Hello there everyone! 

I was just thinking about influences... Every day I discover something new, that catches my ear.. It can be anything really.. A great solo, a great song or maybe a great musician that I've never heard before.

Influences... Ofcourse, it's all about inspiration. The musician that is your main influence, might be the one who have given you the most inspiration through out the years. There are some records that I always go back to, and that are so strong that they always gets me inspired. If you find an album or a song that makes you inspired everytime you listen to it, then that's a keeper! :)

I thought I'd make a little list of some of my favourite musicians who inspire me.. Not all of them, because that would be the longest most boring blog-post ever.. You'd fall asleep.. and me to...

Here we go!

Jerry Reed - Jerry was one of the greats. Incredible songwriter for the guitar, and had his own way of playing and writing. Wonderful singer, and combined with his thumbpickin' style, he was an amazing entertainer with so much energy and passion! I would recommend listening to his solo work as well as his duo-work with Chet Atkins. Also, you might not know that he has written songs that many other artist recorded. For example, he wrote the song "Guitar Man" that Elvis recorded.. (And Jerry is the guy playing the guitar on the Elvis-track!) He has also written songs that Johnny Cash recorded, and many many instrumentals that Chet Atkins recorded. I learned many banjo-style ideas from listening to Jerry, and I've learned so much from trying to master his songs and arrangements over the years. Endless source of inspiration.

George Benson - There are so many things to say about George Benson. What an incredible talent. I'm a big fan of his older records, especially "Giblet Gravy" and the "George Benson Cookbook". There are so many ideas to find on those records, and I go back to them to learn every month. I get a lot of inspiration listening to George Bensons guitar playing and singing, and he's absolutely one of my favourite musicians on the planet! I love everything he did with Jack McDuff, and I really recommend listening to that stuff if you haven't already! A teacher once told be that a great thing to do is to listen for the stuff you really really like in a solo, and then just learn that. You don't always have to transcribe the whole solo - just pick out the line that really catches your ear, and then learn it in all keys and positions, so that you can use it yourself. I've done that many times on Benson's albums, and it's a great learning technique. Also, some of the solos (for me) are incredibly hard to play, so that might be another reason I learn parts instead of whole solos, haha!

Tommy Emmanuel - In 2004, I first heard this incredible musician and entertainer. I thought: "How is it possible to do all that on a guitar?". Tommy is without a doubt my main influence, since I basically learned to play that style of guitar playing (fingerstyle) through his music. I first met him in 2005, at the Windsor Arts Centre in London. A small theatre, where I did a short interview with him (for a school project) before his show. He was so kind, inviting me and my dad to see the soundcheck too. I remember when he plugged in his guitar and played some notes at the soundcheck. I told my dad: "This is the best guitar sound I've ever heard..". After a few minutes, I realized I had only heard the sound coming from Tommy's monitors on stage! :) The sound guy turned on the PA and it was like a "bloody earthquake", as the english journalist wrote in the press the day after. Tommy made me want to focus on my guitar, and it is because of him that I can make a living teaching and playing gigs. He is my biggest guitar hero and I will keep learning from his incredible guitar playing for the rest of my life. I'm so happy I got to know him, and so happy we stay in touch!

Chet Atkins - I asked Tommy who his influences was, and he mentioned Jerry Reed, Merle Travis and ofcourse Chet Atkins. The older I get the more I want to listen to Chet Atkins. He has recorded so many albums, and in so many different styles of music too. Always steady, and with such musicality, it's no wonder why he is one of the most influential guitarists of all time. After hearing people like Ike Everly and Merle Travis, Chet created his own style and became "Mr. Guitar" in everybodys eyes! Personally, I love the stuff he played in the 40's and early 50's, and I have many cd's that I go back to learn from now and then! Chet influenced so many of my favourite guitar players of today, such as Richard Smith, Doyle Dykes and Tommy Emmanuel.

Jim Nichols - I heard Jim Nichols for the first time at the Chet Atkins Convention in Nashville back in 2007. What I really like about Jim is that he can play you a great fingerstyle arrangement a la Chet Atkins, and go straight into a bebop solo at the highest level. His sense for building a jazz solo is incredible, and he is without a doubt my favourite fingerstyle jazz guy! Check out his solo cd "Jazz and Country", and his duo cd with Tommy Emmanuel titled "Chet Lag" (nowadays it's called "Happy Hour"). Jim is not only a word class guitarist, he is also a really nice guy, with a great sense of humor!! :)

Robben Ford - This guitar player was the one who inspired me to learn more about Jazz. I had been listening to his records for a long time, and always enjoyed his way of blending the Blues with Jazz. I started to transcribe his solos and finally learned a little bit more about Jazz. Robben opened the door into that world for me, I guess... I go back to learn from his playing quite often!  I've had the plesure to see Robben a few times live in concert, and talk about getting inspired! Last time I saw him I got back home and broke two strings right away... and I never break strings! haha :)

Ted Greene - There's not enough words to describe the talent of Ted Greene. His playing was absolutely amazing, and the sounds he made with his telecaster give me goose bumps every time. Also a great educator, Ted wrote many many books that I've studied from too. Many of the great guitar teachers that I have had so far see Ted as one of their favourite educator and guitar player. His cd "Solo Guitar" is a must have for any guitarist. I get inspired just writing about him! :) Check out when he plays "Autumn Leaves" at a clinic at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood. It's on YouTube.

Anyway... I could go on forever, but here's a few more musicians and artists that I get inspiration and learn from:

Emily Remler, Brent Mason, Jack Pearson, Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton, Charlie Parker, Ronnie Cuber, Joe Pass, Albert Lee, Georg Wadenius, Pete Huttlinger, Wes Montgomery, Diana Krall, Martin Taylor, Richard Smith, Merle Travis, Chet Baker, Tony Rice, Eric Bibb, Leon Rhodes, Lenny Breau and so many more...

Who are your influences and musicians that you get ispiration from? Write a comment below! Have a great day everyone! Hugs from Emil! <3