A little late to the party, but we would like to wish a happy national guitar month to all of you rockstar readers. We’ve created this reading list of some of our favorite guitar-related titles to hopefully inspire your next riff.
BY JAS OBRECHT
A compelling portrait of rock’s greatest guitarist at the moment of his ascendance, Stone Free is the first book to focus exclusively on the happiest and most productive period of Jimi Hendrix’s life. As it begins in the fall of 1966, he’s an under-sung, under-accomplished sideman struggling to survive in New York City. Nine months later, he’s the toast of Swinging London, a fashion icon, and the brightest star to step off the stage at the Monterey International Pop Festival. This momentum-building, day-by-day account of this extraordinary transformation offers new details into Jimi’s personality, relationships, songwriting, guitar innovations, studio sessions, and record releases. It explores the social changes sweeping the U.K., Hendrix’s role in the dawning of “flower power,” and the prejudice he faced while fronting the Jimi Hendrix Experience. In addition to featuring the voices of Jimi, his bandmates, and other eyewitnesses, Stone Free draws extensively from contemporary accounts published in English- and foreign-language newspapers and music magazines. This celebratory account is a must-read for Hendrix fans.
BY JAS OBRECHT
In this lively collection of interviews, storied music writer Jas Obrecht presents a celebration of the world’s most popular instrument as seen through the words, lives, and artistry of some of its most beloved players. Readers will read–and hear–accounts of the first guitarists on record, pioneering bluesmen, gospel greats, jazz innovators, country pickers, rocking rebels, psychedelic shape-shifters, singer-songwriters, and other movers and shakers. In their own words, these guitar players reveal how they found their inspirations, mastered their instruments, crafted classic songs, and created enduring solos. Also included is a CD of never-before-heard moments from Obrecht’s insightful interviews with these guitar greats.
BY JOHN W. TROUTMAN
Since the nineteenth century, the distinct tones of kīkā kila, the Hawaiian steel guitar, have defined the island sound. Here historian and steel guitarist John W. Troutman offers the instrument’s definitive history, from its discovery by a young Hawaiian royalist named Joseph Kekuku to its revolutionary influence on American and world music. During the early twentieth century, Hawaiian musicians traveled the globe, from tent shows in the Mississippi Delta, where they shaped the new sounds of country and the blues, to regal theaters and vaudeville stages in New York, Berlin, Kolkata, and beyond. In the process, Hawaiian guitarists recast the role of the guitar in modern life. But as Troutman explains, by the 1970s the instrument’s embrace and adoption overseas also worked to challenge its cultural legitimacy in the eyes of a new generation of Hawaiian musicians. As a consequence, the indigenous instrument nearly disappeared in its homeland.