There’s one thing that has become very clear to me. There is no shortage of talented, diverse female guitarists out there that are worth a listen, or two, or three.
Here once again are 10 women (actually 11, since we’ve got two guitarists from Wild Flag) who know how to wield their instrument in a wide variety of musical ways … from the enchanting to the downright slap-upside-the-head.
And don’t forget to check out our previous Exposed articles, too! Check them out in "RELATED CONTENT" to the left.
New York-based Rudick isn’t afraid to explore her instrument. Known for utilizing original tunings and chords, percussive rhythms and looped beats, Rudick’s style and ability are spellbinding. Rudick has scored a slew of films and stepped into the engineer role on Scott Matthew’s Gallantry’s Favorite Son. Her new release, slated for January, “is a departure from her acoustic debut, exploring new territory and mixing genres; combining orchestration for strings with electronica,” Rudick says. Do tell!
We’ll keep you posted when that baby goes live. In the meantime, check out this video of Rudick performing "Darling" from her forthcoming second CD for an encore at the Knitting Factory, BAM Sounds Like Brooklyn Music Festival show.
Hailing from Oakland, California, Mendoza has played in a wide variety of groups from heavy rock to contemporary classical. But her solo work leans toward the country/blues side of the spectrum. That may sound a little highbrow, but Mendoza isn't afraid to get down and dirty.
As she says, “I tend to tread a wobbly line between melodicism, atonality and sonic abstraction. Both solo and in groups I like to develop specific tunes / riffs / compositional ideas and then throw musical monkey wrenches into them live, forcing them to self-destruct and collide with free improvisation.” I say, ooooh, anyone with a monkey wrench knows how to have a good time. Here’s a solo show from a couple of years ago at Café du Nord in San Francisco.
You might call guitarist and vocalist St. Vincent avant-garde, quirky or even peculiar, but her talent is undeniable. This winter she released Strange Mercy, which was named on Rolling Stone’s list of the top 50 albums of 2011. Born Annie Erin Clark, St. Vincent has opened for acts such as Television, Arcade Fire, Andrew Bird, Jolie Holland, John Vanderslice, Xiu Xiu, Death Cab for Cutie, and Grizzly Bear.
She worked with Bon Iver on the song "Roslyn," which appeared on the film soundtrack of The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Her unconventional musical style and sensibility have been characterized by critics as a mixture of chamber rock, pop, indie rock and cabaret jazz. I call it … interesting. Here’s a live performance of “Cruel” off of Strange Mercy. Check out the official video too if you get a chance. It IS cruel.
This singer/songwriter jumped into the biz at the age of 10 when she released an album of children songs on EMI Norway with her friend Marit Larsen. That album was nominated for a Norwegian Grammy!
Then at age 14 Marion and Marit, now under the name “M2M,” signed with Atlantic Records and released two albums that sold more than two million copies. In 2006 Marion recorded a duet with Meat Loaf of the song “It´s all coming back to me now” and then toured with both Meat Loaf and Pink around the world in 2007.
This year finds Raven as a judge on Norwegian “Idol,” but don’t hold that against her. Raven can rock acoustic, electric, keys or whatever else is thrown her way. Check out this video of "Heads Gonna Roll." The title says it all. Super hot.
Don’t be afraid to call Tedeschi "Derek Truck’s wife." As half of the Tedeschi-Trucks Band, this blues and soul musician puts her heart into every gritty note. Jumping into her first band at the age of 13, she’s been nominated for several Grammys and has opened for a long list of name acts, including The Rolling Stones, John Mellencamp, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, The Allman Brothers Band, Taj Mahal and Bob Dylan.
Trucks, guitarist for the Allman Brothers, met Tedeschi on their 1999 tour, and the two have been collaborating ever since, guesting on each other’s solo recordings and now performing together with the formation of their current band in 2010 and the release of Revelator. Check out the crazy cool dual guitar work on this video of “Learn How to Love.”
Even if you don’t care about raw, top-of-your-lungs energy and jangly punk-ass guitar playing, you’ll be drawn in by the crazy curly mass of red hair sported by Miss Alex White and her brother Francis Scott Key White, the two and only members of Chicago-based White Mystery. With Francis on drums and Alex manning the guitar and vocals, this duo knows how to throw one hell of a party.
Raw, punchy, with a bit of sarcasm thrown in for good luck, and yet somehow catchy enough to make you wanna stay for the second set. White Mystery were named a Top Act and Best Video premiere by MTV, Top Ten Indie Album by The Chicago Tribune, and have shared stages with Weezer, the Gories and Mavis Staples. They played more that 120 shows around North America in 2011. Look out for a new release, video and SXSW tour to come this year!
Molly Manarchy is in love with both classical and metal guitar. Intensely trained at top-notch academies and universities, Manarchy has performed at the White House and the Kennedy Center and was awarded a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music. Her long, flowing hair and undeniable dexterity add to the enchantment that pervades her performances. Here’s a video of Manarchy of Milonga by Piazzolla performed in Antelope Canyon. Mesmerizing!
But wait! You say you want to see her metal side? Catch a little taste here:
Tight, skilled and never a dull moment, Japanese trio Boris are known for combining metal, noise, psychedelic rock, ambient and pop to create their own unique take. Launched in 1996, the band has recorded 17 studio albums. Drummer-vocalist Atsuo, bassist-guitarist-vocalist Takeshi and guitarist-vocalist Wata rely on instinct and raw emotion to guide their creative path. Check out the slinky, cranky solo by Wata on “Statement.” So stoic and yet so badass!
Brownstein, formerly of the celebrated trio Sleater-Kinney, and Timony (The Spells, Helium) have landed in a very fine place with their new project, Wild Flag.
Celebrating their September 2011 self-titled debut, Wild Flag finds Brownstein and Timony stepping back into the guitar spotlight and onto some pretty hefty stages. Brownstein is also known as a writer and the blogger for NPR’s “Monitor Mix.” Wild Flag brings the ladies together for some much needed excellent, down and twangy mouthing off. Check out this irreverent little number called “Romance.” Now that’s a lunch break!
With the release of her latest album, Make Your Move, Ali Handel continues to carry her funky, rock rhythms and seductive vocals into new territory. Admittedly inspired by Jimmy Page as a teenager, Handal took a circuitous route to her lead guitar role.
Handal has had several songs placed in movies, and she has routinely appeared on The Price Is Right as the resident guitar demonstrator when they give away guitar prizes! Here’s a sassy cover of “My Sharona” from Make Your Move, complete with a sweet solo at 1:29.