Since joining alt-rock duo Cairo Knife Fight in 2015, George Pajon Jr. has applied his meticulous gear-tinkering toward creating layered, complex guitar and bass parts for the duo.

Photo by Michelle Shiers

The guitarist and meticulous gear nerd has played with the Black Eyed Peas since 1998. With his alt-rock duo Cairo Knife Fight, his years of tinkering have helped him forge a new sound.

George Pajon Jr. is pedal-obsessed. For him, time off means hiding out in his studio, working his way through every setting on every pedal he owns—and he owns a lot of pedals—logging each tone he thinks he may be able to use, and making careful notes in order to recall the sound later when needed. When he’s working in the studio or in a rehearsal, he scrolls through his files, pulls up options to share with his many A-list collaborators, and looks for the tone that often makes the difference between a good-sounding track and a hit. He does know the difference, by the way, since he has a regular gig as the touring guitarist with the Black Eyed Peas, and also plays on their albums.

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Rebecca and Megan Lovell channel the pent-up energy from nearly two years away from the stage into Blood Harmony, a true family affair that celebrates the spirit of sibling collaboration.

After 18 months of being sidelined from gigs, Larkin Poe aimed to funnel the juice they were missing from live shows into the sessions for their new album, Blood Harmony. “I think the process of making this record was one I’m most proud of,” says Megan Lovell, the lap-steel playing half of the band’s core sisterhood. “We both fought for what we believed in. Our live show is really energetic, and we wanted people to feel that on the record. We wanted the record to be more live.”

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Photo by Ana Massard

She’s climbed the mountain of shred, toured with Alice Cooper and Demi Lovato, topped a half-dozen charts with her solo debut, and earned a Super Bowl ring. Now, the Ibanez-toting barnstormer’s poised for her next victory.

Defining “Hurricane” Nita Strauss is difficult. She’s one of the most visible players out there, yet she’s still underappreciated by the mainstream. As a solo artist, Strauss is the premier torchbearer for ’80s-informed shred metal, but her music sounds modern, and her “day job” is as a first-call session and touring guitarist for the biggest names in pop and classic rock—from Demi Lovato to Alice Cooper. She also regularly tops lists of the best female guitarists, but the truth is she’s simply one of the finest contemporary guitarists—period.

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