In creating a list of my top five favourite, or most influential, guitarists ’of all time’, it wouldn’t be entirely untrue for me to simply name five of the greats - names you and I have heard many times before. Page, Hendrix, Gilmore, at al. The same names that pop up in every top 10, top 50 or top 100 guitarists list. Hendrix aside, I often wonder, however, if these names pop up because they are simply the most famous guitarists, or the guitarists that were a-member-of-the-most-popular-band-at-the-time. So this time around I thought I’d dig a bit deeper and list a few guitarists that, household-name-recognition aside, are transcendental masters of their instrument, or who are overlooked or forgotten figures in musical history.
1. Raphael Rabello
Tragically his life was cut short after a car crash, botched blood transfusion and drink and drugs at the age of 32. Brazilian guitar is a style unto itself, and Raphael Rabello played like no other. Blending elements of classical, flamenco and jazz, Raphael comes into his own when playing solo compositions. Have a listen to Cry My Guitar (album) - specifically "Ainda me Recordo (not on Spotify).
2. Stephen Magnusson
Australia’s finest guitarist? Likely. Accomplished and technically profound; a ‘jazz’ guitarist with myriad contemporary influences (so, not just a ‘jazz’ guitarist - whatever that means anyway). Stephen plays in a variety of projects - Elixir with Katie Noonan, his own solo endeavours, and in collaboration with other great Australian musicians such as Paul Grabowsky and Scott Tinkler.
My favourite project is Departures by Assumptions, with Julien Wilson - great tenor saxophone player, also from Melbourne - and drummer Will Guthrie.
3. Kaki King
Great to see an instrumentalist exploring the conventional boundaries of an instrument. Great control, creative voicings, a heap of right-hand control, and a shit-ton of left-hand power.
4. Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Overlooked? Without a doubt. Influenced the influential… Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Keith Richard, you name it. And did so with her guitar, along with her voice. Plays it with power, grit, momentum, and zest. Have a look at "Didn’t It Rain", recorded in Manchester (England), 1964.
5. Eddie Van Halen
There. I said it. He is an effortless master. You may not like the style or the songs, and, no, it isn’t to do with how fast he plays. It’s about how effortlessly he does it, how smooth and fluid his command of the instrument is, and the fact that - counter to the common theme of the ‘80s shred lord’ - he actually plays with feel. He could have been born in any time, played any instrument, and would have become a master. So there. Have a listen to "Spanish Fly" from Van Halen II. Who does that?
PAINT NATIONAL TOUR
w/ The Money War + Machine Age
Tickets on sale from www.holyholymusic.com
THU 22 JUN | ANITAS THEATRE, THIRROUL NSW
FRI 23 JUN | THE FACTORY THEATRE, SYDNEY NSW
SAT 24 JUN | THE SMALL BALLROOM, NEWCASTLE NSW
THU 29 JUN | THE WOOL EXCHANGE, GEELONG VIC
FRI 30 JUN | 170 RUSSELL, MELBOURNE VIC
SAT 01 JUL | REPUBLIC BAR, HOBART TAS
THU 06 JUL | MIAMI MARKETTA, MIAMI QLD
FRI 07 JUL | WHARF TAVERN, MOOLOOLABA QLD
SAT 08 JUL | THE TRIFFID, BRISBANE QLD
THU 13 JULY | MOJOS, FREMANTLE WA
FRI 14 JULY | JACK RABBIT SLIMS, NORTHBRIDGE WA
SAT 15 JUL | PRINCE OF WALES, BUNBURY WA