You may notice some labels making recurrent and multiple appearances on this list and from year to year. These labels have become successful, forward thinking purveyors of boundary stretching music, so it is not surprising they are attracting the best of the best. Cuneiform has a long history in this field, which makes up and coming, virtuoso Anthony Pirog a good match. Rune Grammofon continues to support the ground-breaking work of modern guitar hero Stian Westerhus, while Anti and Nonesuch are becoming the go-to labels for roots artists looking to remain relevant.
Once again this is a purely subjective list, so please let me know if you feel strongly about a record I have left off. We are fortunate so much great modern guitar music is available, but it makes it hard for one man to keep up. Happy Holidays.
Ry Cooder has called Rick Cox “…the hidden master of the crepuscular and the diaphanous.” Hidden indeed—in this era of ubiquitous Internet presence, I was hard pressed to find Cox represented. Still, you have heard him if you have ever seen The Shawshank Redemption, The Horse Whisperer, or American Beauty, where he lends his unique soundscapes to Thomas Newman’s scores. His latest release for Cold Blue is collaboration with Newman, 35 Whirlpools Below Sound. Enter the vortex with Rick Cox.