Best Of Dallas

10 Most Influential Texas Blues Guitarists

Nothing says "I'm hurtin'" like the wail of a mournful guitar. It's a sound that melts the heart and pierces the soul. While the blues saw a resurgence in the '80s and '90s, it's fallen off the mainstream radar as of late. "In the summer of '96, our royalty checks went from about $70 to over $4,000," Smokin' Joe Kubek remarked in a recent interview with the Observer. "One day I woke up and it was different." So we've complied a list of the 10 most influential Texas blues guitar slingers.

Albert Collins, The Master of the Telecaster A distant relative of Lightnin' Hopkins, Albert Collins' destiny intertwined with the strings of a Fender Telecaster. He grew up listening to the blues sounds of Texas, Mississippi and Chicago, and often used his thumb and forefinger instead of pick to make his guitar sing. He influenced such players as Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, John Mayer and Frank Zappa. His weapon of choice was a maple cap 1966 Custom Fender Telecaster with a Gibson PAF humbucker running through a RMS silver-faced 1970s Fender Quad Reverb.

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Christian McPhate is an award-winning journalist who specializes in investigative reporting. He covers crime, the environment, business, government and social justice. His work has appeared in several publications, including the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star Telegram, the Miami Herald, San Antonio Express News and The Washington Times.