What musician gave the best completely solo Guitar/Vocals performance you ever saw?
My Picks (in no order):
**1)**About seven or eight years ago I saw Steve Poltz at the House of Blues in New Orleans.
Nobody in the audience knew him prior to his performance that night (he was an opening act, people were there to see Lisa Loeb), but he gave such an amazing performance that he totally won the crowd over- and even received a standing ovation.
If you ever get a chance to see him perform, don’t miss it. He’s charming, funny, a great guitar player, and a great songwriter. The House of Blues isn’t the largest venue, but it ain’t small either. It’s a pretty big room to have to grab the audience all by one’s lonesome. Some performers may give a wonderful Guitar/Vocals performance in a more intimate setting but then get lost trying to accomplish the same thing in a large venue. The House of Blues is the kind of venue that I’d normally say should be done with a full band but Steve Poltz’ Guitar/Vocals performance was so solid that he blew everybody away- and, again, these were not “fans” most of these people had no idea who he was (although the posters that were on the walls did inform us that he co-wrote Jewel’s “You Were Meant For Me” which was a current hit at the time).
2) The Lifetime Achievement Award in this particular category may have to go to Richard Thompson. I mentioned that I was so impressed with Steve Poltz for handling himself so well solo in such a big venue- well, that venue was teeny tiny compared to the giant theater where I saw Richard Thompson play. And Richard Thompson has been doing this for decades and he still puts on an amazing show, just himself and a guitar.
3) John Wesley Harding is perhaps my favorite. The musicianship is top notch, the songs are excellent, he’s a brilliant storyteller, and he makes you feel like you’re hanging out with an amazingly talented friend who on a whim decided to whip out his guitar and play you a couple of tunes. Beautiful performances each time I’ve seen him!