Thurston Moore's Top 5 Acoustic Guitarists

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Thurston Moore

Thurston Moore

Catherine Lewis/Courtesy of the artist

A member of Sonic Youth, which has been challenging and inspiring audiences for more than a quarter-century, guitarist Thurston Moore has always tirelessly championed his musical loves. Whether he's writing liner notes for obscure free-jazz reissues, championing young avant-garde musicians or even unabashedly worshipping pop-culture icons like Madonna, Moore has always had an ear for challenging and era-defining sounds.

Recognizing the acoustic nature of Moore's recent solo album, Trees Outside the Academy, World Cafe host David Dye asked him to share some of his favorite acoustic guitarists.

Thurston Moore's Top 5 Acoustic Guitarists

John Fahey

  • Artist: John Fahey
  • Album: Best of John Fahey 1959-1977
  • Song: Sunflower River Blues

"He's so significant, such an amazing personality, such a character, and you really heard it in his approach to his music. He was taking this traditional form of blues and folk and putting an intellectual spin on it without being an egghead. He was kind of academic, but... almost as much a freak as some of these old blues guys."

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Song
Sunflower River Blues
Album
Best of John Fahey 1959-1977
Artist
John Fahey
Label
Takoma
Released
1977

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Anne Briggs

  • Artist: Anne Briggs
  • Album: Collection
  • Song: Blackwaterside

"She was a folk singer from the U.K. who was involved with Bert Jansch and his whole gang there in the '60s, playing at folk festivals and busking on streets. They took the English traditional form of folk music and gave it a young, contemporary edge. I started finding out a lot about British folk music firstly through Fairport Convention and Pentangle and all its associated players. There's a fantastic history, the deeper and deeper you get. She is one of the singers that transcended the traditional songs just by her voice. I know this is about acoustic guitar, but it was that marriage between her playing and her voice that was just astounding."

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Song
Blackwaterside
Album
Collection
Artist
Anne Briggs
Label
Topic
Released
1999

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Bert Jansch

  • Artist: Bert Jansch
  • Album: Jack Orion
  • Song: Jack Orion

"I've never met the man, but reading stories about him, he seems like he's really that hard-playing acoustic-guitar guy, and he doesn't take any BS from anybody. He sounds like a swell dude."

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Song
Jack Orion
Album
Jack Orion
Artist
Bert Jansch
Label
Earmark
Released
1966

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Derek Bailey

  • Artist: Derek Bailey
  • Album: Ballads
  • Song: Laura

"We're gonna go to the outer realms here. Derek Bailey, who people know primarily as an electric guitar player with a jazz guitar and volume pedal, playing completely improvised music. His whole idea was, 'Why wouldn't people not only want to play this way or would want to listen to this music?' It's way more referential to the human condition. He had a real humor about what he did, as well. He was a serious practitioner, but he liked to have a pint and a laugh."

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Song
Laura
Album
Ballads
Artist
Derek Bailey
Label
Tzadik
Released
2002

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Jack Rose

  • Artist: Jack Rose
  • Album: Kensington Blues
  • Song: Calais to Dover

"There are a lot of contemporary people really devoted to playing acoustic guitar in a really forward-thinking and challenging way without completely divorcing itself from tradition. One of the most magnificent players in the last few years is certainly Jack Rose, whom I've known for many, many years. He's always been around the Philadelphia underground music scene playing avant-garde and noise music. He was somebody that really got turned on to the whole lineage of acoustic guitar playing, really put his head down and became a really great acoustic guitar player."

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Song
Calais to Dover
Album
Kensington Blues
Artist
Jack Rose
Label
VHF
Released
2007

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Purchase Featured Music

Best of John Fahey 1959-1977

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Best of John Fahey 1959-1977
Artist
John Fahey
Label
Takoma
Released
1977

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Collection

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Purchase Featured Music

Album
Collection
Artist
Anne Briggs
Label
Topic
Released
1999

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Jack Orion

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Purchase Featured Music

Album
Jack Orion
Artist
Bert Jansch
Label
Earmark
Released
1966

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Ballads

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Purchase Featured Music

Album
Ballads
Artist
Derek Bailey
Label
Tzadik
Released
2002

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Kensington Blues

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Purchase Featured Music

Album
Kensington Blues
Artist
Jack Rose
Label
VHF

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