Fred Sokolow

3Sokolow was born in Los Angeles and by the early 1960s was well known in the Southern California bluegrass scene, playing with Jody Stecher, Brantley Kearns, Sandy Rothman and Eric Thompson. Relocating to Berkeley, he toured and recorded with a hippie rock band throughout most of the 1960s, the Bay Area-based Notes From the Underground (Vanguard Records). In the early 1970s Fred performed with R&B, rock, country and bluegrass bands. By 1975 Fred had played with bluegrass luminaries like John Herald, Frank Wakefield and Jerry Garcia, had opened for the Dead the Doors, B.B. King, Country Joe and the Fish and countless other acts, and he was playing in jazz combos with some of the Bay Areas best studio players.

Fred lives in Santa Monica and primarily performs retro jazz guitar with some of LA’s musicians, playing and singing songs of the 1930s and 1940s. He plays and records with British ex-rock star Ian Whitcomb. He is active on the studio scene, playing on other people’s albums and on TV and movie soundtracks, and he was a musical advisor on Michael Mann’s film, Public Enemies. Fred also records and performs with children’s artists like Dan Crow, Greg & Steve, KPFK’s Uncle Ruthie and Paul Stookey. He relishes the diversity of his portfolio: he played lap steel on The Tonight Show, mandolin on Rick James’ last CD, played Dobro with Chubby Checker and won on the Gong Show (playing bluegrass banjo), jammed at the House of Blues with Junior Brown…and he performs with folksinger Tom Paxton whenever Tom comes to California. He continues to create instructional material, including his “Roadmaps” series, and is regarded as an authority on many musical genres, particularly what is now called “Americana.”

There are over a hundred of his books or DVDs in print. Fred is a West Coast multi-string performer and recording artist, particularly on the acoustic music scene. The musical genres covered in his books and DVDs, along with several bluegrass, jazz and rock CDs he has released, demonstrate his mastery of many musical styles.

Stanley R. Alten

Stanley R. Alten teaches audio production, TV/film aesthetics, writing, and criticism. Before joining the Syracuse University faculty, he worked in radio and television as a producer, writer, sound designer, performer, and station manager in numerous markets, including Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. He also has many film and record production credits and continues to be professionally active through his own production company. Alten is an internationally recognized authority in sound production. He is the author of AUDIO IN MEDIA, the leading audio-production text in North America for more than two decades. The book has been translated into Spanish, Korean, German, and Chinese. Recently, Alten authored a brief version of it titled AUDIO BASICS, also published with Cengage Learning. Other writing credits include AUDIO AND MEDIA: THE RECORDING STUDIO, which focuses on music recording. He also has written many articles for the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RADIO, WORLD BOOK ENCYCLOPEDIA (for which he served as audio editor), and the INTERNATIONAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF EDUCATION, 2nd Edition. He has been honored for teaching excellence by the Outstanding Educators of America, Alpha Epsilon Rho, and the National Science Foundation.

Jason Falls

jason fallsJason Falls is one of the leading thinkers, consultants, strategists and educators in the emerging world of social media marketing. His insights and ideas have helped International, national and niche brands like Jim Beam Bourbon, Humana, Expion, Maker’s Mark Bourbon, the Envelope Manufacturers of America, National Stem Cell Foundation, eXtension, SHPS and the National Center for Family Literacy. He is the editor of, one of the web’s most widely read social media marketing blogs, and founder of, a learning community focused on providing education and counsel for those needing help with digital and social media marketing. He lives in Louisville, Ky.

Jason is the author of No Bullshit Social Media and The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing: Grow Your List, Break the Rules, and Win (Que Biz-Tech).

Dick Weissman

dickweissman_photoDick Weissman was born in Philadelphia, where he began piano lessons at the age of seven. His musical career was interrupted by a teenage career as a semi-professional ping pong player. Following the advice in Pete Seeger’s banjo book, Dick bought a five string banjo at a pawn shop in the skid row section of town, abandoning it when he couldn’t figure out how to tune it without breaking strings. While attending Goddard College in Vermont, Dick met Lil Blos, who offered to teach him how to play the banjo. At about the same time Dick won a guitar in payment of a gambling debt that was part of his ping pong expertise.

Spending his junior year in New York and New Mexico, Dick met the gospel blues guitarist Gary Davisin New York, and had the great experience of sitting in on a number of occasions with Gary at the house of Tiny Ledbetter, Leadbelly’s niece. Dick studied with guitarist Jerry Silverman during this New York sojourn, and met the superb banjoist Stu Jamieson in Albuquerque.

After graduating from college, Dick moved to New York, and spent the next four years alternating between attending graduate school and becoming active in the folk music scene in Greenwich Village. Eventually he dropped out of Columbia, performed with Happy Traum, did a two week gig at Folk City opening for Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry, and with John Phillips and Scott McKenzie formed the folk-pop band The Journeymen. Three and a half years, three Capitol albums and several hundred concerts later, Dick moved back to New York and became a studio musician, record producer and songwriter.

In 1972 he moved to Colorado, got a music degree, wrote numerous instructional books for banjo and guitar, and performed widely. This evolved into a writing career, co-authoring the award-winning Folk Music Sourcebook and writing the best-selling The Music Business: Career Opportunities & Self Defense. At the same time Dick taught at the late Colorado Women’s College, later getting an MA from the University of Oklahoma, and working for NARAS as their National Educational Coordinator in Los Angeles in 1987. Moving back to Colorado, Dick became a tenured professor in the Music & Entertainment Industry program at the University of Colorado at Denver. While in Colorado he wrote a number of other instructional folios, two feature film scores, and he focused on performing and recording original instrumental music.

In 2002 Dick and his wife Susan Planalp moved to Oregon, and they live in Portland, where Dick continues to perform, record, and to teach seminars and workshops. To date Dick has written 15 published books on music and the music business, is featured on six instrumental CDs, and has written over fifty instructional folios for various music publishers.

Brian Solis

briansolis3Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. More so, he humanizes technology’s causal effect to help people see people differently and understand what to do about it. He is an award-winning author and avid keynote speaker who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation and innovation.

Brian has authored several best-selling books including What’s the Future of Business (WTF), Engage! and The End of Business as Usual. His blog,, is ranked as a leading resource for insights into the future of business, new technology and marketing.

Moses Avalon

moses3Moses Avalon is one of the top music business experts in the country. Having spent over 30 years in the business, he has seen the ups and downs and has focused his efforts on helping artists protect their rights. His artist rights advocacy endeavors have helped thousands of artists directly in addition to the 14,000+ who subscribe to his monthly newsletter where he profiles the numerous opportunities and pitfalls in the industry. As an author, his top selling music industry references, Million Dollar Mistakes and Confessions of a Record Producer continue to be required reading in over 50 music business courses around the world including the music business programs at such prestigious colleges and universities. He has appeared on numerous television news shows (Court TV, MSNBC, CNN Money Line, & Bill O’Reilly 1  2) seeking the inside info on the music business. His website,, contains a wealth of information, resources, and tools for artists. His blog, Moses Supposes, which deals with controversial issues in the music industry, reaches over 13,000 direct subscribers and approximately 100,000 readers though syndication.

Shelly Meg Peiken

Shelly PeikenShelly Meg Peiken grew up in Freeport, Long Island where she became interested in music at an early age. Later, she attended the University of Maryland where she studied fashion design only to come to New York City afterwards where she spent many years developing her true passion as a singer songwriter. Shelley is an American songwriter who is best known for co-writing the US #1 hits “What A Girl Wants” and “Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)” by Christina Aguilera, the US #2 hit “Bitch” by Meredith Brooks, and the US #16 hit “Almost Doesn’t Count” by Brandy. Her first song, “Carry Your Heart” was recorded by Taylor Dayne in 1986. The album went triple platinum.

Soon after, she signed her first publishing deal with boutique company, Hit & Run Music, and went on to write songs for Brandy, Natalie Cole, Celine Dion, The Pretenders, Britney Spears, Jessie J, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Inxs, Backstreet Boys, Keith Urban and many others.

In 1998 Shelly and Meredith Brooks earned a Best Rock Song Grammy nomination for “Bitch.” Further success followed with two No. 1’s for Christina Aguilera, “What A Girl Wants” and “Come On Over Baby,” “I Wanna Be With You” for Mandy More, “Hook Me Up” (a No. 1 in Australia, written with Greg Wells and The Veronicas), “Who You Are” (written with Toby Gad and Jessie J), “Human On The Inside” for the Pretenders (written with Mark McEntee), and “Almost Doesn’t Count” for Brandy (written with Guy Roche).

She is a Huffington Post Blogger where she writes of her experiences as a songwriter, the challenges of the current music business, and the balancing of career and parenthood. She has a personal website and blog as well. Shelly’s first book, Confessions of a Serial Songwriter, published by Backbeat Books currently available at Music Books Plus

She resides in Los Angeles with husband, film composer Adam Gorgoni and her daughter, Layla