After much deliberation, we’ve selected Will Hansen for the 2012 Sleepwalk Guitar festival Scholarship comprised of $1000.00 and an amplifier courtesy of Traynor Canada. Will Hansen is a player with great dexterity & improvisational abilities. He presented two different renditions of the same piece and his ability to think on his feet was in full display, revealing him as a player who will potentially mature into a master, should he pursue it further. As with our 2011 winner, Graham Young, Will Hansen’s abilities are humbling to the best of us–regardless of our ages–and he is very deserving of this award.

You may notice that Will’s approach falls somewhere close to Country music in flavour. You may also have noticed that many of our guests at Sleepwalk 2012 also fall into (or fairly close to) that category. This is purely a coincidence. We are very much on the lookout for talent from all corners of the guitar world & we welcome and encourage all flavours and disciplines.

This year’s submissions were a fairly huge leap from last year’s. We received a greater number of videos and many showed young players playing at a very high level. We also received a number of really impressive submissions from young women, who, as we all know, are not as well represented in the guitar geek community. But if offerings by The Command Sisters & Camille Belair are any indication, the future of ‘Girls with Guitars’ is in good hands. Other notable offerings came from Nick Lavkulik and Alex Laurie, both of whom show great promise in the jazz/fusion realm. But truly, I could describe in great detail the passion & commitment that exudes from virtually all of our young entrants, as without exception these players are showing dedication and maturity that belies their youth.

Congratulations to Will Hansen and a huge Sleepwalk “Thank You!” to all the young players who took the time to pour their hearts & souls into their guitars for us.

Keep on picking’!!!!

Luke Doucet


After close scrutiny and some really inspiring listening, we have selected our Sleepwalk Emerging Guitarist for our inaugural 2011 year. Graham Young, of Newmarket Ontario will take home the 1000 dollar prize as well as the amplifier from Traynor.

Remember when you were playing hockey as a kid and the opposing team had a player so advanced and mature that your coach had to confirm that he/she was in fact 15 and not 19? Graham is that player. His touch and phrasing are extraordinary for any player but as a 15 year old, he is simply astounding. What is even more remarkable about Young is the evidence of the countless hours he has spent with the guitar in his hands. I know many seasoned 40 year old pros who clearly haven’t spent the hours that this 15 year old has. As he matures, we will see where he goes as an artist. I look forward to hearing what kind of music he creates as he pulls out from under the (many) influences and establishes himself as a contributor to the greater musical landscape, both as a guitar player & a musician in general. I expect we will be hearing a great deal from him in the future.

See Graham’s winning entry here.

Congratulations Graham!