Professional musicians have recognized young blues artist Forest Govedare, of Chewelah, as a skilled guitarist by selecting him as the winner of the Inland Empire Blues Society 2012 Musician’s Award.
This regional award is decided by a panel of five judges who select someone they feel deserves recognition but has yet to win a member-voted award. It was presented to 19-year-old Govedare on Nov. 8.
Govedare, now 20, currently plays guitar with Anita Royce and The High Rollers, a Rockin’ Blues band based out of Spokane.
“Forest is deserving because he has worked hard,” Anita Royce said. “You can’t play like he does and not have worked for it.”
“I think if you put in a room with 100 other guitar players, he would still shine, he would still be a cut above,” she added.
Royce said Govedare is also a good band co-leader in ideas and direction, and “in the moment” when they are performing on stage.
He has been with the High Rollers for about a year, however he has played guitar since he was 12 years old and has sat in with many well-known musicians and bands including Lee Oskar with War and the Fat Tones.
Some of the notable venues he has played in over the recent years include the Winthrop Blues Festival, Ritzville Blues Festival, Mt. Baker Blues Festival, Rock Cut Blues Festival, Wallace Idaho Blues Festival, and the Knitting Factory in Spokane. He said they try to play locally as well, although there are not as many venues around the Chewelah area. They have played at 49 Degrees North Boomtown Bar and Grill and most recently played at the Sportsman’s Bar and Grill on Feb. 23.
Govedare also set to sing one song at the 4th Annual PACAwards on March 9.
In 2010 and 2011, Govedare was named King of the Blues in the Spokane Division for the Guitar Center’s national contest. Royce said she was a judge and he was “by far the best.”
“He has his own style and he’s a strong player,” Royce said. “He is not afraid to put himself out there in front of people.”
Govedare’s biggest influences are Jeff Beck, Gary Moore, Eric Clapton, Warren Haines, and Joe Bonamassa, who is a younger musician successful in the blues genre.
At age nine he saw Jeff Beck perform.
“After that show I was really interested in playing guitar,” Govedare said. “That did it for me. The raw power from that show was unreal.”
In 2008, Patrick Gigliotti, CEO for Gigliotti guitars, saw Govedare playing at the blues club in Tacoma Washington and offered to make him a custom guitar. Joe Bonamassa helped build the brand as Gigliotti also designed the guitar he tours all with over the country, Govedare said.
“What a great honor to be gifted a guitar of this level, I was blown away,” he said. “Especially for Patrick Gigliotti to have gifted one of his guitars to Joe Bonamassa a few years back,” Govedare said.
Govedare is mainly self-taught and sits at home and practices often, he said. In 2011, he took a week-long master guitar class with Joe Bonamassa, Steve Lukather, and Lee Ritenour to help develop his skill as well.
Govedare has lived in Chewelah all his life. His parents are artists David Govedare and Gina Greenwood.
“Growing up I was always around music, my parents always took me to live shows,” Govedare said. “I am very lucky to have seen the music I have for my age.
His music career started when he picked up the harmonica when he was 4 and played his first gig at 8 years old in the Satellite Tavern, standing on a milk crate to reach the microphone.
For more information on the Inland Empire Blues Society, go to www.ieblues.org.
The High Rollers will be playing at the Coeur D’Alene Blues Festival on Friday, April 5 for the Cruise on the Lake. which costs $15 per person.
“If you have not heard Forest play, go see him, as you are in for a treat,” Royce said.
By Kellie Trudeau, The Independent Staff
In This Photo: Forest Govedare plays with the High Rollers at the Knitting Factory in January.