Javier Reyes and Tosin Abasi have forged a brand rooted in innovation for Animals as Leaders, employing innovative techniques, cutting-edge gear, and a wide-ranging compositional sensibility.

Looking to the past for inspiration as they haul ass toward the future of guitar—with elite instruments, innovative techniques, and the stunning compositional arc of the new album Parrhesia.

How often does a player come along that legitimately advances and expands the vocabulary of electric guitar? How often does a player come along that changes the fashion of guitar? In the case of Animals as Leaders’ illustrious guitar tag-team, Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes, their contributions as players, songwriters, gear designers, and producers have not just changed guitar culture but arguably dragged it into the future. And whether you’re onboard with the program—djent, prog, nu-fusion, call it what you will—Abasi and Reyes have played an inordinate role in inspiring a new generation of guitarists to pick up extended-scale instruments, download some plug-ins, and hit the Instagram woodshed.

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Sue Foley moved to Austin at the end of the 1980s to immerse herself in the city’s blues scene, where artists like the Vaughan brothers, Albert Collins, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, and Billy Gibbons became her beacons.

Photo by Danny Clinch

The veteran player’s perfectly tailored take on blues is built on big tones, sculpted picking, and the genre’s Austin tradition—all echoing through a new album named after her beloved paisley Tele.

For Austin, Texas’ favorite Canadian expat, guitarist, and singer Sue Foley, staying faithful to the blues tradition is more than just a concern of style. It’s a calling. Foley explains: “I never questioned really dedicating myself to the blues, and that commitment and desire to always be true to it has never changed. I can see where the lines have been blurred between blues, Americana, and country, and there’s a million ways you can skin a cat at this point, but for me and my perception of what the blues really is, you have to step into a history and a deep tradition.”

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Aside from this doubleneck (which features a 12-string up top), the BLS head honcho says his signature Wylde Audio guitars are essentially interchangeable due to ultra-consistent manufacture quality and standardized appointments.

Photo by Jen Rosenstein

After his longest touring break in 20 years, the Black Label Society mastermind talks about the evolution of Doom Crew Inc.—the band’s first-ever studio album to feature a second guitarist.

There aren’t many characters like Zakk Wylde left in the guitar-scape these days. The man has been a fixture—not to mention one of the biggest personalities—within guitar culture since emerging as one of the most respected players of the impossibly athletic late-’80s scene. Wylde’s accolades, exploits, and influence span decades now, so chances are if you’re reading a guitar magazine, the animated, self-styled “Viking” from New Jersey needs no introduction. However, for the uninitiated, Wylde rode the crazy train from virtual obscurity to practical ubiquity on the distinction of being the longest-serving guitarist (and frequent songwriting partner) for legendary metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne—whom Wylde still reverently refers to as “the Boss.”

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Photo by Piero F. Giunti

David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas discuss the band's new album, Native Sons, their legacy of bringing Mexican folk music into mainstream rock, early days playing in the punk scene, and how the group's singular sound evolved along the way.

Few bands have had careers as charmed or as unlikely as Los Lobos, and even fewer have successfully laced together the number of disparate styles found in the band's music to make such a unique yet cohesive sound. Los Lobos' blend of traditional Mexican folk, soul, blues, and roots rock is a direct reflection of the diverse musical environment they were immersed in coming up in East Los Angeles in the late '70s and early '80s. The band's voice has always mirrored L.A.'s eclectic sonic tapestry in a beautiful and authentic way, and in an era where the internet can sometimes dramatically homogenize how we make art by removing geography and local interaction from the process, Los Lobos' uncanny story and locally shaped sound are a reminder of bygone days.

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