Who Is He: Julian Lage (guitar) and assorted players.
Where Is He From: Santa Rosa, California
What Does He Sound Like: Well that entirely depends on who is at Lage’s side. He’s a remarkably dexterous player and at his best his freewheeling style proves utterly captivating without ever feeling the need to impose. In fact, his most complex and knotty sequences often emerge from the most innocuous of opening riffs or rhythms.
Why Does He Rock: Now I’m sure more than a few readers are pulling their hair out and shouting at their computers: 25-year-old Julian Lage is not a new artist! They would be right. Julian has two intriguing albums to his name, but in the world of blues and jazz he’s still seen primarily as a sideman. That must inevitably change; he’s too singular a talent to stay on the sidelines as his stunning performance with The New Gary Burton Quartet at this year’s Cheltenham Blues Festival attests.
The Essential Track: There isn’t one track but enjoy “Welcoming Committee”
What Next: Guided Tour by The New Gary Burton Quartet
Who Is He: John Fullbright (Vocals, Piano, Guitar, Harmonica, Organ)
Where Is He From: Bearden, Oklahoma
What Does He Sound Like: American, John Fullbright sounds very American indeed. Some readers might argue he’s should be in the country category but his sound is too broad to be lumped alongside the Nashville sound. This singer will switch out his electric for his acoustic guitar in an instant, and he’ll just as quickly ditch his lonesome piano for a grandiose organ.
Why Does He Rock: Because he sounds so raw and believable. Sure he went to university so he might not be a blue collar Woody Guthrie in waiting, but it doesn’t matter, his despond and his weary guitar feel utterly of the moment. Best of all, beneath that earnest grit and grime John Fullbright knows how to deliver a naggingly addictive hook.
The Essential Track: “Gawd Above”
What Next: His 2012 studio debut From The Ground Up.
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