I can’t dispute any of the choices so far. Does it have to be somebody still with us? My favourite player by far is Brownie McGhee. Try playing like he does sometime and see how far you get. He is very musical, holds down the beat, and often sings at the same time.
Ry Cooder has been consistently my top favourite for decades. Leo Kottke, Eric Johnson and Pat Metheny left indelible impressions years ago that have stuck. In recent years, the lyrical, emotive mastery and completely low-key demeanour of Derek Trucks makes him a favourite to watch playing live. In a world of massive pedalboards, he gets bonus points for not using any.
He fills his role in a band setting, loves ripping your face off and then mellowing out on acoustic. Does it all.
His playing has evolved greatly over the years and was always integral in the little band he founded.
Gets better and better with age.
For years Lenny Breau was my favorite and he remains my gold standard with Gene Bertoncini not far behind. These days there are a bunch of players who bring me a lot of pleasure: Cenk Erdogan, Antonio Forcione, Dominic Miller, and Ulf Wakenius probably get the most listening time.
i couldn't pick just one, but in no order, here are SOME
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