When you think about famous guitarists with distinctive styles, do you find yourself time-traveling back to the 1970s? With so many great guitarists writing and performing original music right now, it’s almost a crime to neglect the new stuff. Here are a few great contemporary guitarists whose distinctive style of playing sets them apart from the pack. Of course, if there’s anybody we missed, feel free to let us know in the comments!
With his bands The White Stripes, The Dead Weather, and The Raconteurs, and his critically acclaimed solo albums, it would be hard to miss Jack White as one of the best guitarists of today. Due to his prolific releases and incredible talent, White is easily one of the most famous guitarists of his generation. If for some reason you haven’t yet heard his bluesy riffs and passionate playing, this live cover of “Ball and a Biscuit” is the perfect place to start. In addition to his own musical output, White supports many amazing indie artists you may also like on his own record label, Third Man Records.
Indie darling Annie Clark performs under the name St. Vincent, combining angular guitars and synths with her angelic vocals. Her raw, noisy shredding style attracted the attention of Talking Heads’ frontman David Byrne, who she collaborated with on the album Love This Giant in 2012. Clark’s solo work is also quite stunning, and her live shows are not to be missed!
Born in Tampa and raised in New Orleans, Benjamin Booker is here to show that good old fashioned rock and roll is alive and well. Inject Chuck Berry with a healthy dose of punk rock, add in smoky vocals, and you get Booker. In the past, Booker has toured with artists like Jack White and Courtney Barnett. His first album is due out in August 2014, and based on what we’ve seen from him so far, we can expect great things to come from this young, soon-to-be-famous guitarist.
Sam Bean releases his tender acoustic compositions under the name Iron and Wine, sometimes playing solo and at other times with the accompaniment of a full band. Bean has drawn comparisons to artists ranging from Paul Simon and Nick Drake to Elliot Smith. You might remember hearing his music before in the movie Garden State, or on TV shows like Friday Night Lights and House.
Chelsea Wolfe is an eclectic musician, and in recent years she has released music that ranges from droning metal to delicate folk. No matter what genre she works in, Wolfe brings an interesting ear for composition and an unforgettable voice. She recently collaborated on a song with proggy-metal trio Russian Circles and joined them on tour. If you love experimental music, Chelsea Wolfe is an artist to watch.
Is there anyone we missed? Tell us about your favorite famous guitarists in the comments below! Ready to improve your own skills on the guitar? Find a guitar teacher near you!