The rumors about the demise of guitar-driven music just are not true. Anyone on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube knows that legions of musicians have taken to a variety of media platforms to be seen and heard. Within the crowd of digital-savvy artists is an army of pickers and strummers waiting to be tapped. Where Twitter is particularly rich with players from the guitar tradition, here are merely some of the recent highlights.
Fans call her “Purple Honey.” If metal or alternative rock is your game, look no further than electric award-winning fretster Melia Maccarone. A Flying V®, a Les Paul®: it does not really matter, because Melia has been there and done that. Yes, she seems to prefer those humbuckers. More power to her. Love that purple Gibson® with a single cutaway. Melia’s “Bats Beneath Moonlight” is a favorite with established fans, as well as new friends.
If metal is not your thing, country singer and songwriter Jessie Lynn® has been known to rock with a Nashville twang. Often referred to as “Alabama’s Cowgirl,” proof can be found in “Boots N Bling It’s A Cowboy Thing,” from Lynn’s® 2016 album A Softer Side Of Country. Complete with smooth time changes and hot electric guitar leads, this cut is a different kind of country music. Did we mention Jessie has been the opened for The Oak Ridge Boys and Clint Black?
Performing the Grateful Dead classic “Ripple” and assorted other songs was enough of a jolt to make 14 million viewers sit up and take notice on Youtube. Learning the artist was merely 13 years old only makes the story of EmiSunshine even better. A multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter, Emi sounds particularly at home with an acoustic flat top or a mandolin. Managed by her mom, the Tennessee-based artist already has appeared at the Grand Ole Opry more than a dozen times. With raves spanning from The New York Times to country rock’s Jimmy Dale Gilmore, Ragged Dreams, featuring ten original songs, is the new album from EmiSunshine.
Move over. There is a new axe slinger in town and his name is Brennan Dylan. Perhaps you’ve heard of his band, Men Without Armies? If not, shame on you. As far as cranking out slick arpeggiated licks, Dylan is the man. Are you listening Fender®, Gibson®, Gretsch® Ibanez®? Metal is his forte, although he has been known to riff out on a blues, rock or chicken-picked number every now and then. Check out Dylan’s “Falling Through Skies,” about the grandfather he never met, yet still felt connected to. He surely is amazing above and below the 12th fret.
If you need a dose of rockabilly, rock or big band blues, Ruzz Guitar is the way to go. Endorsed by the legendary Gretsch® guitar company, Ruzz’s contemporary approach is immersed in tradition. Listen closely to some of his blues work and at times you can hear a T-Bone Walker-type of guitar movement, phrasing and tone. But that’s just for starters. Trills, bends, double stops or single string runs, Ruzz has the situation covered and more. Take a listen to Ruzz Guitar’s Blues Review album, featuring Dr. Feelgood singer Pete Gage and you’ll get a taste of how guitar music should be played. Better yet, catch one of Ruzz’s live shows as he reels off “trio sets” of songs. Lately he’s added a Bo Diddley cover.
James B is another reason why indie can be awesome. B’s Living The Dream is packed with tons of guitar tone. Moreover, the British-based musician’s vocal work is similarly effective. As far as music goes, B is the entire package. Using a Stratocaster®, Les Paul® and a 1961 Gibson® ES-330, the artist wrote, arranged, performed and produced each song on Living The Dream. His lyrics even include a brief reference to The Beatles. The video for his “Shining On” is professionally shot.
Gather around the bonfire for Wingless. Hailing from Cracow, Poland, it is hard to believe just three guys can generate such a magnitude of sound. With scorching guitar work, heavy-handed drumming and guttural growls leaving your hair standing on end, this metal trio takes no prisoners. The group’s current album, The Blaze Within, contains nine highly flammable original tracks, including “Great Shineless Brightless.” Naturally, each song cranks with guitar gusto. Wingless is Olaf Różański – vocals; Grzegorz Luzar – guitars, bass; and Paweł Solon – drums. Remember the name Wingless.
If one guitar is not enough, try using two. That is precisely what Elephant Gun Riot does. These Spokane, Washington rockers have created a distinct brand of music around a solid twin guitar attack. The group’s self-titled studio album is a collection of nine hard hitting original cuts. In concert, the band has opened for the Sick Puppies, Lacuna Coil, Tantric and others. Fronted by lead vocalist Caitlin Rose, Elephant Gun Riot is Zach Wirchak – guitar; Sean Ciolli – guitar; Patrick Rooks – bass; and Mike Lowe – drums. They deserve the attention.
The name Still Electric is a bit of an oxymoron because the band’s songs typically feature an acoustic guitar. An indie folk-pop duo, Maurice (guitar, vocals) and Rachel Africh (lead vocals) is Still Electric. In the tradition of The Civil Wars, Oh Wonder and Tuck and Patti, Still Electric’s repertoire encompasses sophisticated guitar melodies and skillfully polished vocal harmonies. “Worn Out Shoes” is one of the gems where the chemistry between Maurice and Rachel can be heard clearly. The same applies to “Let Me Go,” another winner.