Sometimes a really great guitar line can totally make a song. And great guitarists can inspire people to pick up the instrument themselves to learn how to play. I know that is what happened with me – I gave it up, because I am just not that good at it, but I still enjoy a good guitar player. Of course, I am a big fan of the classic greats like B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Les Paul, Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, James Burton, and Chuck Berry. But there are plenty of others out there who aren’t as well known and are pretty amazing as well.
I thought it would be fun to shine a light on a few guitar players that are so good you should hear them, but you may not know them at all. I’ll even give you a song or album to check out, too, so I’m not sending you into obscure record stores with just a name. Without any further nonsense from me, here’s the list:
Kyle Fosburgh. You may not have heard of him, but if you like acoustic or American folk music, you should check him out. Especially the album One Night. It was recorded in one session that took three hours, if you can believe that. I especially like the instrumental songs, where you can really appreciate his guitar skills.
Bernie Williams. If you follow baseball at all, his name might be familiar to you: as the centerfielder of the New York Yankees, he was on World Series championship teams four times. What you might not know is that he’s a pretty accomplished Jazz guitarist. He’s received a Latin Grammy nomination and had a couple of Billboard chart toppers. If you’re interested in hearing his music, I recommend Moving Forward. Between Williams’ talent and a host of guest performances, you’ll be seriously impressed.
Chris “Critter” Eldridge. He plays guitar with Julian Lage and Punch Brothers, and also performs as a solo artist. I am especially a fan of his music with the Punch Brothers, a band with an interesting blend of classical music and progressive bluegrass. They have only gotten better as time has gone on, and I really love The Phosphorescent Blues.
Lastly, Igor Presnyakov. This Russian-born guitarist got his start in rock and roll bands, moved over to Big Band, and then transitioned to fingerpicking. He does an amazing job with arranging music, as he was a student of classical music in his native Russia. While there aren’t a lot of albums available (check out Acoustic Pop Ballads), he is a bonafide YouTube star. Check out his channel for great original works as well as amazing takes on some well known covers.
These names only scratch the surface of the talent that’s out there. Please let me know if there are names that I missed, or specific genres that you want me to touch on in a different post in the future.