Earlier this year, the 2022 installment of the annual Guitar Summit took place, featuring a whole load of gear exhibitors, playing masterclasses and even some live performances.
Thanks to some stellar organization from the event planners, the bill happily placed Chris Buck’s Cardinal Black and Martin Miller within the same vicinity, and the two electric guitar titans clearly recognized the opportunity that presented itself by teaming up for a live performance of Prince’s Purple Rain.
Miller is no stranger to the track: his own cover – recorded two years ago with the help of Mark Lettieri – currently sits at over four million views on YouTube. Despite this familiarity, the introduction of Buck and the Guitar Summit context helped contribute to a version that goes above and beyond Miller’s original performance.
With bass guitar player and vocalist Ben Jud taking center stage for the first few verses and choruses – save some neat embellishing licks from Miller and co. – Buck’s own lead effort arrives around the four minute mark.
Wielding a black Yamaha Revstar, Buck bursts into the scene with a fiery bend, before promptly proving why he’s considered by many to be one of the most melodic players currently around. There’s none of his trademark fingerstyle playing – instead, it’s guitar pick all the way as Buck wastes no time in pouring emotion into every pentatonic lick and bend he can get his hands on.
It’s an upper fret-heavy effort – with some subtle callbacks to his Tell Me How it Feels solo – and one that culminates in a tight turnaround that paves the way for his six-string compadre to have a stab at his own guitar solo.
Drawing from the lick arsenal that informed his original cover, Miller and his Ibanez take things one step further, introducing impromptu embellishments, additional bends and a smattering of improvised lead lines, all of which convey the same goosebump-inducing emotion as his first solo.
If the pair’s Purple Rain cover proved anything, it’s that their two playing styles complement one another effortlessly, with Miller’s rapid-fire fusion legatos and dizzying shreds balancing out Buck’s traditional, vocal-esque approach to soloing.
Martin Miller has a solid track record of recruiting fellow guitar heroes to perform rock classics. Recently, he tapped Lari Basilio to record a cover of Derek and the Dominos’ Layla.