Sonny Landreth

Look in the most rarified air in the world of electric guitar, and Sonny Landreth will be right there alongside better-known names like Mark Knopfler, Mike Henderson and Richard Thompson. While the longtime Lafayette-area resident's own albums, like 1995's R.S. Field-produced South of I-10, are searing testaments to his intensity and virtuosity, it's Landreth's pedigree as a sideman that (like one of his blistering slide solos) usually causes jaws to drop. Landreth's early career was guided by no less a Jedi than Clifton Chenier, and his style has been informed by that apprenticeship in the world's hottest zydeco band ever since. After parting with Chenier, Landreth went on to be a key link in prolific songsmith John Hiatt's comeback when he backed him on 1988's Slow Turning, an album that helped return Hiatt to the music industry's good graces and remains a popular cover source. After several years with Hiatt, Landreth moved to even higher heights as a regular in Knopfler's traveling band, which also paired him with country guitar great Richard Bennett. Landreth's latest album is this year's From the Reach, on his own Landfall label, which features Landreth's monumental licks sparring with the likes of Vince Gill, Eric Johnson and Dr. John.

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