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From furious bluegrass picking to volcanic black metal: here are this week's essential guitar tracks

Molly Tuttle performs at The Fillmore Charlotte on November 05, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina
(Image credit: Jeff Hahne/Getty Images)

Welcome to Guitar World’s weekly roundup of the musical highlights from the, erm, world of guitar. Every seven days (or thereabouts), we endeavor to bring you a selection of songs from across the guitar universe, all with one thing in common: our favorite instrument plays a starring role.

Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway – Crooked Tree

What is it? Having shown the full range of her skills as a guitarist and interpreter on 2020 covers album, ...but i'd rather be with you, Molly Tuttle has swung back to her bluegrass roots on Crooked Tree, a new album with bluegrass collective Golden Highway. This is the album’s lead single and title track. 

Standout guitar moment: You can practically hear the crackle of flames rising from Tuttle’s acoustic during the guitar break after the song’s first chorus – such is the speed and precision of her award-winning, dead-on-perfect picking. 

For fans of: Alison Krauss, Sierra Hull, Billy Strings

Jackson Maxwell

Brothers Osborne – Headstone

What is it? TJ and John Osborne take a Black Keys turn with their most guitar-heavy, country-fried rocker yet, which appears on the deluxe version of 2020 album, Skeletons. There are shades of ZZ Top in that pounding riff, but the overall swagger hints at more contemporary blues-rock à la Emily Wolfe. It’s one of this year’s standout guitar tracks so far.

Standout guitar moment: Those wailing notes leading into the borderline-prog breakdown verge on Mastodon-meets-Marcus King territory, but the rollicking speed-up/slowdown of the outro is also a highlight in a track jammed full of ’em.

For fans of: The Black Keys, ZZ Top, Marcus King

– Michael Astley-Brown

Andy Timmons – E.W.F

What is it? The slinky lead single from the guitar virtuoso’s upcoming studio album, Electric Truth. Produced by Josh Smith, Electric Truth sprang from Timmons’ desire to step out of his usual comfort zone, and the results – at least on the album’s Earth, Wind & Fire-inspired first single – are spectacularly funky. 

Standout guitar moment: E.W.F’s first half is nothing short of a funk rhythm guitar masterclass, but you can’t help but fall in love with its scorcher of a solo – with its huge, guitar face-inducing bends and compelling melodic arc.

For fans of: Earth, Wind & Fire, Cory Wong, Joe Satriani

Jackson Maxwell

Yelawolf & Shooter Jennings – Make Me A Believer 

What is it? The lead single from Sometimes Y – the upcoming self-titled debut album from Shooter Jennings and Yelawolf. Its encompassing, arena-filling rock ‘n’ roll personality will make you completely forget that Yelawolf is, by trade, a rapper, and that Shooter Jennings is a country-leaning singer-songwriter. It’s a testament to the versatility of both, and – more importantly – it’s a darn great track.

Standout guitar moment: The all-out guitar-only reprieve after Yelawolf sings the title lyric in the chorus. An ascending-then-descending lick works its magic, while the second guitarist goes to town on a C chord. Very tasty.

For fans of: Kings of Leon, The Killers

Matt Owen

Ibaraki – Tamashii No Houkai

What is it? Matt Heafy’s new and long-awaited black metal side project, Ibaraki. For this first track – which is described as the “perfect summary and representation of everything that Ibaraki is, and will be” – the Trivium frontman has teamed up with Emperor’s Insahn, who also serves as co-writer.

Standout guitar moment: Insahn flexes his formidable guitar skills with a head-spinning solo from the 2:45 mark, showcasing his adept bending and insane rapid-fire accuracy.

For fans of: Trivium, Emperor, Sylosis

– Sam Roche

Wet Leg – Material Girl

What is it? One of the most exciting guitar bands to emerge this decade take on Madonna for SiriusXM… with spectacularly shoegaze-y results. For anyone who thought the UK duo had painted themselves into an indie-pop corner with viral smashes Chaise Longue and Wet Dream, this inspired cover proves there’s a darker, altogether dreamier edge to their irresistible sound.

Standout guitar moment: When Hester Chambers kicks in her Keeley Loomer for that main hook – My Bloody Valentine, eat your heart out.

For fans of: Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins

– Michael Astley-Brown

Carmody – Morning 

What is it? The new single from soul singer-songwriter Carmody, and the second to be lifted from her upcoming debut album Imperfect Constellations, due June 2022. It’s a song that explores the themes of loss and acceptance, and does so by employing gorgeous rolling guitar parts, melodic bass lines and a crescendo of six-string embellishments.

Standout guitar moment: Morning concludes with a swell of instrumentation, with Carmody’s descending open-string, altered chord-flavored motif – which develops over the course of the track – a particular highlight.

For fans of: Tom Misch, Jordan Rakei

Matt Owen

Jake Xerxes Fussell – What Did the Hen Duck Say to the Drake?

What is it? A standout cut from the Durham, North Carolina-based guitarist, singer and folk music scholar’s beautiful new album, Good and Green Again. A warm instrumental, it has the comfort and unhurried pace of an informal living room or campfire jam with friends. 

Standout guitar moment: With a slow-strutting bassline on the bottom and beautiful melody up top, the fingerpicked folk-blues riff that the song revolves around has endless charm. The sweet-as-honey acoustic slide work that enters the picture just past the halfway mark though, makes this a piece to remember. 

For fans of: Bill Callahan, Robert Johnson, Ryley Walker

Jackson Maxwell

ERRA – Nigh to Silence

What is it? A new single from Alabama metalcore quintet, which will appear on the recently announced deluxe edition of their latest self-titled album. It will feature alongside three new cover songs, too: Stockholm Syndrome (Muse), Light My Way (Audioslave) and Heresy (Nine Inch Nails).

Standout guitar moment: ERRA have established themselves as writers of some of the heaviest riffs in the biz right now, so it’s refreshing when Jesse Cash and Sean Price play more with clean guitars, like in the intro of Nigh to Silence.

For fans of: Northlane, Fit For A King, While She Sleeps

– Sam Roche

The Sherlocks – Wake Up 

What is it? A song taken from UK-based outfit The Sherlocks’ third album, which dropped last week. It’s another hat for the “guitar-driven indie rock” ring, but it’s a welcome one: there are headbang-inducing electric lines and catchy licks aplenty. There’s a whole load of style, but there’s also an abundance of substance, too.

Standout guitar moment: It’s nice to hear the guitar take center stage in the chorus, offering up an infectious lead lick that shares – and threatens to steal – the limelight with the vocals. 

For fans of: Circa Waves, The Vaccines, Sam Fender

Matt Owen

Asking Alexandria – New Devil (feat. Maria Brink of In This Moment)

What is it? A new offering from British metal heavyweights, Asking Alexandria, in which they recruit In This Moment frontwoman Maria Brink to show her vocal prowess. The track is quintessentially Asking Alexandria, with destructive metal sections and uber-melodic chorus lines in equal measure.

Standout guitar moment: Ben Bruce steps up at the 1:55 mark, offering up a solo packed with whammy bar pitch shifts and speedy hammer-on, pull-off lines.

For fans of: Of Mice & Men, Memphis May Fire, Falling in Reverse

– Sam Roche

Voyager – Dreamer

What is it? The Aussie prog-metal outfit’s attempt at cracking Eurovision with an electro-djent banger – the track will be entered into Eurovision – Australia Decides next month, where judges and the public will determine whether it makes the cut for the event itself. We reckon it’s got a fair shot with that pounding disco beat and chugging seven-string guitars. The keytar cameo doesn’t hurt, either.

Standout guitar moment: That breakdown, alternating between a low B and nimble guitar/keyboard variations on the main theme.

For fans of: Tesseract, Muse, Eurovision

– Michael Astley-Brown

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Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as the best part of 20 years performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.