Nominated and selected by the TrueFire community, the following ten players join TrueFire’s 100+ Gifted Guitarists You Should Know list in recognition of their extraordinary talent and musical prowess. They are listed in no particular order. Click here to see the full list and learn more about this series.
“Mysticssippi” blues man Harry Manx has been called an “essential link” between the music of East and West, creating musical short stories that wed the tradition of the Blues with the depth of classical Indian ragas. He has created a unique sound that is hard to forget and deliciously addictive to listen to.
Harry forged this distinctive style by studying at the feet of the masters, first as a sound man in the blues clubs of Toronto during his formative years and then under a rigorous five-year tutelage with Vishwa Mohan Bhatt in India. Bhatt is the inventor of the 20-stringed Mohan Veena, which has become Harry’s signature instrument.
Official Website: www.HarryManx.com
Kevin has recorded with Norah Jones, Rosanne Cash, Susana Baca, Bill Frisell, k.d. lang, Cassandra Wilson, Holly Cole, Amos Lee, Jane Siberry, Jeb Loy Nichols, Dal Bello, Molly Johnson, Serena Ryder, Lou Reed, Ani DeFranco, Natalie McMaster, Marc Jordan, Carlos del Junco, Jane Bunnett, Janis Ian, Barra MacNeils, the Rankins, Suzie Vinnick,Wailin’ Jennies, Lynn Myles, Ian Tyson, Celine Dion, Autorickshaw, Ruth Moody, Toronto Tabla Ensemble, Dean McTaggart, Quartette, Michael Kaeshammer, Andrea Koziol, Melanie Doane, Susan Crowe, Patti Scialfa and many others. Kevin has performed on recordings that have earned 13 Grammy Awards. Along with ace Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista, they have released two CD’s. Their debut album, Supergenerous, signed to the prestigious Blue Note label, garnered critical acclaim internationally. Kevin has recorded 2 albums with Harry Manx which was awarded a Maple Blues Award for best acoustic act. In 2004, he was honoured with a ‘Musician of the Year’ Award from the Toronto Musician’s Association. With the Sisters Euclid, he has recorded six CDs, and received a Juno Award for the Run Neil Run recording. Breit’s trio, Folkalarm, has recorded 5 CD’s and have toured throughout Canada. Kevin was awarded a Gemini Award for his collaboration with Misha Brueggergossman for Both Sides Now…a celebration of Joni Mitchell.
Official Website: www.KevinBreit.com
History, family & colorful characters inspire Texas tunesmith Eric Hanke on Merel Bregante-produced “Factory Man.”
Eric Hanke is the kind of guy who naturally stands out in a crowd. For one thing, he’s usually the tallest one in it, unless it’s a gathering of hoops players. But he also stands out among his singer-songwriter peers in Austin and elsewhere — not only because of his resolute refusal to follow Texas or Nashville trends, but for his way with a lyric, his ability to move easily among multiple musical styles, and the respect he’s earned from players he counts as influences and mentors.
With his second release, “Factory Man,” Hanke proves the praise he drew for his maiden outing, 2006’s “Autumn Blues” — including comparisons to Texas’ finest songsmiths and a top 10 of the year pronunciation by the Austin American-Statesman’s Michael Corcoran, the dean of Austin music critics — was well justified.
Official Website: www.EricHanke.com
Heralded as “a living landmark” (Berkeley Express), “a national treasure” (Guitar Extra), and “one of the greatest living acoustic blues artists” (Blues Revue), Rory Block has committed her life and her career to preserving the Delta blues tradition and bringing it to life for 21st century audiences around the world. A traditionalist and an innovator at the same time, she wields a fiery and haunting guitar and vocal style that redefines the boundaries of acoustic blues and folk. The New York Times declared: “Her playing is perfect, her singing otherworldly as she wrestles with ghosts, shadows and legends.”
Official Website: www.RoryBlock.com
Guitar instrumentalist, composer and humorist Toulouse Engelhardt, the celebrated guitar virtuoso, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but has lived immersed in Southern California beach culture for much of the past four decades. Over the years Toulouse has earned accolades from serious critics of the guitar and the public alike for his lightning-fast guitar stylings and colorful, cinematic melodies. He was the last original member of the so-called “Takoma Seven,” the highly celebrated innovators of finger-style guitar that recorded for Takoma Records from 1965 to 1976 and included John Fahey and Leo Kottke. Today many in the music industry believe that Toulouse Engelhardt deserves a place among the elite group of legendary guitar masters.
Official Website: www.ToulouseMusic.com
Let’s just dispense with all the female blues guitar player business and forget the tall California blonde girl stuff and get to the heart of the matter right now. Laurie Morvan can play the blues. Go check out some YouTube cuts of her singing and playing and listen to the killer tone she gets on her classic Fender Stratocaster. Morvan, a finalist at the International Blues Challenge in 2008 and winner of the Blues Artist on the Rise, plays with taste and abandon. She’s backed by a dynamite band of bassist Pat Morvan and Kevin Murillo on drums, and in a distinctive move for a blues band, uses female backup singer Lisa Grubbs as a permanent member of her touring combo. Morvan, who teaches college math in California when not playing the blues, lists herself as an Illinois native and attended UIUC for electrical engineering in the 80s.
Official Website: www.LaurieMorvan.com
Peter Parcek’s daring, incendiary and soulful style is a distinctive hybrid. He weaves rock, gypsy-jazz, country, folk, and blues– especially blues– into a tapestry of melody, harmony and daredevil solos that push those styles to their limits without sacrificing the warmth of his own personality.
Peter calls his approach “soul guitar,” an appellation that alludes to his playing’s depth of feeling and character, as well as its deepest roots in classic American music. But Peter’s sensibilities are equally attuned to the future.
Peter’s journey as a musician began when the Vietnam War erupted and he graduated high school. With the blessings of his mother and the help of a family friend, he relocated to London, England, and found himself in the thick of the British blues explosion.
Official Website: www.PeterParcekBand.com
Coco Montoya (born Henry Montoya, October 2, 1951, Santa Monica, California) is an American blues guitarist and former member of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers.
Montoya’s career began in the mid 1970s when Albert Collins asked him to join his band as drummer. Collins took Montoya under his wing and taught him his “icy hot” guitar style. The two remained friends even after Montoya left Collins’ band.
In the early 1980s John Mayall heard Montoya playing guitar in a Los Angeles bar. Soon after Mayall asked Montoya to join the newly reformed Bluesbreakers. He remained a member of the band for 10 years.
In 1995 he appeared with the Cate Brothers for the resumption of their recording career on their release, Radioland. Since that same year, Montoya has recorded several solo albums.
In 2002, he featured on the Bo Diddley tribute album Hey Bo Diddley – A Tribute!, performing the song “Pills.”
Official Website: www.CocoMontoya.com
Currently, Matthew Stubbs is performing with the legendary Charlie Musselwhite Band, as well as his own band, The Matthew Stubbs Band. He recently was named the 2009 Outstanding Guitarist from Blues Audience Magazine and was a 2009 Boston Music Award Nominee for Blues Act of the Year.
As a bandleader and composer, Stubbs has earned himself a reputation for penning soul-drenched Roots & Blues guitar instrumentals. His well-crafted songs are melodic and original; echoing the sounds of historic greats such as Booker T and the MGs, Earl Hooker, Lonnie Mack, and Freddie King. Blues guitarist Rick Holmstrom sums it up best: “The thing I like best about Matt Stubbs playing is that he leaves space. There are plenty of young blues guitarists who can play a whole lot of guitar, and Matt can hang with ’em all, but there are very few who understand that it’s important to let it breathe. I dig the economy and simplicity of Matt’s playing. He’s got an old soul.”
Official Website: www.MatthewStubbs.net
Johnny Moeller’s guitar playing is full of voodoo and lighting. The floating bent notes, delicately singing phrases, bursts of staccato picking, and ringing piano-like chords that he sculpts into vibrant solos bring all the beauty, power, and mystery of the blues to life. Yet he’s impossible to pigeonhole. Although Moeller’s the latest in a long line of six-string wizards to hail from Austin, he upholds the Texas music tradition not by imitating the licks of legendary Lone Star State players who’ve influenced him — like Albert Collins, Lightnin’ Hopkins, the Vaughan Brothers — but by being a maverick. “The truth of the matter is I’ve never really tried to emulate anybody else,” explains Moeller, who’s wrapping up a daring new solo album. “There are lots of great guitar players who inspired me, and singers and saxophone players, too. But I don’t like to limit myself to purely one style of music. I have my own thing, which is blues based, and then I like to mix in everything else I love: soul, jazz, funk and rock ‘n’ roll.”
Official Website: www.JohnnyMoeller.com