It always amazes me when I hear something new and exciting on the guitar. After so long, it’s easy to think you’ve heard it all. Thankfully a situation happens time and time again that reminds me of how boundless music really is.
As I’m gearing up for brand new lessons right here on the site, I thought I’d let you know some of the guitarists who’ve been inspiring me lately. I love to listen to a myriad of styles, so there’s sure to be someone on here you might enjoy!
I first heard Julian Lage last year, on his Arclight album. There’s a number of jazz players out there, but Julian is mixing jazz, blues and rock, fun songwriting and some great tones to cook up something fresh.
Since Arclight, he’s released a short live album and a new album called Modern Lore. Julian was a child prodigy on the guitar, and has been getting more and more recognition on jazz radio lately for his solo work.
In the past he’s played as a sideman with people like Gary Burton, Taylor Eigsti, Nels Cline and others.
Similar to someone like Mike Stern, Lage is using a great sounding Tele for most of his recent work. Start with songs like Presley, Persian Rug and The Ramble to get started hearing what Julian can do. If you don’t listen to a lot of jazz, this might be the guy that starts you on that path!
Moving from jazzier rock into 50’s sounding rock, you gotta check out JD McPherson. The two albums I can’t stop listening to are his latest, Undivided Heart and Soul, and his most popular, Signs & Signifiers.
The tones that JD gets will transport you back to another time in music. Plus on his latest album, there’s some really wacky guitar sounds - just listen to the baritone-esque sounding lead on the track Crying’s Just A Thing That You Do.
Also take a listen to North Side Gal. Classic sounding vocals, cool sounding horns, and just an overall sound that makes you feel like you’re in a movie.
The Devin Townsend Project
I’m so upset I didn’t have a chance to see the Devin Townsend Project while it was still active. I was late to the party with listening to the album Transcendence, but man, am I happy I found this music.
The album, and many before it are just massive and so cinematic. After listening to Transcendence, go check out the making of on YouTube, because it shows just how brilliant, and funny Devin is.
He also has one of the coolest signature Framus guitars I’ve ever seen, and is always trying out new gear. He was one of the people online who made me want to buy a Fractal.
Devin’s had many different projects over the past couple of decades, so I’m really excited to see what he does next!
Equally as epic and orchestrated, I’ve also been listening to Daniele Gottardo a lot. His mix of guitar and orchestral elements is refreshing.
If you want to check out some cool jazz and rock covers, you should also check out Daniele Gottardo & The Nuts - a fun side project that shows a different side of his playing.
If that wasn’t enough, bonus pick, he turned me on to Gretchen Menn. An incredible player, who you can tell has a passion for everything music (check out both her and Daniele’s episodes of the No Guitar Is Safe podcast).
If you’re a fan of Zeppelin or Soundgarden, you have to run and listen to the amazing amount of output that Ian Thornley has produced. From his solo disc to his side project Thornley, to his main band Big Wreck, the guy is seriously underrated.
Not only is he an amazing player, he’s also a great singer and songwriter. I remember hearing about Big Wreck while reading an interview with Jack Joseph Puig (my favorite mixing engineer). He was talking about the massive layers of guitar in Big Wreck’s The Pleasure and the Greed album.
That’s one of the greatest places to start if you want to hear how Ian can play. The album is a good mix of rock and other styles that really show off what the band can do.
Who’s Been Inspiring You Lately?
I hope you get inspired by these players. It’s so fun to be able to share this type of stuff with each other. Want to hear more players I’ve been loving this year? Check out the Chasing Sound Guitar Song of the Week (with playlists on Spotify and Apple Music).the