Guitars can grab my attention for a wide variety of reasons. In 2019, I found myself loving a pretty diverse crowd of guitar performances. See my top ten below.
10. Leon Russell and Matt Lerwill – Warmrain
Leon and Matt provided some of the most artistic, weeping guitars of 2019. I loved the ginger acoustic side of things, delicate and intricate; I also loved the roaring electric side, producing some very interesting rhythms, some that I can hear in my head at this very moment. Check them out on Warmrain’s “Back Above the Clouds”.
9. Alan Carter – The Emerald Dawn
Alan is a monster with the electric guitar. The Emerald Dawn’s “Nocturne” is a display of his huge talent. You’ll hear some of the most intricate finger work anywhere, creating potent poetry with his instrument of choice. Alan is a fantastic guitarist, comparable to any of the greats.
8. Daniel McGowan and Patrick McGowan – The Tea Club
Daniel and Patrick offered some of the most purely entertaining guitar performances of 2019. Much of what they offer is acoustic, and so you will hear very detailed, quite whimsical acoustic musings on The Tea Club’s latest album. You will also hear soulful electric solos, too, though, as well as hefty riffs. Having seen them live a couple months back, I was immediately impressed with how they worked together, and the attention to every detail that they mustered.
7. John Mitchell – Lonely Robot
John is one of my favorite guitarists. His playing on the new Lonely Robot record was as emotive and soulful as I expected. Even though it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, it was still something that speaks to me.
6. Sean Thompson – Odd Logic
Sean is a master vocalist and guitarist, but on the new Odd Logic album, I was specifically impressed with his purposeful, extremely melodic guitars. Whether it was the grand solos or just the addictive licks, he really went all out in 2019.
5. Deadale – Etrange
Deadale’s guitars on the Etrange debut are mind-boggling good. Not only does he play quickly and deftly, but he also manages to make us feel and see texture. The grand spacey overtones he creates feel fresh and energetic, too.
4. Henrik Danhage and Tom Englund – Evergrey
It doesn’t get much better than the combination of Henrik and Tom on guitars. Everygrey is legendary for their twin guitar attack, and “The Atlantic” displays that in its full glory. Jaw-dropping moments are aplenty in their latest album.
3. Markus Sigfridsson – Darkwater and All Things Fallen
Markus is another personal favorite guitarist, and much of that is because of his contribution to Darkwater. On “Human”, his playing is just as melodically frenetic, thoughtfully composed, and ambitiously epic as I’d hoped it would be. He also released a debut album with band All Things Fallen (which also includes Leo from Pain of Salvation), and the guitars were satisfyingly dark and fluid.
2. Bryan Josh and Chris Johnson- Mostly Autumn
Bryan happens also to be one of my favorite guitarists. His Floydian solos are some of the best in prog right now. I never tire of his style. On “White Rainbow”, Bryan and Chris really bring the meaty solos, but also fantastic rhythms and even riffs. The solo on “Run for the Sun” might just be the best solo of the year, as well.
***1. Ville Friman, Jani Liimatainen, and Markus Vanhala – Insomnium***
Yes, three guitarists created what I consider the best guitars of 2019. The breathtaking beauty of the soaring, melody-soaked, precisely crafted guitars on Insomnium’s “Heart Like a Grave” was something I noticed immediately. Technical, yet pure: precise, yet textured: poetic, yet powerful; these guitars bested everything else I heard this year.
Love your choice of Evergrey’s guitarists and Insomnium’s guitarists certainly deserve #1 as that is brilliant release. Suggest you also check out the band “All Things Fallen” as they are another Markus Sigfridsson led band, also featuring Leo Margarit from Pain of Salvation
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Wow, how could I have forgotten All Things Fallen? I reviewed their debut when it released. I’m going to add that to his snippet. Thanks for the reminder.
I heard about All Things Fallen through this website so shame on you 🙂 Purchased a lot of stuff due to your reviews