I am aware that the term “guitar god” is seriously overused. Those prone to loving the sound of that awesome musical instrument can hardly restrain themselves from the hyperbole (if such is their temptation) to bestowing the celestial title on the individual who has moved them—in whatever way. And I would be seriously remiss in not noting the crop (especially of young ones) who are taking the planetary stage as “guitar goddesses.”
Having said all of that, I was introduced to an artist while listening to a program I first heard back in 1984: “Hearts of Space.” I discovered space music while also being a devoted heavy metal fan. That artist is Buckethead. The program featured his album Electric Tears. I fell in love with him. But Stephen Hill (the voice of “Hearts of Space”) claimed he was a noted rock guitarist. Hmm, I needed to explore this.
Yes, it turned out to be true! But he’s not your garden variety musician. The sheer volume of his work is staggering. He has released hundreds of albums and collaborated with others on scores more. According to Wikipedia, “His music spans many genres, including progressive metal, funk, blues, bluegrass, ambient, and avant-garde music.” Considering his vast body of production, I will admit I’ve heard maybe one or two percent. I’ve focused on his progressive rock and metal and on his mind-expanding dreamy, spacey stuff. He has a tribute to Miles Davis on “Sketches of Spain.”
His long tracks seem to flow right along. One example is “Project Little Man,” which clocks in at over 18 minutes. It’s over before you know it. (Sort of!) Even though I still have heard only little bit of his stuff, I have discovered that “Soothsayer” is one of his most beloved pieces. It was dedicated to his Aunt Suzie.
Oh, by the way, Buckethead (a.k.a. Brian Patrick Carroll) gets his name due to his predilection of wearing a KFC bucket and white expressionless mask. (Just in case you were wondering.)