After a long hiatus I have returned to post my list of guitar masters of the new millenium. As with previous blog posts of different eras there are many that have been omitted as I have limited myself to only ten in no particular order.
Nightwish remain one of my favourite bands despite now featuring its third lead singer. But founding guitarist Emppu Vuorinen, has been there through all of the band’s incarnations and remains an integral part of their sound. Although primarily focusing on rhythm parts he has contributed many melodic solos to Nightwish tracks.
Choice Pick: For me, it has to be “Dead Gardens” from their 2004 album Once, the last studio album to feature original lead singer Tarja Turunen.
Anyone who cites Jimi Hendrix and Tom Morello as influences is always going to be prepared to be less conventional than other guitarists. Not scared to use effects to make his guitar sound more “electronic” is evidence of his eccentric nature.
Choice Pick: I could have chosen any number of tracks but I have always had a soft spot for “Knights Of Cydonia” from Muse’s fourth album, Black Holes & Revelations.
Derek Trucks, nephew of Allman Brothers Band drummer Butch Trucks, has had both the skill and good fortune to enable him to play with the likes of Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Herbie Hancock and in his uncle’s band too. He recorded seven studio albums with his own band before merging it with his wife’s band to become the Tedeschi Trucks Band.
Choice Pick: His sublime playing on “Midnight In Harlem” from the 2012 live album Everybody’s Talkin’.
Orianthi moved from acoustic to electric guitar at 11, played for Steve Vai at 15 and jammed with Carlos Santana at 18. Not a bad pedigree for someone still in her teens! She then went on to commence her solo career, play with Carrie Underwood, Michael Jackson and Alice Cooper. Now in her early 30s, it will be interesting to see how her career continues to develop.
Choice Pick: “Highly Strung”, an instrumental piece performed with Steve Vai from her 2009 album, Believe.
Gary Clark Jr has shared the stage with B.B. King, Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones. Unsurprisingly, he has also won a Grammy for Best Traditional R&B performance in 2014 after having received a nomination for Best Rock Song the previous year. While players like him still exist, the blues will continue to thrive.
Choice Pick: Released on his 2015 album The Story Of Sonny Boy Slim, my pick would have to be “Grinder”.
I was never a fan of Creed. Most likely due to not liking the lead singer’s voice, song lyrics and his on and off stage persona. The same band with a different singer in Myles Kennedy, is an entirely different beast. I love Alter Bridge and Tremonti’s guitar playing is a contributing factor. His own band, Tremonti, aren’t difficult to listen to either.
Choice Pick: The undeniably brilliant title track from Alter Bridge, 2007’s “Blackbird”.
When Wolfmother came to prominence in 2005, many pundits made comparisons to Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, often in a disparaging way. Personally, I believe most musicians are a sum of their influences so I found them a breath of fresh air on the Australian music landscape at the time.
Choice Pick: “Joker & The Thief”, from their 2005 debut album.
Josh Homme has quite an extensive body of work having commenced recording at 16 with Kyuss. He has also recorded with Queens Of The Stone Age, Iggy Pop, Eagles Of Death Metal and the supergroup, Them Crooked Vultures. I personally found it quite amusing to see such a large man sharing the stage with someone as diminutive as Iggy Pop.
Choice Pick: With such a diverse range of tracks to choose from it was a difficult choice, but I had to go with Them Crooked Vultures and “Bandoliers”.
Bonamassa is something of a child prodigy having opened for B.B.King when he was 12. He is also incredibly prolific. Since 2000 he has released 12 solo studio albums, 16 live albums, three studio collaborations with singer Beth Hart and four studio albums with supergroup Black Country Communion. You do the math!
Choice Pick: Black Country Communion’s signature tune, “Black Country”.
Jack White’s unique guitar stylings were what drove the success of his band, The White Stripes. He has also been quite prolific having recorded six albums with his former band, two with the Raconteurs, three with the Dead Weather and three solo albums.
Choice Pick: “Seven Nation Army”, from the studio album Elephant, released by The White Stripes in 2003.