Guitar heroes. We love them. We praise them. We make lists about them. We want to be them. We even create games based upon them. Rock and Roll is often all about the guitar. Often the ones we idolize, that garner the most praise are those who play the loudest or the fastest, the ones who make the biggest flash. Unfortunately, those guys aren't always the best.
I like players who aren't as flashy. Those who know how to play, and play it well, but that don't have to be on the front of the magazine cover, who don't always make it to the top of the lists. I like a guitarist who services the song and not his own ego. Guys like Mark Knopfler and Chet Atkins fit that bill pretty well.
Watch these two play together from back in 1987. There's no high theatrics, no windmill arms, no flailing around or speed drills. It's just two masters making music together. They are obviously having fun together as seen in their periodic big smiles, and you can see them try to one-up each other just a little bit, but not in a showy way, but rather as two artisans showing off their skills.
The video contains two songs: the first "I'll See You In My Dreams," which made it onto their tragically underheard album, Neck and Neck, is lighthearted and full of joy. The second, a cover of John Lennon's "Imagine," is full of emotion. The playing is clear, clean and absolutely stunning.
You can keep your Hendrix, Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughn's. I'll take these two any day of the week.