Billy McLaughlin

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Billy McLaughlin
Genres Fingerstyle guitar, tapping, new age
Occupation(s) Musician, composer, producer, public speaker
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Years active 1988–present
Labels Proton Discs, Narada
Associated acts The Billy McLaughlin Group
Website [1]

Billy McLaughlin is a new age acoustic guitarist, composer and producer from Minnesota, United States.


Billy McLaughlin, of Irish ancestry, graduated with honors from the University of Southern California. He is one of nine children. McLaughlin now resides in his home state of Minnesota where he is raising his two boys.[1] In 2005 Billy announced via his website that he is suffering from focal dystonia, which severely limits his ability to play. He began teaching himself to play his distinctive hammering style "left-handed," with the neck of the guitar toward his right shoulder. A documentary entitled "Changing Keys" was made about this phase of his career. He returned to performing publicly in 2006 both solo and with his band. During his December 2006 concerts with Simple Gifts, the sextet he formed in 2002 to play Christmas music, he performed the hammering style left-handed and more traditional strumming style right-handed, using separate sets of guitars tuned for the manner in which he was playing. Also, McLaughlin released a new album, entitled "Into the Light", in early 2007. This album was recorded live and features some new compositions as well as old favorites like "Fingerdance" and "Helms Place".


McLaughlin has toured around the US since before 1988, and also performs in Japan and across Europe.

The National Association for Campus Activities has awarded McLaughlin with three National Campus Entertainer of the Year Awards (Jazz) and a Hall of Fame Achievement Award.[1]


  • Billy McLaughlin (1988) Proton Music Publishing
  • Inhale Pink (1989) Proton Discs
  • The Archery of Guitar (1993) Proton Discs
  • Wintersongs & Traditionals (1994) Proton Discs
  • Stormseeker – The Best of Billy McLaughlin (1995) Proton Discs
  • Fingerdance (1996) Narada
  • Out of Hand (1999) Narada
  • Acoustic Original: The Best of Billy McLaughlin (2001) Narada
  • Guitar Meditations – with Soulfood (2001) Soulfood Music
  • A Simple Gift (2002) Proton Discs (Debut release of Simple Gifts)
  • Guitar Meditations II – with Soulfood (2005) Soulfood Music
  • Into the Light (2007) Proton Discs
  • Shepherds & Angels – with Simple Gifts (2007) Proton Discs
  • A Small Town Christmas – with Simple Gifts (2009) Proton Discs
  • The Star Carol – with Simple Gifts (2010) Proton Discs
  • "Winter grace - with Simple Gifts" (2013) Proton Discs
  • "This Christmastide - with Simple Gifts" (2016) Proton Discs

With The Billy McLaughlin Group[edit]

  • Exhale Blue (1989)
  • The Bow and the Arrow (1995)
  • Finally! – Live (2002) Proton Discs

Compilation appearances[edit]

See also[edit]