This week and next I will feature some great musicians in our history. The Guitarists series will have players from many different eras who separated themselves from the crowd with their amazing talent. Most country performers do play the guitar to some degree, but these players are known as much for their guitar work as their singing, and in some cases even more. And being honest, the list is very short.
There is no order or ranking, and I will present them in a mixture of eras so you get a good sample of who they are. If your favorite is not in this weeks list, more than likely in next weeks.
The Guitarists - Part 1
Still a modern artist with a line of big hit songs. There is no question when you are hearing Paisley play the guitar as he has a definite sound and style. Many of his songs feature him with very skillful solos and ending solos. Many go to his shows as much for his playing as his singing. Word was when he recorded in studio his big song, The World, there was more than 30 different guitar parts on that song and he did them all. He has over 20 #1 songs as well as being a great ambassador and longtime spokesman for the format as well as a many time CMA Awards Show host. Passionate player and a REAL fan favorite still! Plays a Telecaster
Great Work Here
I first saw Lindsay Ell do a charity show for us at Tangier a few years ago, and I was blown away at her incredible talent. Her guitar playing is nothing short of memorizing. Although her total talent is amazing, I think we all were simply enamored with her electric guitar work. She played it with style and passion. Even though her commercial and charting success has not been huge, her guitar work is. She has played with and alongside virtually all great players at one time or another. Plus she is the only artist on this list that we all did Goat Yoga with a few years ago. Amazing talent in every regard!
Her Acoustic Guitar Work Is Amazing As Well
Certainly from a very different era, but Roy Clark is possibly the greatest pure guitarist on our list. It was once said, "If it had a string, Roy Clark could play it." Fact. Clark was an absolute master at many different instruments. It's a shame that he is basically remembered as the overall wearing host of Hee Haw because was way more. Yesterday When I Was Young was a world wide award winning song for him and he was incredibly influential in country as a player, even more than a singer. He regularly guest-hosted for Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show and was asked to play with every single gigantic star of the era. He's in a bunch of Halls Of Fame and really helped introduce country to many of the other players that will be on our list. Clark passed away in 2018.
This Is Incredible From The TV Show - The Odd Couple - Recorded Live His Talent Was Remarkable
Lee Roy Parnell
In the early 1990's, LRP hit the scene and I think helped develop a newer sound and very different image in country. He had a cool look and his guitar was a big part of what he did. I loved his music, his bluesy voice and image. His guitar work was aggressive, loud and distinctive. I think too he opened the door for the next generation of great guitarists to come, especially - Paisley / Urban. He had a bunch of songs in the top 10 and his gift to us was his groundbreaking style both in music and image. He still tours and plays and in the early 2000's went more blues than country. But I was, and am a fan. Terrific player, I'd pay good money to see him. He even has a line of Gibson Guitars. Love Without Mercy / On The Road - both amazing albums to own. (My article on him)
On The Road - Great Song Big Hit
I've seen JB at Tangiers in years past and I own a few of his albums. He may be this era's, (or any era's) best guitar player. He is an insane talent that legend has it, when he couldn't find the perfect guitar, he built his own the "guit-steel" double neck guitar that is his signature. He was on the country charts a couple times in the mid 1990's, but he still travels and performs and is a can't miss when he comes to town. His big baritone voice, and his amazing guitar work is something to see. This is not a radio friendly act, but his live shows and abilities are just incredible. Brown has a fun image as a suit and hat wearing throwback musician. If you love guitar work, do not miss him next time he is in town somewhere. BTW - Junior High / Semi Crazy / Mixed Bag all albums worth owning. His guitar skills are simply ridiculous....
This Medley Is Legendary At His Shows - Mad Skills
Bonus Brown - Guitar Man
Of the Brothers Osborne is one fantastic player who plays as loud as Parnell and and as long as Brown. His signature solos are the separators of their music and singles. I saw him perform in Nashville a few years ago and I was totally impressed and their success has been incredible so far. His work is a big part of who they are. When you hear a BO song, you are waiting and anticipating his solo. BTW - his work sounded great in that amazing place.
Incredible Solo - Really Got Them Noticed!