Unplugged

Brian May - Back To The Light (1992)

Driven By You There is a touching moment at the end of a live version of Driven By You when Brian May, with his legendary signature Red Special in hand, turns momentarily away from the tens of thousands of fans in the stadium and gently smiles to the camera. The clear message of that moment is ‘everything I do is driven by you [the...

The Byrds - Untitled (1970)

The best summary of their career The 1970 Byrds were a totally different group from the one that had pioneered folk rock, but they didn't have much to do with the psychedelic band either; not even with the one that had practically invented country rock in 1968 with Sweetheart Of The Rodeo. The only common link was Roger McGuinn and his...

Richie Sambora

Seen A Million Faces  Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi may have written a song about life on the road that peaked at number 7 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, featured in TV shows and movies, and kickstarted the hugely successful MTV unplugged series, but it all was made possible by Sambora’s mother not doing the laundry the day they...

Billy F Gibbons - Hardware (2021)

Hot! Hot! Hot! Billy Gibbons’ latest solo album Hardware (4 June 2021; Concord Records) follows hot on the tails of his 2015 offering, the Latin-tinged Perfectamundo, and 2018’s The Big Bad Blues. Here the ex- ZZ Top legend seems to have swapped his legendary ’59 Les Paul for an SG custom to successfully give shape and flavour to a...

The Beatles - Rubber Soul (1965)

The album as a work of art Rubber Soul is one of the most important albums in the history of the Beatles (and that means in the history of rock). It is the work that separates them from their first period as pop idols and put them at the vanguard of the genre, turning the recording studio into the perfect place to experiment. It was the album...

Myles Kennedy - The Ides Of March (2021)

Let Rock Ease Your Worried Mind There may be multiple layers of complexity in Myles Kennedy’s choice of title for his latest album, The Ides Of March (14 May 2021; Napalm Records). One is that ‘The Ides’ originally referred to the new moon of a given month, and so suggests a time for rebirth and celebration. On the other hand Shakespeare...

Edis Mano Exclusive Interview

“The Guitar Is Everything”  The Ellis Mano Band came about after an inspirational late-night chat about Americana and Southern rock between singer Chris Ellis and guitarist Edis Mano in 2016. Ellis was a regular act on Swiss and German television while Mano packed stadiums in his youth; and they decided that evening that their shared...

Emily Wolfe - Outlier (2021)

No Secrets In Emily Wolfe’s exclusive interview with Guitars Exchange to launch her eponymous debut album, she said “I want to show the aggression, the anger and the dark side of me in my guitar playing, and then the lighter happier side of me in my voice... [I want] to do something that no-one has ever done before…”...

Todd Rundgren

Todd Rundgren had it all to be a big star, he was a multi-instrumentalist, production magician, great composer and, as a finishing touch, a guitar ace (which would lead him, some time later, to be part of Ringo Starr's All Stars). But at the moment when success crossed his path, he decided to throw it overboard to follow his own creative path and...

Gary Lucas Exclusive Interview

“The guitarist who plays like Dali paints” At a moment in history when Nasa is flying the first helicopter on another planet and returning rock samples from the primordial asteroid Bennu, Gary Lucas is appropriately releasing an anthology of his extraordinary other-worldly work. The double album provides an overview of over four decades of...

John Lee Hooker - The Healer (1989)

With a little help from his friendsIn 1989 John Lee Hooker was 77 years old – or, according to other sources, 72 - and had been singing since the 30's. He had had his first hit in 1948 thanks to Boogie Chillen'; his music had influenced the Animals, the Stones and the Doors; and he had even appeared in The Blues Brothers in 1980; but, even so,...

The Black Keys - Delta Kream (2021)

Back To The Swamp When the Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney wrapped up their tour in support of 2019’s Let’s Rock they headed for Auerbach’s Easy Eye studio in Nashville to kick back, and the result is this wonderful ‘swampy blues’ 11-song cover album Delta Kream (14 May 2021; Nonesuch...

Rory Gallagher - Rory Gallagher (1971)

The beginning of a new stage After their renowned appearance at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970, Taste seemed destined to stardom, but financial disagreements with their manager and a clash of egos among their members - basically that the other two components also wanted a share of the credit that Rory Gallagher took – led to the band...

Kenny Wayne Shepherd

Whisper On A Scream   On the official music video for Blue on Black Kenny Wayne Shepherd is shown driving his large red car across an open desert with his girlfriend by his side, but then the scene cuts to show him entering a bar on his own, as Noah Hunt sings you “slipped right from my hand” - and you know the opening scene is...

Peter Frampton - Frampton Forgets The Words (2021)

The Phenix Returns Peter Frampton is back with his legendary Phenix guitar on his latest all-instrumental album Frampton Forgets the Words (23 April, 2021; Ume), and it is both nostalgic – in the best possible sense - and highly accomplished.     Nostalgic because Frampton is suffering from a disease, inclusion body...

Joey Santiago

Shaping the sound of alternative rock Joey Santiago is the Pixies’ secret weapon, the unostentatious man who quietly added the perfect sounds to his friend Black Francis' songs so that Francis and Kim Deal could shine on the front line. With a Les Paul on his back, Santiago shaped the alternative rock sound that would conquer the world in...

Gary Lucas - The Essential (2021)

The perfect introduction to the wonderful world of Gary LucasGary Lucas is, unfairly, a footnote in rock history, with his work on Captain Beefheart's last two albums before his retirement and his collaboration with Jeff Buckley on the seminal Grace, composed alongside the singer, and his "Magical Guitarness" on Mojo Pin and the title track, being...

Blackberry Smoke - You Hear Georgia (2021)

Georgia On Our Mind Southern rock band Blackberry Smoke’s You Hear Georgia (28th May 2021; Thirty Tigers) is a warm homage to the group’s home state on the twentieth anniversary of their founding. Recorded in Nashville’s legendary RCA Studio the songs evoke Georgia’s people and places, as well as its close ties with other southern...

Pat Metheny - Road To The Sun (2021)

From Impro to Compo    On Road To The Sun (5 March 2021; BMG Modern Recordings), guitar legend Pat Metheny eschews his Ibanez PM200-NT in favour of his mythical 42-string Pikasso, but his real achievement here is in composition.     Such is Metheny’s genius that the 20-time Grammy winner reportedly put...