Back in 2000, in Los Angeles’ Conga Room, as a guest of a Virgin Records publicist, I had my mind blown by my friend’s new client, singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur. When actress Rosanna Arquette came onstage for a duet on Arthur’s “Invisible Hands,” I was hooked.
Jerry Garcia is best known as the lead guitar player and primary singer/songwriter of the Grateful Dead. Though they are regarded as pioneers of the “jam band” genre that rose to prominence in the late Sixties, the Grateful Dead, unlike many of their counterculture contemporaries, never faltered with the changing times.
Jerry Reed (1937–2008), known by many as Burt Reynolds’ truck-driving partner in crime in the 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit, was also a highly accomplished and influential guitar picker. Let’s look at some of the technical and stylistic elements that made Reed a great player.
Regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, Delta blues wizard Robert Johnson recorded only 29 songs (plus 13 alternate takes, in two sessions) during his 27 years of life. They were cut when he wasn’t playing for tips on street corners, in juke joints or in front of barbershops and other commercial establishments.
What happens when you mix bluesy, Robert Johnson–style fingerpicking and tropical “Calypso” grooves, with repertoire consisting of spiritual hymns and sea shanties sung by a gruff-voiced, scat-singing, foot-stomping stonemason? You get the inimitable Joseph Spence (1910–1984)
On March 26, 2015, the guitar community lost a legend: progressive folk master and founding member of Pentangle, John Renbourn, a picker who literally did what he loved—playing and teaching—up until the end. Let’s pay our respects to Renbourn with a retrospective look at his influential solo output.