carlos santana

For a while, Walker roomed with blues guitarist Michael Bloomfield from the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.

Photo by Mickey Deneher

Joe Louis Walker has spent half a century playing and singing the blues. In the wake of his new record, Weight of the World, the San Francisco-born singer and guitarist looks back on what he’s learned, and what’s important in the blues.

Amid the San Francisco Bay Area’s dense fog, the Golden Gate Bridge stands as a de facto lighthouse, guiding those navigating the land and sea. In many ways, blues guitarist Joe Louis Walker embodies the essence of this Californian landmark. For over half a century in his professional musical career, Walker has been a beacon of inspiration, a potent conduit—sometimes navigating over choppy waters, but always bridging traditional blues with waves of soul, rock, and gospel.

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Now the world’s best-known 6-string duo, Gabriela Quintero and Rodrigo Sánchez have long-reaching roots that extend from metal to Irish folk music and distill into their unique take on nylon-string-acoustic-guitar music.

Photo by Ebru Yildiz

On their new album, In Between Thoughts… A New World, the acoustic duo goes half-electric, plumbs programmed beats, adds slide guitar, and explores nondualism—following a creative path that opened due to the Covid shutdown.

Grammy Award-winning guitar virtuosi Rodrigo y Gabriela started recording what would become their latest album, In Between Thoughts… A New World, in February 2021. At the time, crafting a new album wasn’t the catalyst for making new music. They really just wanted to write, jam, and record without an agenda while locked down during the pandemic.

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Photo by Richie Sambora

For Rock Candy, Orianthi set out to write and record a song a day. Leaning into spontaneity to spark creativity, the result is as stylistically diverse as her impressive résumé, which includes performing with Steve Vai, Carlos Santana, Alice Cooper, Michael Jackson, and Prince.

As both a solo artist of the highest order and a session ace who has worked with the music world’s elite, Orianthi has succeeded not only because of her immense talent, but also because she knows how to get things done. When Orianthi (Penny Panagaris) was offered a guitarist role on the Alice Cooper tour, she learned 25 of his songs (many quite difficult) in a week—all during a time when she was in the middle of recording her own album.

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In the early '90s, the rock 'n' roll dream team of Tom Petty and Mike Campbell prepare for a show backstage.

Photo by Ebet Roberts

In 1997, the songwriter and his band played a 20-night residency at the historic San Francisco venue, offering fiery concerts that celebrated and defined great American rock ’n’ roll. Now, a four-CD set and Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell tell the story.

“I always had it in the back of my mind,” Mike Campbell says thoughtfully, from his home in the hills outside Los Angeles. He’s taking a moment to savor what it felt like to go back in time and listen to the raw tapes of a now-legendary residency. “Playing the Fillmore was exhilarating for us. I knew then that it was really good, and I would always look forward to the day we’d pull it out again. And when we did, I was pleasantly surprised that it lived up to my expectations and my memory. There’s a lot of kinetic energy and interplay—and fun. We were having fun, you know?”

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