Greg Leisz

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Gregory Brian Leisz (pronounced "Lease"[1]) is an American musician born on September 18, 1949 in Buffalo, NY. He is a songwriter, recording artist, and producer. He plays guitar, dobro, mandolin, lap steel and pedal steel guitar.


Leisz grew up in the garage band culture of mid-60s Southern California. He frequented the Ashgrove, the Troubador, and clubs on the Sunset Strip where he heard the rich milieu of musical acts of the time. He began playing guitar and soon added dobro and lap steel to his repertoire. He was inspired to pick up the pedal steel after hearing "Sneaky" Pete Kleinow, Buddy Emmons, and other iconic steel players.

In 1975, he toured with John Stewart (formerly of The Kingston Trio).

He was a member of Funky Kings who released their eponymous debut album on Clive DavisArista Label in 1976. After the band broke up, he became a much sought-after artist both in the studio and on the road.

In 1987, he began working with Dave Alvin (formerly of The Blasters). Their collaboration led to Leisz producing several of Alvin’s most critically acclaimed albums including King of California, Black Jack David, Ashgrove, and West of the West.

In 1989, Leisz played on k.d. lang’s Grammy-winning Absolute Torch and Twang and joined her on the resulting tour. For the following 18 years he was a mainstay of her touring and recording bands, including 1992’s Ingenue – another grammy-winning album.

Leisz has also worked extensively with Matthew Sweet starting in the early 1990s, when he worked on the album Girlfriend and joined Sweet on the subsequent tour.

Another close collaborator is Bill Frisell, with whom he tours regularly and is featured on the albums Good Dog, Happy ManBlues DreamThe Intercontinentals, Disfarmer, and All We Are Saying…

In January 2008, he joined the group Works ProgressAdministration (W.P.A.)[3] –a band composed of Leisz, Sean Watkins (guitar), his sister Sara Watkins (fiddle), Glen Phillips (guitar, vocals), Benmont Tench (piano), Luke Bulla(fiddle), Pete Thomas (drums), and Davey Faragher(bass). The group released their debut album, WPA, September 15, 2009.

In 2010, Leisz was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award for Instrumentalist by the Americana Music Association.

He received a Grammy for his contributions to Ray LaMontagne’s 2010 release God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise. In 2010 and 2011, Leisz toured with LaMontagne as a member of his backing band, The Pariah Dogs.

Leisz toured in 2013 as a member of Eric Clapton's band.[5]

He is credited on Amos Lee's Last Days at the Lodge as Greg "Liesz".

Leisz's playing has appeared throughout the years on recordings by Tiger Army, Black Crowes, Bill Frisell, Dave Alvin, John Stewart, Tracy Chapman, The Smashing Pumpkins, Grant Lee Buffalo, Acetone, Ray Lamontagne, Paula Cole, Matthew Sweet, The Jayhawks, Beck, Meshell Ndegeocello, Bruce Cockburn, Eric Clapton, Glenn Frey, Wilco, Shawn Colvin, Lucinda Williams, Mary Gauthier, Peter Case, Emmylou Harris, Joni Mitchell, Whiskeytown, Girish[disambiguation needed], The Eagles, Bad Religion, k.d. lang, Sheryl Crow, Cass McCombs, John Fogerty, Daft Punk, Natalie D-Napoleon, Bruce Springsteen, Susanna Hoffs, Robert Plant, Alison Krauss, Joe Cocker, Amos Lee, Aaron Neville, Bon Iver, Chuck Prophet, Sara Watkins, John Mayer, The Bangles and Bo Menart,[2] to name just a few.