Ron Wise, Thom Bresh, Nokie Edwards – Alaska To Arizona

Ron Wise – Alaska To Arizona

This video is a nice find if I do say so myself, but I have to be honest here since guitarist Ron Wise shared it with me. Featured here is Merle Travis’ son Thom Bresh and Nokie Edwards who plays some nice electric.

Ron is one of those guys that’s done a lot in music (just check out his bio below) but kept himself slightly hidden away (at least with me).

Simply some good clean pickin’ here with and a really nice melody that makes you want to break out the guitar and play along.


“Alaska To Arizona” is a true thumbpicking classic. It was written and played by Ron Wise who lives in the mountains above Willow, Alaska. The opening shot was taken by Ron from his front porch. The song was recorded by Thom Bresh at “PickersParadise” in Scottsdale, AZ. and shot by Bresh at the home of Ron’s friends, Carroll and Gail Garvan..”

Ron Wise Bio:

“When I was about 16 years old, I met a guy named Frank Walden and I knew right then that I wanted to play the guitar just like he played because he played just like Chet Atkins. We become good friends and he gave me lessons for about a year. He then moved to Nashville and played guitar for many of the Opry stars. 
So then it was just me and my Chet Atkins records. I wore out a lot of records pulling the arm back and forth across the records trying to figure out how Chet was doing it. 

Then I met a fellow named Les Sneed. Although I didn’t know it at the time, he would play a big part in helping me with learning to play the guitar and my music carreer. He also played like Chet Atkins. We became real close friends, and I went to work with him and his brothers and Dad playing bass for the group. They were called the Sneed Family. I traveled and played with them for three years, January 1961 to December 1963. Those three years were great fun and a great learning experience as we played all over the country. Played the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas and the Nevada circuit. We also recorded at Capital Records in Hollywood. We came to Anchorage in the summer of 1961 and I fell in love with Alaska big time. We returned again in ’62 & ’63 and I just had to stay here as I loved the wilderness and mountains Alaska had to offer. My dream was to build a log cabin in the mountains. So in December of ’63, I left the group and stayed here. 
I went back and forth to Springfield, Oregon and Missoula, Montana from Alaska for several years between 1963 and 1985. 

In 1984 Les called me and asked if I would like to go on the road again and I said “You bet.” That last big road trip took me to Nashville and we played at the Opryland Hotel. After Nashville, I thanked Les for making my long time dream of playing in Nashville come true, but I needed to get back to Alaska and pursue another life long dream of building my log cabin.   I have almost completed that dream and now I will have more time to play my guitar.”  more here