Every summer while on tour with NGW I learn about a new guitarist that either I have never heard of or hear a track that makes me rethink how I listen to someone. Below I have listed 20 guitarists that I feel are appreciated enough and should be exposed to a larger audience.
Go support them. Buy their CD. Go see them live. Even, email them and ask for a lesson. At the very least go to their website and say thanks.
Mary Halvorson – Mary is one of the leading guitarists on the NY improv scene. With an angular, yet melodic style she can fit in with artists from Anthony Braxton to Marc Ribot. Pick up her Dragon’s Head album on Friehouse Records.
Andy McKee – Ok, so maybe you aren’t one of the millions of people who have seen Andy’s videos on YouTube. Drawing a clear lineage from Michael Hedges and Preston Reed, Andy is a modern acoustic master. He also has TABS available on his website. I wish more guitarists did this.
Jody Fisher – Many of you probably recognize Jody’s names from the many books his has written. His series of jazz method books still ranks as some of the most popular. I have had the great pleasure to get to know Jody over the last 6 or 7 years and every time we get together I learn something new.
Bret Boyer – Based out of Austin, Texas Bret has become one of my favorite musicians and people. When I first met Bret, I knew him mostly as a jazz guitarist specializing in fingerstyle guitar. One of my favorite albums of Bret’s is Grace, a collection of hyms done on solo fingerstyle guitar. Later on I discovered that he is also an amazing songwriter.
Pat Bergeson – To those of you who live in Nashville, Pat’s name probably won’t be that new to you. The first time I heard Pat play was one night in Nashville at a bar. He was playing with Guthrie Trapp and Dave Pomeroy. Long jams, lots of improv and tons of guitar. Years ago, Pat was teaching guitar at NGW when Chet Atkins heard him play and convinced him to move to Nashville.
Ben Lacy – As a one-man guitar army, Ben takes tunes and reworks them to fit for solo guitar. Many other musicans in this niche usually go the acoustic route, but Ben does his damage with a Brian Moore. Make sure to stop by their booth at the next NAMM to see Ben in person.
Tim Miller – Remember that guy you went to college with and every assignment seemed incredibly easy to him? Well, imagine that guy crossed with Alan Holdsworth and you get Tim Miller. Coming out of the long line of great musicians from North Texas, he just recently did a stint at the Village Vanguard with Paul Motian. Not bad.
Amanda Monaco – Once when someone asked Amanda what her music sounded like, she told them “Have you ever heard a fire in a pet store?”. I personally don’t think that her music is that avant-garde, but it definitely has a modern New York vibe. For the last few summers, I have spent a considerable amount of time on the road with Amanda and I can’t tell you how many times people of come up to me and said how gifted of an educator and musician she is. Also, she CRANKS out the CD’s. Don’t forget her blog as well.
David Tronzo – I first heard of David through Amanda Monaco (I think she first met David at NGW, years ago). He is a crazy mad scientist of a player, but well worth checking out. Recently he did a gig with Kurt Rosenwinkel at Smalls that I heard was out of control.
Andy Aledort – I knew the name just like everyone else of my generation who grew up on his transcriptions in Guitar World, Guitar for The Practicing Musician and other magazines. A few years ago I received a call from John Scofield asking if Andy could come to a clinic. It was great to finally meet him in person and thank him for all the help he gave me growing up. Nowadays, Andy is holding down the guitar chair in Dickey Betts’ band.
Mike Cramer – When I first met Mike, he was really into acoustic delta blues. Then he went to UNI and became a great jazz guitarist. I would imagine he was bored with that, because he then took to flatpicking bluegrass guitar and won some competitions. Scary player, super nice guy. He owns a teaching studio in St. Paul, Minnesota along with his wife and is an in demand player in many styles. I hate him.
So make sure to Google their names, look at their videos on YouTube, follow them on Twitter and then let me know who I missed in the comments below.