J is for… Al Joseph
Image borrowed from Al’s site at aljosephmusic.com
I first became aware of Al Joseph through a couple of YouTube videos and Instagram clips, and then a friend playing me one of his solo albums. Turns out he’s a very active guitar teacher over there in the gold old U.S. of States, both privately and through the splendid JamTrackCentral, and I also just learned that he was born in 1987, which means I have a guitar which is as old as he is.
Al absolutely wails, dude. His feel and technique are both death-defying, but the thing that leaps off the screen at me whenever I watch him play is how effortless his picking action is. Everything looks as easy as it sounds difficult. You won’t catch me learning any of his songs, put it that way.
Further, it turns out he also sings, and as well as solo instrumental albums he also has a band project called Hyvmine with which he has released two vocal metal albums, and those are also very good (though the second one is pretty much more of the same as the first… fine if you like the first one, of course!)
All of Al’s solo albums are chock-full of nuts, and indeed notes, and you can’t really go wrong with any of them, but if I were to pick one (and I were) then it would be 2017’s All of Creation, I reckon.
There are literally* billions of videos of Al on YouTube, what with him being such a prolific guitar instructor and all, but here’s the full official video of his latest (at time of writing) single “Elemental”:
* NB: not literally.