“What’s on your playlist?” is a question that always pops up whenever we get to hang with our educators after their sessions here at TrueFire’s Studios. More often than not, there’s always an artist or two that we get turned on to. But there’s also always an artist or two on their playlist that you’d never guess would be there. We asked 23 of our top educators to share what they’ve been listening to recently and we’re happy to share those playlists with you here in this edition Riff. Tune in and turn on!
John Mayer, The Search for Everything 
The Search for Everything has superb bass playing, songs, guitar playing, diverse, just excellent in every way.
Pat Martino, Allan Holdsworth, Don Patterson, Joe Henderson, Jimi Hendrix, John Scofield, Pat Metheny
DareDevil Squadron, “Last Resort (Maxi Single)” 
Michael Schenker, Rainbow [Early 8 Blackmore albums]
Tony Vega Band, Black Magic Box 
Rival Sons, Great Western Valkyrie 
Chris Stapleton, Traveller 
Tony Vega Band is all about blues that captures the big swinging Texas sound. My favorite living guitarist and singer.
San Francisco String Trio, The Sgt. Peppers Project 
Rostam, “Gwan” 
I love this Beatles album Mimi Fox put out with Mads Tolling. With Mimi’s soaring guitars, it’s really fun to listen to tunes you know so well with such interesting and musical twists!
Been enjoying Rostam’s new release “Gwan”. That violin part and how the song develops is sweet and would be a great song to listen to on an evening walk on the beach!
Chuck Prophet’s a rock guitar god.
Jimmy Herring, Subject to Change Without Notice 
Sam Gleaves & Tyler Hughes, The Mammals
Adam Hurt, Artifacts 
Tom Paxton, Boat in the Water 
Mollie O’Brien & Rich Moore, Love Runner 
Gleaves and Hughes have beautiful duet harmonies and simple, effective old time country sound in fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin.
Car Bomb, Meta 
Meta is scary good and actually just plain scary.
Lucie Silvas, Brothers Osborne, Chris Stapleton
Dawes, We’re All Gonna Die 
I’m currently on tour with Lucie Silvas opening for Brothers Osborne and Chris Stapleton. John Osborne is literally my new favorite guitar player. He’s incredible at all styles and is an accomplished mandolin and bass player. He’s insane! And Stapleton…what else can you say. He’s got one of the most powerful voices of all time.
Van Halen, Van Halen 
Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin I & II 
ZZ Top, ZZ Top’s First Album 
Michael Bloomfield, Super Session 
Various Artists, Message to Attila 
Ed Bickert Trio, Art Farmer & Jim Hall Quartet
Manuel Galban, Mambo Sinuendo 
Les Paul and His Trio, Hawaiian Paradise 
The Four Freshman, The Four Freshman and Five Guitars 
Beach Boys, Pet Sounds 
Chet Atkins, Teensville 
Neil Finn, Try Whistling This 
Henry Mancini and His Orchestra, The Versatile Henry Mancini 
Martin Denny, “Quiet Village” 
Jason Loughlin, Peach Crate 
All of the records and artists on my list are either super joyful or masters at summer mood.
Peter Green and Danny Kirwan (of Early Fleetwood Mac)
Fleetwood Mac, Live at the Boston Tea Party 
David Bowie, Blackstar 
Some say Peter Green is the best white blues guitarist who ever lived and that Danny Kirwan is one of the great lost figures in rock history (both literally and figuratively).
Preston Reed, Imogen Heap, Weather Report or Joe Zawinul
Afro Celt Sound System [Early CDs]
Bruce Kaphan, Slider 
Bruce Kaphan is the ultimate ambient slide music around.
John Fogerty, Blue Moon Swamp 
Oscar Peterson Trio, We Get Requests 
Don Stiernberg, Mandoboppin’! 
Lyle Ritz & Herb Ohta, A Night of Ukele Jazz Live at McCabes 
Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, Get Up and Do Right 
Normally I wouldn’t plug our own CD, but Cathy Fink is the best banjo player around. I don’t listen to our CD because Cathy practices in the car. It’s a little too exciting on the fast tunes. It’s hard not to drive too fast down the highway. Next to having Cathy in the car, our CD might be the next best thing.
Van Halen, 1984 
The Beatles, 1 
Duran Duran, Greatest 
Madonna, The Best of 
I like “oldies and goldies” of Van Halen 1984 and because everything (for me) started there. The history of this [Beatles compilation, 1] is important.
Steve Wilson, To the Bone 
Jaco Pastorius, Truth, Liberty, and Soul – Live in NYC: The Complete 1982 NPR Jazz Alive! Recording 
The Feeling, Twelve Stops and Home 
Frank Zappa, Chicago ’78 
Hiromi, Move , Alive 
Deep Purple, Joni Mitchell
Twelve Stops & Home by U.K. pop band The Feeling is a favorite summer album for me and captures a sunny mood.
Scott Henderson, Vibe Station 
Albert King is a big man, big tone, big licks! He will always be worth listening to – any album is great. Back to the roots! An incredible album by an incredible guitar player. Pay attention to the layering of guitar tones, and the fantastic overall sound. It doesn’t hurt that the compositions and playing is stellar either…
Roberto Dalla Vecchia
Bryan Sutton, The More I Learn 
Bryan Sutton’s album has all the ingredients that I love: great songwriting (the title track is worth the entire CD), great song arrangements, variety in the song style (bluegrass, old time, americana, folk, blues) and some awesome solo flatpicking guitar (check out the amazing arrangement to an old standard “Arkansas Traveller”). A very inspiring album!
Chick Corea, My Spanish Heart 
Always listening to Chick Corea’s “My Spanish Heart” and “Light As A Feather” for heart wrenching harmony and flawless technique.
Yngwie Malmsteen, Mattias Eklund
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal
Johann Sebastian Bach, The Goldberg Variations , Lute Suites 
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal seems to be able to craft music for any occasion. So, this summer (like all the past ones) you can be sure that his tracks are mixed in on my playlist. For quiet times to reflect, nothing resonates with me deeper than Johann Sebastian Bach, The Goldberg Variations and Lute Suites are some of my favorites!