FOR the past couple of decades, some phenomenal talent has been seen in modern blues. Last week, our Top 5 pick were Joe Bonamassa, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, John Mayer, Derek Trucks and Jonny Lang. Completing the other Top 10 are:
6) Jack White: The American singer-songwriter, producer and occasional actor turned 38 on July 9. Best known as the founding member of the band White Stripes, formed with his sister Meg, Jack’s roots have been totally immersed in the blues. According to connoisseurs, if there is a modern blues purist, it has to be Jack. He uses the minimum of effects and clearly belongs to the vintage school of guitaring. Though it may not be obvious initially, a closer listening of the White Stripes would indicate a lot of blues influences, which Jack also used in his next bands The Raconteurs and Dead Weather. Jack’s guitar tone also has a unique quality, which makes him distinct.
7) Dan Auerbach: Of all the newer blues-rock bands, the Black Keys has been the most successful, thanks mainly to the 2011 album ‘El Camino’. Much of the popularity would be attributed to the guitaring of Dan Auerbach. Growing up on Robert Johnson, Hound Dog Taylor, Kokomo Arnold and Mississippi Fred McDowell, Dan started with The Barnburners, which played blues-rock at Ohio clubs. In 2001, he formed the Black Keys with drummer Patrick Carney. His style is influenced by the masters but yet sounds modern.
8) Matt Schoefield: The British singer and guitarist is often compared with the marvellous Robben Ford, because of his technique and fluidity of style. Accompanied by his own trio, he plays original material that blends blues, funk and jazz. Matt has released three live albums, and is known for his rendition of Albert Collins’ ‘Lights Are On, But Nobody’s Home’. He’s become so popular in the UK that in 2007, ‘Guitar & Bass’ magazine listed him among the ‘top 10 British blues guitarists ever’.
9) Davy Knowles: Just 25, Davy rose to fame with the blues-rock band Back Door Slam, before embarking on a solo career. Though he listened to all the old blues masters, he also grew up on Dire Straits, Joe Satriani and Cream, as a result of which there’s more of a rock influence on his playing style.
His album ‘Coming Up for Air’ was appreciated by both blues and rock fans and at his live shows, he’s known to do a smashing version of the Blind Joe Reynolds song ‘Outside Woman Blues’.
10) Jimmy Bowskill: Only 22, child prodigy Jimmy is considered one of the biggest hopes for Canadian blues. Hailing from Petersburg, Ontario, he was barely 10 when he starting playing Robert Johnson tunes on his guitar. At 12, he released his first album ‘Old Soul’ and has released three studio albums and one live recording since. Clearly a talent to look out for.
Each of them has a unique style and a clear passion for the blues. The blues are clearly in good hands.