Who are the bands and musicians you love and why?

I was asked recently, which artist or band has influenced my music the most.

This is such a loaded question, but let me cut right to the chase.

As soon as I was able to start spinning my parent’s vinyl, I fell in love with late 60’s and early 70’s music. Specifically, anything that featured overdriven guitars. 

Despite this being a loaded question, I decided to narrow down my influences to my top 10 list of musicians and bands that have influenced the music I create, in no particular order.

I’m still a sucker for anything by 

The Stones
– Because for one, their music is never perfect. The drums and bass always seem to sit slightly ahead of the guitars. This slightly delayed movement between instruments is so imperfect, but perfect all at the same time.

– His chord choices and soloing ability are a given, but also the work he did in the studio layering guitar tracks was so ahead of its time. His guitar on studio albums always sounded so huge in stereo, but not overdone. Little subtle nuances to capture a large frequency spectrum made his guitar sound so powerful, colorful, and larger than life.

Johnny Winter (especially his live albums).
– His playing is so direct and in your face. His tone was always so raw. I love that he didn’t dress his music up and try to fit it in a neatly wrapped box. In doing so, his music came across as very pure to me…in a good way.

Rory Gallagher
– Similar to Johnny Winter, his guitar tone and playing are very direct. No matter if it’s a live album or a studio album, I can feel his emotion come through on every track. He doesn’t dress it up. It’s very true to him with no frills. Direct rock n’ roll.

– Besides Clapton’s solos, I love the different rhythms and genres blending with this band. You’ve got Ginger Baker’s very unique drumming rhythms, paired with Jack Bruce’s chord choices and ability to solo on the bass, paired with Clapton’s very bluesy and rock note choices. They always seemed to be on the same page, yet stylistically, they were so very different.

The band Free
– I just love Paul Kossoff’s guitar work on all their albums paired with Paul Rodgers vocals. Kossof’s guitar tone and directness while soloing are very akin to Rory Gallagher and Johnny Winter. Guitar soloing doesn’t need to be overdone to really move me. In fact, what’s being said in the silence between notes carries a greater impact.

Fleetwood Mac (when they were a Blues band)
– Peter Green was just a beast on guitar. Period. I loved this band when they were straight-up dirty Blues/Blues-Rock.

Led Zeppelin
– In my eyes, Jimmy Page is right up there with Hendrix in terms of studio genius for guitar work. The layering of tracks made every album the monster that it was. Never overdone massive tone. Wearing headphones, it feels like the guitars are all around you…of course, I love this.

The Allman Brothers Band
– One of my favorite bands of all time. It goes without saying that they were one of the greatest jam bands ever. To be so tight like they were going off the cuff is fantastic. Their album “Live at the Fillmore East” is a pure work of art that captures a band at their best. Plus, this band was my first introduction to Southern Rock and dueling guitar solos.

– I know right?? How did this one make it on my list? Well, the vocal harmonies for one. They were doing things that just weren’t being done by anyone else in Rock at that time. Bohemian Rhapsody…need I say more. Also, Freddie Mercury is my 2nd favorite male vocalist of all time behind Joe Cocker and I really love Brian May’s guitar playing. Hearing Brian play guitar was one of the first times I really heard melodic playing that moved me.

Who makes your list?

Jennifer Lyn