He has studied guitar with the legendary Andrés Segovia in Spain. He has toured the country relentlessly. His guitar-lesson infomercials and DVDs are synonymous with QVC and HSN. But all Esteban (born Stephen Paul) has wanted for the past few years is to call Sedona home. “I was traveling 220 days a year, and that wears you down,” he says. “I wanted to find a home, somewhere that I could play guitar in one place. I’ve traveled the world, and Sedona is the most beautiful city – or village – I’ve seen. When I realized I had to leave Las Vegas, I didn’t consider going anywhere else.”
Not only has Esteban relocated from Las Vegas (where secondhand smoke and the resulting lung infection caused him to re-evaluate his career), he has also set up shop at Sound Bites Show Lounge with performances every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through May. But it won’t be Esteban’s first stint in Sedona – he has a history with Red Rock Country. In 1980, while living in Scottsdale, Esteban was hit by a drunk driver; doctors told him he would never be able to play guitar again because of extensive nerve damage. Ten years later, he began to regain use of his left arm and fingers, and his comeback gig was in front of El Rincon Restaurante Mexicano at Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village (his mom sat next to him, selling his CDs). He went on to record a live album and DVD at the Sedona Cultural Park. Esteban’s daughter, violinist Teresa Joy, has performed with him since she was 13 and is again by his side for the Sound Bites’ concerts.
“Every show will be totally different,” Esteban says. “I call it ‘from Bach to rock.’ Six-thousand years ago, man wrote his first scale, and I have a copy of that. I took it and wrote a song out of it, so I’ll be performing music from 6,000 years ago up to today.”
The 80-minute shows are completely instrumental, but that might change at the end of the year when Esteban releases an album of Johnny Cash covers. Audiences have the chance to meet Esteban and Teresa Joy after each show. – Text by Erika Ayn Finch. Photograph by Richard Faverty/Beckett Studios
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