Brian Setzer(2)

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Anyone who knows anything about Brian Setzer knows he can pretty much do it all when it comes to guitar playing. Live or on record, white-hot guitar is the centerpiece of Setzer’s shtick, and the latest album from this extraordinary player does nothing to diminish the perception that he rules the roost when it comes to high-octane roots-rock shredding. Setzer seems bent on covering a lot of territory here, and with 13 original songs that run the gamut from hard rock to rockabilly to Jimmy Bryant-style country swing to even some folky banjo picking, you’re treated to a wide range of his talents. There is seriously badass playing all over “13,” and Setzer even manages to slip in some humorous digs on the current state of rockabilly with the appropriately titled “Really Rockabilly,” which features Stray Cats bassist Slim Jim Phantom. Unlike some of Setzer’s previous rockabilly and swing releases, his 13th solo album is a free-wheeling guitar romp that trades thematic focus for the pure joy of running wild—and that’s what makes it so cool. (Surfdog.)
—Art Thompson