Mark Knopfler: 8/12/1949
Singer, songwriter, producer, film score composer, and guitarist best known for his time with rock group Dire Straits. The band’s tune Sultans of Swing is still very popular today and is covered by many aspiring guitarists. Besides his very successful career with his band, Knopfler has played with many musicians, from BB. King and Eric Clapton, to Elton John and Steely Dan. Since Dire Straits broke up in 1995, Mark has boasted a successful solo career and continues to perform and compose various styles of music.
Frank AKA “Son” Seals: 8/13/1942
Electric Blues singer and guitar player, born in Arkansas. Growing up, his father owned a juke joint, or a place where people went to dance, drink, and have a great time. This is where Seals was exposed to different forms of music and his passion grew. He began on the drums first at 13 but then changed over to the guitar at 16, playing with many famous blues musicians including Albert King, Bobby Bland, and Junior Parker. In 71, Seals moved to a booming blues scene in Chicago where he was discovered by Alligator Records and his recording career took shape. In 2009, he was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame as a performer.
Eddie Kirkland: 8/16/1923
An original bluesman who was born in Jamaica and grew up primarily in Alabama. He set out on tour at the young age of 12 with the Sugar Girls Medicine Show. After years of traveling to various cities, Kirkland settled in Detroit where he learned the essentials to recoding and met John Lee Hooker, who he performed and recorded with for seven years. After this, he embarked on an ultimately very successful solo career and continued to perform until he passed away in 2011.
Eric Bibb: 8/16/1951
Multiple-time award-nominated American folk-blues guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist. He took up the guitar from the age of seven and began to play professionally at sixteen. Three years later, he relocated to Paris where, thanks to fellow guitarist Mickey Baker, his interest in blues music ignited. He would move yet again, settling in Stockholm, Sweden, and in 1972 began a long and celebrated recording career. He has since recorded nearly 40 albums and has been nominated for numerous Blues Music Awards as well as a Grammy nomination for his work on Taj Mahal’s Shakin’ a Tailfeather. His latest recorded project was a collaborative country-blues hybrid album with North Country Far and bassist Danny Thompson, which you can read more about by clicking here.[Photograph by Brian Blauser]
Luther Allison: 8/17/1939
Before he was known for his pulse-pounding performances and powerhouse guitar prowess, this bluesman taught himself to play the guitar shortly after moving to Chicago with his family at age twelve. He sharpened his skills and frequented the blues clubs throughout the Windy City, where he would often have the chance to sit in with a numerous giants of the genre. In 1967, he signed to Delmark Records and released his debut album two years later. Allison built a strong following off of his performances. He signed to Motown Records in the early 70’s before departing for Europe in 1977 where he lived and worked for a number year. Signed to Alligator Records, he returned to the United States in the early 090’s where his popularity erupted, boosted not only by universal critical acclaim (he would win 5 Blues Music Awards in 1996 alone) but also a plethora of appearances at festivals. He enjoyed his rejuvenated career, both on the road and in the studio, until his passing in 1997.
Eric Johnson: 8/17/1954
Sensational blues and fusion guitarist who has made a living and popular name for himself for his incredible technical prowess. He drew influences from various sources that helped him to mold his current, distinct sound and tone. Some of these influences include, Wes Montgomery, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Django Reinhardt, and more. He has played with many other artists but is mostly known for his solo projects. His song Cliffs of Dover won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance, and the album Ah Via Musicom was certified platinum. It also is one of the most attempted cover songs and has appeared in a few video games. Johnson still tours and records and is still highly influential for young guitarists.