John Widgren is a pedal steel guitarist, visual/creative artist, teacher, technician, and producer.
After years of playing as a steel guitarist with Nashville touring and recording artists, John left Nashville and returned home to the NYC metro area where he is a first call session and live performance player. He has played with recording artists including Patti Loveless, Crystal Bowersox, Martina McBride, Commander Cody, Archer/Park, Toby Keith, Kelli O’Hara, Martin Sexton, Skeeter Davis, and Victoria Shaw among many others. He has done hundreds of commercials and jingles. He has numerous film score credits. Widgren has worked as a guest instrumentalist with the Boston Pops Orchestra’s nationally televised July 4th celebration for several years; He is their first call steel guitarist (and doubles on second Howitzer). John produced and played pedal steel and multiple other instruments on Western Caravan’s critically acclaimed first CD “Yellow Texas Moon”. He produced and played on the cult single “Psycho Santa.” He played at the FujiRock festival in Niigata Japan with Western Caravan for two years, playing other shows at Tokyo’s Club Quattro. Widgren has worked extensively in musical theater and has been responsible for the development of the steel guitar parts and instrumentation for numerous musical productions and has enjoyed ” playing the book” in others. Theater credits include: Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Paul Simon’s Capeman, Always Patsy Cline, Honky Tonk Angels, The Blue Flower, Bugs Bunny on Broadway, and Because of Winn Dixie. When not working as a player, John enjoys teaching steel and working on pedal steels; making them mechanically perfect. People bring him instruments from all over for his special precision touch. He is also an expert at vintage pedal steel restorations, Widgren enjoys doing recording and performance work that brings him to locations with good fly fishing, where he practices a fly-only, minimalist, catch and release style.