“FN: What are you listening to lately? Any newer inspirations, or do you return to those who’ve inspired you for years?
OK, of course I mainly have great players that I have and will forever listen to: Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian, Tal Farlow, Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, Jim Hall, Chet Atkins (!!!), Les Paul (!!), Hank Garland, Jimmy Bryant, Speedy West, Albert Lee, Steve Morse (!!!), Julian Bream, Andres Segovia, Martin Taylor, Jerry Douglas and so on and so on.  Frannie Beecher, who played with Bill Haley, was my singular inspiration for wanting to be stage right, playing lead guitar!  But yes, new players and bands feed me with the enthusiasm to keep going, not forgetting that the fire starts young!”

English: Yes - Steve Howe
English: Yes – Steve Howe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“FN” in this case was Fender News, interviewing “SH,” better known as progressive rock guitar legend Steve Howe.

In this “Django week,” celebrating the influence that Django Reinhardt had on guitarists across the decades and across genres, there’s no getting around taking a good look and listen to Steve Howe.

You can listen to a lot of Howe’s playing no matter who he’s playing with through the years — whether it was the group Yes where he earned his claim to worldwide fame, or with the short-lived band GTR where he teamed with former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, or with the supergroup Asia which straddled the divide between progressive rock and Top 40 music, or in his solo releases — and you can hear a lot of influences, sometimes even within the same song.

On a better-known Howe solo song like “The Clap,” you can hear the style of Chet Atkins which harkens back to Django.  But what Howe’s done through the years is something to admire:  taking all those influences, mastering their style, and blending it all together into something that’s uniquely … well, it’s uniquely Steve Howe.

Just to watch and listen to him play on a stage all by himself would be worth the price of admission.  Today’s playlist is devoted more to Howe on his own, with him playing pretty much every stringed instrument you could imagine.


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