Greg Leisz

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Greg Leisz
Leisz playing mandolin in Eric Clapton's band in 2013
Leisz playing mandolin in Eric Clapton's band in 2013
Background information
Birth nameGregory Brian Leisz
Born (1949-09-18) September 18, 1949 (age 73)
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
GenresRock, folk, country, pop, jazz, blues, acoustic
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, record producer
Instrument(s)Lap steel, pedal steel guitar, guitar, dobro, mandolin
Years activeMid-1960s–present
Member ofThe Forest Rangers

Gregory Brian Leisz (/ls/ LEESS;[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 playing lap steel in Eric Clapton's band, Charlotte, North Carolina, April 2, 2013

Leisz grew up in the garage band culture of mid-1960s Southern California. He spent time at 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 Arista Records in 1976. After the band broke up, he became a popular musician both in the studio and on the road.

In 1987, Leisz 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, he played on k.d. lang's Grammy-winning Absolute Torch and Twang and joined her on the resulting tour. For the next eighteen years he toured with Lang and recorded with her, including her album Ingenue. Starting the early 1990s, he worked often with Matthew Sweet, played on Sweet's album Girlfriend and toured with him.

In January 2008, Leisz 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 Ray LaMontagne as a member of his backing band, The Pariah Dogs. He toured in 2013 as a member of Eric Clapton's band, in 2015 as a member of Jackson Browne's band, and again in 2017. He appeared in the 2016 Cameron Crowe cable television series Roadies, accompanying Jackson Browne 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, Haim, 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, Rosie Flores, Ryan Adams, Sam Phillips, Sara Watkins, Shawn Colvin, Sheryl Crow, Susanna Hoffs, The Bangles, The Jayhawks, The Smashing Pumpkins, Tracy Chapman, Vampire Weekend,[2] Whiskeytown, Wilco,[3] and Allen Toussaint.[4]

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, All We Are Saying, and Guitar in the Space Age!.

Personal life[edit]

Greg married Estonian musician Mai Leisz in April 2018.


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

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

In 2011 he received a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album for his contributions to Ray LaMontagne's album God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise (2010).[5]


With Ryan Adams

With Gregg Allman

With David Baerwald

With Jessie Baylin

  • Little Spark (Blonde Rat, 2012)

With Beck

With Jackson Browne

With Peter Case

With Eric Clapton

With Joe Cocker

With Holly Cole

With Shawn Colvin

With Sheryl Crow

With Lana Del Rey

With Brett Dennen

With Tim Easton

  • Break Your Mother's Heart (New West Records, 2003)

With Bill Frisell

With Barry Gibb

With Michael Grimm

With John Wesley Harding

With Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt

With Emmylou Harris

With Mark Heard

With Taylor Hicks

With Missy Higgins

With Steve Holy

With Miranda Lambert

With k.d. lang

With Amos Lee

With Lori Lieberman

  • Monterey (Drive On Records, 2003)

With Charles Lloyd

With John Mayer

With Joni Mitchell

With Gaby Moreno

  • Alegoría (Metamorfosis, 2022)

With Geoff Muldaur

  • Password (HighTone, 2000)

With The Murmurs

With Anne Murray

With Randy Newman

With Mark Olson

With Judith Owen

  • Lost And Found (Century of Progress, 2005)
  • Somebody's Child (Twanky Records, 2016)

With Sam Phillips

With Tristan Prettyman

With Chuck Prophet

  • Balinese Dancer (China Records, 1993)
  • Homemade Blood (Cooking Vinyl Records, 1997)
  • No Other Love (New West Records, 2002)
  • ¡Let Freedom Ring! (Yep, 2009)

With Ronna Reeves

  • After the Dance (River, 1995)

With Shivaree

With Michelle Shocked

  • Got No Strings (Mighty Sound, 2005)

With Bruce Springsteen

With Curtis Stigers

  • Brighter Days (Columbia Records, 1999)

With Syd Straw

  • Surprise (Virgin Records, 1989)

With Matthew Sweet

With Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs

With The Manhattan Transfer

With various artists

With Loudon Wainwright III

With Wilco

With Lucinda Williams

With others


  1. ^ "Greg Leisz and The Omni Pedal". Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved October 30, 2020.
  2. ^ "Vampire Weekend detail new album Father Of The Bride". FactMag. January 24, 2019.
  3. ^ "Bo Menart". Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  4. ^ "American Tunes". Retrieved May 23, 2016.
  5. ^ "Lady Antebellum Takes Home Five Grammys; Justin Bieber Gets Beat for Best Newcomer". Fox News. Associated Press. February 14, 2011. Retrieved October 26, 2017.

External links[edit]