10. Richard Thompson
The Total Guitar/MusicRadar Best in guitars 2018 polls received an astonishing 126,000 votes, and we're now ready to roll out the winners. The nominees were what we considered to be the guitarists and guitar gear that have excelled in 2018. Here, we present the best acoustic guitarists of 2018.
Taking up positions 12 to 11 are:
12. Charlie Cunningham
11. Gregory Alan Isakov
Kicking off the top 10 we have Richard Thompson...
2018 highlight: The Fairport Convention guitarist released his seventeenth solo album in 2017. Acoustic Classic II (alongside an Acoustic Rarities album) was an opportunity to revisit Thompson's varied career and a reminder of what a sublime acoustic player he really is.
The MusicRadar Best in guitars awards are brought to you in association with Ernie Ball. #colorsofrocknroll
9. Vance Joy
2018 highlight: The artist behind platinum selling Riptide is still making waves with his unique, stripped-down playing. His new album Nation Of Two came together effortlessly and features honest, heartfelt lyrics, sweet harmonies and a more than generous number of solemn acoustic moments. This is folky pop at its finest.
8. Klara & Johanna Söderberg (First Aid Kit)
2018 highlight: One of Sweden’s finest exports since ABBA, Klara and Johanna Söderberg’s brand of twinkly country folk has won them loyal fans. In October 2017, First Aid Kit celebrated their tenth year as a band, and a few months later they released fourth album Ruins. Compared to their previous, more commercial sounding LP’s, Ruins is darker, with the occasional scowling soundscape.
7. Jon Gomm
2018 highlight: Jon Gomm has come a long way since being 'discovered' online in 2012 (although Jon had been forging a successful music career for many years before this). Three albums and multiple tours later and he is still riding high. A recent UK tour saw him joined by Acoustic Guitarist of the Year winner Alexandr Misko and the shows were a lesson in musical emotion and raw, unbridled acoustic guitar technique.
6. John Butler
2018 highlight: We had to wait a little while for John Butler to rejoin his trio and record a new album, but the wait was well worth it. Home is a pretty personal album lyrically, but the playing is Butler's usual energetic, upbeat style, with some cool injections of country and blues to boot.
5. Jamie Lawson
2018 highlight: Support slots don’t get much bigger than opening up for one-man looping heartthrob Ed Sheeran, but that’s the awe-inspiring position UK singer-songwriter - and signing to Ed’s Gingerbread Man Records - Jamie Lawson found himself in earlier in 2018. Considering the headliner, Lawson was well received and earned himself plenty of new fans in the process.
4. Scott Matthews
2018 highlight: Matthews' newest album The Great Untold was very much a labour of love. Working entirely alone - Matthews wrote and played every song himself - combining his incredible creativity with the business demands of running a label. It wasn't an easy task, but the results speak for themselves.
3. John Smith
2018 highlight: Since the release of 2017's mesmerising Headlong album, interest in John Smith's shimmering acoustic folk has rightfully risen dramatically. His penchant for open tunings and percussive playing, coupled with a dazzling singing voice have made Smith one of the finest acoustic musicians to emerge from the UK in the last few years.
2. Tommy Emmanuel
2018 highlight: Australian fingerstyle virtuoso Tommy Emmanuel is one of only five guitarists anointed as 'Certified Guitar Players' by his hero Chet Atkins. Tommy's latest release, Accomplice One, is a collection of duets that also features a tribute to another undisputed great, Django Reinhardt, alongside a top cast of collaborators such as Jason Isbell.
Winner: Mike Dawes
2018 highlight: Mike Dawes takes the top spot for a second year running! The acoustic virtuoso has been on our radar for some time, but many will have been introduced to his playing via the epic Metallica One video. But Mike hasn't sat back since that stellar moment. The guitarist has spent a lot of 2018 on the road and has been busy loading his YouTube channel with ace videos. Our favourite is his performance of original track Econium (Reverie). Simply stunning.