Before revealing his choices for essential guitar albums, longtime Paul McCartney lead axeman Rusty Anderson wants to make one thing perfectly clear: “I’m a fan of a lot new bands," he says. "Wolf People, Grizzly Bear, Band Of Houses – they’re all doing some really cool things. But it’s hard to put them in the same category and on the level as the old stuff. The older stuff is just pretty classic."
Sharing the stage with Macca since 2001 has afforded Anderson the opportunity to explore the indelible guitar figures to what is perhaps the modern era's greatest body of songs. Fittingly, his view of what constitutes a great guitar album is based not on exceptional technical ability but rather on how the instrument figures into the collective whole.
“There’s kind of a great divide between amazing music and amazing guitar music," he says. "Picking an album that’s exceptional for what’s being done on the guitar is not the same as going to the Guitar Center and listening to somebody just fiddling about. A great guitar album is one in which the notes relate to one another in a compositional way. Put that together with tone, intent, the era and technology – a lot of elements come into play."
Pinning Anderson down for his list of essential guitar albums was no mean feat (although he did expand the usual number of 10 to a nice round 14): In addition to trotting the globe with McCartney, he's been putting the finishing touches on his first signature model for Gibson, the Rusty Anderson ES-335, due out in a few weeks. What's more, there's Rusty Anderson Afternoon, the new band he's put together with guitarist Matt McKenna, bassist Todd o'Keef and drummer Petur Smith. The group has issued their debut single, Effortless, which you can purchase on iTunes. For more info on Rusty Anderson, check out his website, as well as his Facebook and Twitter pages.