Guitarist brings comeback story to Paramount

Published 6:40 am Thursday, May 20, 2010

Minneapolis-based guitarist and composer Billy McLaughlin brings his award-winning music and inspiring comeback story to Austin Friday.

A decade ago, Billboard Top 10 artist and fingerstyle player, noted for his technique of tapping on strings, began having problems controlling his right hand. He lost the ability to play at all with his right side by the year 2000, and years later he was diagnosed with the neuromuscular disorder Focal Dystonia. He’s since taught himself to play left-handed and he and an electric string quartet play the Paramount Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Paramount Theatre manager of operations Scott Anderson called him a “great guitarist” Wednesday and said he’s excited for the show.

Anderson is not the only one giving McLaughlin acclaim.

The five-time Minnesota Music Award-winning guitarist is also a spokesperson for the Chicago-based Dystonia Medical Research Foundation. He has been recognized by The American Academy of Neurology and the American Academy of Neurology Foundation, and last month McLaughlin was honored by two International Neurological Organizations in Toronto

Two films have also been made about his battle and comeback. Both will be available at the concert.

McLaughlin plays a “finger tapping” style of guitar, placing both hands on the fret board — And after teaching himself to play all of his music left-handed, he continues to perform internationally with symphony orchestras, string quartets, modern rock ensembles and as a solo performer.

For more information about the artist, go to

Tickets to the concert are $17 or $10 for students. They are available online at and at the box office.