutely knew no one. To my surprise, I somehow managed to win 1st place. Most amazingly, I entered the competition as a stand-by contestant (since I signed up late), and simply hoped for the opportunity to compete. As fate would have it, a competitor didn't show up nor did 9 other stand-by contestants who signed up before me. By default, I got the opportunity to play. Winning the competition, particularly over some of the best musicians I had ever heard, was beyond my wildest dreams. Beyond the birth of my children, it has been the single-most exciting moment of my life. Shortly thereafter, I signed endorsements with Stonebridge Guitars International, Elite Acoustics Designs (maker of Sunburst amps and related gear), K & K Sound (pickups systems), Elixir Strings, and Radial Engineering (maker of ToneBone pre-amps). Later, I picked up an endorsement with Eastman Guitars, Strictly 7, ToneWoodAmp, DiMarzio, .Strandberg Guitars and others along the way. Shortly thereafter, I had the honor of opening up for the legendary Andy McKee at his concert in Birmingham, Alabama .
After winning the Canadian competition, and due to the frustration of the insular nature of the music industry (you typically have to know someone), my family and I conceptualized building an audio and video recording studio to produce my first EP, 'Alpha', and future albums. Our small vision at the time focused on being an audio and video production studio available to musicians in our local market (Central Arkansas). While building it, my fellow musician friends would comment how fortunate I was (I know I am), and how they wished they had access to such resources. It didn't take long before my vision of FRETMONKEY STUDIO morphed into a collaborative inspired vision of uniting talented musicians across the globe to be a part of something new. It seemed like the elixir needed in the industry, and to my knowledge, it had not been done before. What I found along the way were 22 other notable and emerging musicians who had similar experiences in their careers and felt exactly the same way. Artists began reaching out to me about creating an artist community. Not just any community, but an artist-driven community. It had been brewing in the hearts and minds of many, but there was no vehicle or entity to bring them all together. Almost mid-stream and during a critical point in building the FRETMONKEY STUDIO, the concept of the studio evolved and catapulted into becoming a global artist community serving a greater purpose, FRETMONKEY RECORDS. 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 place where musicians are at the center of the business model and have control over their careers. Its initial success has been phenomenal and our following grows daily. The experience of forming FRETMONKEY RECORDS only further inspired me to consider other ways in which my music (and now the international guitar community) could serve as a platform to make a difference for musicians across the world and in the industry.
Immediately following the launch of FRETMONKEY RECORDS, I began focusing on my 2018 album, 'Dissonance,' showcasing my tech metal electric guitar compositions using electronic effects while serving as the soundtrack to the short self-biographical documentary that chronicles my battle with drug addiction from 2011-2014 and redemption through Christ. The short film went on to win accolades (laurels) at three national film festivals in 2019.
The sounds of conflict of internal war and peace found in 'Dissonance' were first inspired when I wrote one particular acoustic song in 2016. In that particular song, I kept visualizing a desert and war, and our U.S. troops and all that they do to protect and serve our country. The song resulted in my viral video known today as 'CombatiKa'. With several members in my own family having served in the military, I was inspired by their service and commitment to protect and serve all. Once CombatiKa was completed, I made a decision to dedicate it to all men and women who have served in the armed forces. Shortly thereafter, I reached out to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund to see if they would like to partner and be the sole beneficiary of its release. They were very excited to be a part of it. With its release coinciding with Memorial Weekend, the tribute seemed fitting to honor veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
During the same week as the CombatiKa release in 2016, I re-entered the Guitar Wars competition because I wanted to revisit the place and reconnect with the people where my journey into the acoustic world began. In 2016, I was fortunate enough to win the acoustic division, and in 2017 I won the electric division and followed up by winning the acoustic division again in 2018. And so I have come full circle. Along the way, I have gained a reflective perspective of what truly matters in my life. There's no other greater measure of success than impacting the world and people around us. Whether it's helping recovering addicts, impacting how the music conducts business with its artists, or promoting organizations that I believe in - at the end of the day my goal is to use my music for the greater good.
I hope that my journey encourages, inspires, and challenges young musicians everywhere to pursue their dreams in the music industry despite the immense challenges of engaging in the music scene. I also hope my journey is a testimony to the redemption power of Christ.
Take care, be safe, and God bless.
If you would like to follow my ongoing journey, please follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and my You Tube Channel. I would appreciate your words of support and encouragement.
(Me with my Stonebridge Guitar after winning the
2015 Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar Competition)
The Younger Days
Playing Guitar Wars in San Antonio, May 2015
The 2015 G4 experience in Cambria, California (with guitar legends Joe Satriani, Tosin Abasi, Guthrie Govan, Javier Reyes, Mike Keneally)
The 2015 Andy McKee's Musicarium with Antoine Dufour, Stephen Bennett, (me), Billy McLaughlin, and Andy McKee
Placed 1st in the 2015 Canadian Guitar Festival and Competition
The night I opened up for Andy McKee
Me and my family on launch night of FretMonkey Records, March 1, 2016
Placed 1st in the 2016 Guitar Wars (Acoustic Division) San Antonio, TX.
Placed 1st in the 2017 Guitar Wars (Electric Division) San Antonio, TX.
Placed 1st in the 2018 Guitar Wars (Acoustic Division) San Antonio, TX.