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 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 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 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 the subsequent tour.

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.

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, 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. 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.

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 Avenged Sevenfold, 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, Jackson Browne, Mary Gauthier, Peter Case, Emmylou Harris, Joni Mitchell, Whiskeytown, 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, Percy Sledge (1994, 2004), Sara Watkins, Nebraska Falls, John Mayer, The Bangles, Bo Menart,[2] and Allen Toussaint.[3]


Leisz playing guitar with Jackson Browne (left) in Greenville, SC, on October 8, 2015

With Ryan Adams

With Amy Allison

With Anjani

With Fiona Apple

  • Tidal (Clean Slate, 1996)

With Steve Azar

With The Bangles

With The Beach Boys

With Bonnie "Prince" Billy

With Mary Black

With Chris Botti

With Michelle Branch

With Jon Brion

With Jonatha Brooke

With Jackson Browne

With Peter Case

With Tracy Chapman

Leisz playing lap steel in Eric Clapton's band, Charlotte, NC, April 2, 2013

With Eric Clapton

With Tangier

With Joe Cocker

With Holly Cole

With Shawn Colvin

With the Court Yard Hounds

With A.J. Croce

With Sheryl Crow

With Rodney Crowell

With Daft Punk

With Grey DeLisle

With Jakob Dylan

With the Eagles

With Ramblin' Jack Elliott

With Melissa Etheridge

With John Fogerty

With Glenn Frey

With Bill Frisell

With Lisa Germano

With Haim

With Ben Harper

With Emmylou Harris

With Beth Hart

With Ted Hawkins

With Joe Henry

With Missy Higgins

With Highway 101

With Susanna Hoffs

With James Iha

With the Indigo Girls

With Bon Iver

With the Jayhawks

With Dave Koz

With Jorma Kaukonen

With Miranda Lambert

With Ray LaMontagne

With k.d. lang

With Hugh Laurie

With Amos Lee

With John Mayer

With Brian McKnight

With Shannon McNally

With Natalie Merchant

With Keb' Mo'

With Joni Mitchell

With The Murmurs

With Meshell Ndegeocello

With Willie Nelson

With Randy Newman

With Nick 13

With Stevie Nicks

With Mark Olson

With Peter Ostroushko

With Madeleine Peyroux

With Sam Phillips

With Rebecca Pidgeon

With Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

With Lisa Marie Presley

With Bonnie Raitt

With Carrie Rodriguez

With Adam Sandler

With Timothy B. Schmit

With Kevin Sharp

With Chris Shiflett

With Bruce Springsteen

With Rod Stewart

With Randy Stonehill

With Peter Stuart

With Matthew Sweet

With Teddy Thompson

With Pam Tillis

With Toad the Wet Sprocket

With Various Artists

With Joe Walsh

With Loudon Wainwright III

With Was (Not Was)

  • Boo! (Rykodisc, 2008)

With Sara Watkins

With Gillian Welch

With Paul Westerberg

With Lucinda Williams

With Brian Wilson

With Lee Ann Womack

With Lizz Wright

With Dwight Yoakam

With Allen Toussaint

  • American Tunes (Nonesuch, 2016)


  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.