3 in-demand Nashville session guitarists reveal what it takes to land country music's biggest gigs

Derek Wells in-studio (Image credit: Phillip Macias)

You might not know the names Kenny Greenberg, Russ Pahl and Derek Wells, but if you’ve been anywhere near a radio - particularly one tuned to a country music station - sometime during the past 30 years, you’re probably familiar with their work.

The three are considered among the upper-crust of Nashville’s first-call session guitarists, and even a cursory view at their combined (and sometimes shared) credits is nothing short of breathtaking: Taylor Swift, Kacey Musgraves, Blake Shelton, Toby Keith, Jewel, Kenny Chesney, Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Eric Church, Miranda Lambert, Florida Georgia Line. And that’s just to name but a few people.

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Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar World, Guitar Player, MusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.