My friend from Down Under, Henry Prokop, turned me onto Tommy Emmanuel, who now calls Nashville, TN home. Figures. In a town with awesome guitar players, he still stands head and shoulders above the crowd. I HAVE to get to a TommyFest, first chance I get.
Whenever someone asks me who's the best guitar player in Western Kentucky, I don't hesitate. It's my friend Eddie Pennington. I'll never forget when I was at the Chicago Blues Festival one year and one of the pickers with Dave Spector and Dave Freund's band, upon hearing I was from Kentucky, asked me if I knew Eddie! YES, I DO. I'm proud to call him a friend. As luck would have it, here he is with Tommy Emmanuel. The greatest guitar players in the world know who Eddie is. It's with such pride that I can always answer, "Eddie? Oh yeah, he's my buddy!" He's so great, yet so humble. If you ever met Eddie on the street, you'd never know this former small town coroner is one of the world's most renown guitarist. I do. He always holds me spellbound with his playing. As awesome as his playing is, he's even a better person. One of the highlights of my playing career, is being asked to play at the Eddie Pennington Folk Festival.
When I watched the Grammies, I liked Carrie Underwood, but I LOVED her guitar player. I immediately shouted to Bridget, "That's Orianthi!!" She plays Paul Reed Smith guitars, which are great guitars. The only thing lacking in PRS guitars is a Lew Jetton endorsement....(hint, hint)
I've always loved Carlos Santana. The time I saw him play live still ranks as one of my favorite concerts ever.
I've always loved the late Django Reinhart. Look closely. Yep, he doesn't have all his fingers. He can still do more than I can ever dream of. His story is remarkable. His playing is even more so.
There are so many more who I look up to. These are but a few.