Greg Leisz

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Greg Leisz
Greg Leisz playing mandolin 02Apr2013.jpg
Leisz playing mandolin in Eric Clapton's band
Background information
Birth name Gregory Brian Leisz
Born (1949-09-18) September 18, 1949 (age 67)
Buffalo, New York, United States
Genres Rock, folk, country, pop, jazz, blues, acoustic
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, recording artist, record producer
Instruments Lap steel, pedal steel guitar, guitar, dobro, mandolin
Years active Mid-1960s–present
Associated acts The Crash Test Dummies k.d. lang, Matthew Sweet, Bill Frisell, Eric Clapton, Jackson Browne, Peter Case, Joe Cocker, Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris, John Mayer, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Loudon Wainwright III

Gregory Brian Leisz (pronounced "Lease")[1] (born September 18, 1949) is an American musician. 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-1960s Southern California. He frequented the Ashgrove, the Troubador, and clubs on the Sunset Strip . He began playing guitar and soon added dobro and lap steel. He was inspired to pick up the pedal steel after hearing Sneaky Pete Kleinow and Buddy Emmons 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 Davis's Arista 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 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. Leisz has also worked extensively with Matthew Sweet starting in the early 1990s, when he worked on the album Girlfriend and joined Sweet on tour.

Leisz playing guitar with Jackson Browne (left) in Greenville, South Carolina, October 8, 2015

In January 2008, he joined the group Works Progress Administration, 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, on September 15, 2009. 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. Leisz toured in 2015 as a member of Jackson Browne's band, and again in 2017. Leisz appeared in the 2016 Cameron Crowe cable television series Roadies, accompanying Jackson Browne performances on three songs in the last episode of the series.

Leisz's playing has appeared throughout the years on recordings by Aaron Neville, Alison Krauss, Amos Lee, Beck, Bill Frisell, Black Crowes, Bon Iver, Bruce Cockburn, Bruce Springsteen, Cass McCombs, Chuck Prophet, Daft Punk, Dave Alvin, Eagles, Emmylou Harris, Eric Clapton, Glenn Frey, Grant Lee Buffalo, Jackson Browne, Joe Cocker, John Fogerty, John Mayer, John Stewart, Joni Mitchell, k.d. lang, Lucinda Williams, Matthew Sweet, Meshell Ndegeocello, Paula Cole, Peter Case, Ray Lamontagne, Robert Plant, Sara Watkins, Shawn Colvin, Sheryl Crow, Susanna Hoffs, The Bangles, The Jayhawks, The Smashing Pumpkins, Tracy Chapman, Whiskeytown, Wilco,[2] and Allen Toussaint.[3]

Another close collaborator is Bill Frisell, with whom he tours regularly and is featured on the albums Good Dog, Happy Man, Blues Dream, The Intercontinentals, Disfarmer, and All We Are Saying.

Awards and honors[edit]

In 2010, Leisz was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award for Instrumentalist by the Americana Music Association. He received a Grammy Award for his contributions to Ray LaMontagne's 2010 release, God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise.


With Ryan Adams

With Beck

With Jackson Browne

With Peter Case

With Eric Clapton

With Joe Cocker

With Holly Cole

With Shawn Colvin

With Sheryl Crow

With Bill Frisell

With Emmylou Harris

With Missy Higgins

With Miranda Lambert

With k.d. lang

With Amos Lee

With John Mayer

With Joni Mitchell

With The Murmurs

With Randy Newman

With Mark Olson

With Sam Phillips

With Bruce Springsteen

With Matthew Sweet

With various artists

With Loudon Wainwright III

With Wilco

With Lucinda Williams

With others


  1. ^ "Greg Leisz – News, Photos, Videos, Bio. Free music downloads at". Retrieved July 16, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Bo Menart". Retrieved July 16, 2014. 
  3. ^ "American Tunes". Retrieved May 23, 2016. 

External links[edit]