The Man Eric Clapton Calls The Greatest Guitarist In The World

The Man Eric Clapton Calls The Greatest Guitarist In The World

Posted 25 Jul 2018
albert lee australian tour
(Photo: supplied)

Albert Lee, the guitarists’ guitarist who has worked extensively with Eric Clapton, Emmylou Harris, the Everly Bros, Tommy Emmanuel and countless others, as well as being an acclaimed artist in his own right, is in Australia in August for the Adelaide & Sydney Guitar Festivals, the Melbourne Guitar Show, the Gympie Muster and side shows around the country.

Since he burst onto the London scene with Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds in the 60s, where his rivals/peers included Jimmy Page and Ritchie Blackmore, Albert Lee has been the guitar player that other guitar players all love. 

A fan of classic rockabilly players like Elvis’ guitarist Scotty Moore and Cliff Gallup of Gene Gallop & The Blue Caps, Albert famously played on Bo Diddley and Jerry Lee Lewis’ London Sessions in the early 70s. He was already heading in a country direction with his legendary band Heads, Hand & Feet, who were England’s answer to early country-rockers like the Byrds and the Flying Buritto Brothers, when he decided to relocate to LA, where he joined Buddy Holly’s old band the Crickets. After a stint with Joe Cocker - with whom he first toured Australia in 1974  - he hooked up with Emmylou Harris, replacing the great James Burton in her band in 1976. 

If you don’t think country guitarists can shred, check out two versions of Albert Lee’s signature tune “Country Boy”!!


When Saint Peter asks me to chronicle my time down here on earth, I’ll be able to say (with pride if that’s allowed) that for a while I played rhythm guitar in a band with Albert Lee.” – Emmylou Harris

Working with Emmylou really established Albert’s name in American country music circles, although his next move was back towards rock, with a stint in Eric Clapton’s band that was captured on the best-selling Just One Night live album, which featured Albert leading the band through a wonderful version of Mark Knopfler’s “Setting Me Up”. In 1979 Albert split the country & rock difference with a famous solo on the Dave Edmunds track “Sweet Little Lisa”.

To hear Albert Lee play guitar is a joy I’ve never experienced with any other musician” – Dave Edmunds

In 1983 Albert was instrumental in the Everly Bros reformation; he became their musical director and guitarist for the next 20 years.

During his time with the Everly’s, Albert kept busy with other projects, including a succession of solo albums. In 1984, Ricky Skaggs had a major hit with Albert’s signature tune “Country Boy”, which established Albert as a major presence in Nashville. He began touring with his own band in the late 80s, and over the years worked with all the guitar greats, from Les Paul to Tommy Emmanuel.

In 2002, Albert appeared at the Concert for George, sharing the stage with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and many old friends. The same year he received a Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance for “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” from the CD Earl Scruggs and Friends. In 2007 he appeared at Eric Clapton’s  2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival – sharing a stage with Clapton, Vince Gill, Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson and others. He featured prominently on the CD and DVD release that sold over 2 million copies worldwide. The same year he also performed with Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings at the Ahmet Ertegun tribute show at The O2 in London; the show most famous for Led Zeppelin’s reunion.

In 2013 Albert again appeared at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads festival, this time sharing the stage with Clapton, Vince Gill, and Australia’s own Keith Urban.

He’s the greatest guitarist in the world. The ultimate virtuoso. His skill is extraordinary, his ear is extraordinary and he’s gifted on just about every level.” – Eric Clapton

Albert Lee is touring Australia with his cracking international band and will be performing a set that highlights his illustrious history. Check out this cover of the Gram Parsons tune “Luxury Liner” – Albert performed this with Emmylou back in the 70s – for an example of what you’ll see and hear when he’s here. 

For all tour dates and info, go here.  

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