Despite a sense that the guitar's role in popular music has ebbed, great six-string slingers are still out there, inspiring youngsters to immerse themselves in the finer points of soloing, pentatonic scales and the all-important "tube amplification vs. solid state amplification" debate.
Somewhere a kid has just mastered "Stairway to Heaven." And maybe, just maybe, that kid will one day take home an Orville H. Gibson Award and place it on the mantel, between platinum records or whatever future award recognizes massively downloaded songs.
On February 20 the 2001 Orville H. Gibson Guitar Awards, a kind of "Grammys of the Guitar," will be presented in Los Angeles at the Petersen Automotive Museum.
Peter Frampton is the only nominee up for multiple awards, receiving nods for Best Guitar Performance and Best Rock Guitarist. Frampton's competitors for the former award include shred-guitar great Joe Satriani, jump blues revivalist Brian Setzer and Metallica's guitar-solo specialist Kirk Hammett.
Awards in the fields of rock, acoustic, country and blues guitar are duplicated by gender, as are the awards for best bassist. Male and female jazz guitarists will compete together in the same category.
Most nominees are veterans of the music industry and darlings of the guitar community, but the Les Paul Horizon Award recognizes the Most Promising Up-and-Coming Guitarist. Nominees include country-rock guitarists Tim Womack of Sons of the Desert and Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek, Vertical Horizon's Matt Scannell and Jon Foreman of the Christian alt-rock band Switchfoot.
The recipient of the Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award will be announced shortly.
Nominees for the 2001 Orville H. Gibson Guitar Awards:
Best Guitar Performance (Male or Female)
Joe Satriani - "Until We Say Goodbye"
Peter Frampton - "Off the Hook"
Kirk Hammett, Metallica - "One"
Brian Setzer - "Caravan"
Best Rock Guitarist (Male)
The Edge, U2
Richie Sambora, Bon Jovi
John Frusciante, Red Hot Chili Peppers
Walter Becker, Steely Dan
Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters
Best Rock Guitarist (Female)
Best Acoustic Guitarist (Male)
Jon Bon Jovi
Matt Odmark, Jars of Clay
Best Acoustic Guitarist (Female)
Rickie Lee Jones
Best Blues Guitarist (Male)
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Best Blues Guitarist (Female)
Best Jazz Guitarist (Male/Female)
Best Country Guitarist (Male)
Kix Brooks, Brooks & Dunn
Jeff Cook, Alabama
Best Country Guitarist (Female)
Emily Robison, Dixie Chicks
Jo Dee Messina
Best Bassist (Male)
Adam Clayton, U2
Twiggy Ramirez, Marilyn Manson
Colin Greenwood, Radiohead
Best Bassist (Female)
Melissa Auf Der Maur
Les Paul Horizon Award Most Promising Up-and-Coming Guitarist
Jon Foreman, Switchfoot
Matt Scannell, Vertical Horizon
Sean Watkins, Nickel Creek
Tim Womack, Sons of the Desert