Lenny Breau... the greatest guitarist you've never heard of.
I sat in the dressing room and watched him warm up for a
live taping of The Carl Smith show around '68, I think it was.
Freight train on an acoustic guitar..
This is where he took it.
In the last couple of years of his life he was in bad shape
from drug and alcohol abuse.
He did a regular gig at a bar in Nashville where I often went to see and hear him perform whne I was home.
Had to be helped onto his stool.
Still played better than most.. right up until he died.
Some good links here...
[link to www.guitarzone.com
Before Lenny Breau, no one had ever thought of the guitar as an unlimited harmonic/melodic instrument. It could be used for either purpose freely, or with a simple bassline with restrictions, but Lenny's innovation was to merge all of those capabilities with a simultaneous freedom that has yet to be reproduced today- more than 20 years after his death. He is also the father of artificial harmonics la Tommy Emmanuel as we know them today. All in standard tuning, no less!
Among the guests featured are: George Benson, Steve Vai, Pat Metheny, Leonard Cohen, Ted Greene, Chet Atkins, Tal Farlow, Liona Boyd, and other non guitar-players. Vai's got a good quote in the third segment:
"...After a while I was able to discern the difference between, you know... As Frank Zappa says, 'good noodling and bad noodling.' And ah, even when Lenny was just noodling, it was a feast."
[link to www.youtube.com