THE STORY BEHIND FRETMONKEY STUDIO AND CREATING "THE MOST PROGRESSIVE ARTIST COMMUNITY IN THE GUITAR WORLD"
After Conway-based guitarist, Kevin Blake Goodwin won four national and international guitar championships, FRETMONKEY™ RECORDS formed in late 2015 as a small audio and music video production studio in Conway, Arkansas. Early on, an inspired vision of uniting independent, talented musicians across the globe to form a collaborative artist community ultimately led to the unique formation of FRETMONKEY™ (the international artist community) and FRETMONKEY RECORDS, the internatinal record label. In 2016, Goodwin inspired 22 award-winning and notable musicians spanning 10 countries to launch the international entitiy of Fretmonkey on March 1. 2016. Their efforts resulted in a one-of-a-kind, innovative artist community and record label where the artists informed the decision-making and operations of the community, and were not bound to traditional label contracts that may prevent them from accepting other opportunities. With the premise that they are collectively stronger as a community of musicians rather than as solo independent artists, their mission was and is to capitalize on their collective voice to create career-changing opportunities for themselves and to create similar opportunities for Do-It-Yourself (DIY) musicians across the globe.
Fretmonkey founding members are Don Alder (winner of all top modern guitar competitions), Gary Lutton (winner of the UK-based televised competition Guitar Star), Jake Hertzog (winner of the Montreux Jazz Guitar Competition), Manan Gupta (winner of the prestigious international Lee Ritenour’s Six String Theory Competition), Travis Bowman (winner of the national Ernie Ball Acoustic Prodigy contest, and Walnut Valley - Winfield International Fingerstyle Guitar Competition), Kevin Blake Goodwin, Justin St- Pierre and Jamie Dupuis (winners of the international Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar Competition), and Ali Deniz Kardelen (Indiana Fingerstyle Guitar champion). Fretmonkey Records founding members also include acclaimed musicians like Candyrat Records artist Adrian Bellue, Adam Crossman (Canada), Aaron Edward (USA), Haythem Mohammed (UK), IRaf Qu (Italy), Oscar Mendez (Colombia), Geordie Little (Germany), Anthony Troy (USA), Joseph Lyle (USA), Jacob Quistgaard (Denmark; aka Quist; lead guitarists for the legendary Bryan Ferry), Kris Schulz (Canada), and singer-songwriter R&B sensation Tyler Sellers (USA).
Fretmonkey has emerged as the organized international community of fingerstyle guitarists, and has expanded the company's branding across the globe. Efforts resulted in partnerships with music manufacturers and sponsored monthly events like the Belfast Acoustic Guitar Night, Berlin Acoustic Guitar Night, Manchester Guitar Night, Colombia Guitar Night, and Edinburgh Guitar Night. In 2017, Fretmonkey replicated its model in China, and eventually opened an office in Nanchang City in October 2018. In 2019, Fretmonkey joined forces with world-renowned record label Candyrat Records to jointly create an annual international fingerstyle community festival, camp, and guitar competition in the United States - "Fingerstyle Collective Guitar Festival" - a monumental music event showcasing the diversity and extraordinary talents in the international fingerstyle guitar community. The "Fingerstyle Collective Guitar Festival" is being replicated in part in Colombia in late 2019 and to scale in Portugal in the summer 2020.
In 2019, the FRETMONKEY RECORDING STUDIO was moved to 1004 Front Street in Conway, Arkansas to offer extraordinary services to not only international clientele, but the Arkansas community as well. Kevin Blake Goodwin and the entire Fretmonkey Records community look forward to serving you and the entire music community in all genres.
We like to think our story is reminiscent of a famous quote by Margaret Mead - “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”