Strings of Change

10 "New Classic" Albums for Classic-Rock Fans
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I was born smack dab in the eye of the classic-rock hurricane that changed rock guitar forever. The ’60s and ’70s icons who forged such a massive cultural disruption were heroes to me—giants whose music reached into my soul and psyche, changing who I was, as well as who I would become. I would never have braved a career in music without their paths to aspire to, nor would I have fallen so deeply in love with the guitar. In fact, the whole idea of my someday becoming Editor in Chief of Guitar Player would have been ludicrous without their inspiration to emulate their guitarcraft in my own fumbling manner.

But those musicians were “of a time,” and much as I adore that era, I don’t want to believe the style can’t evolve beyond its originators. Music should evolve and inspire new players, so rather than regurgitate the classic-rock albums we all know and love for a “Top 10 List,” we’ve instead selected a bevy of classic-rock-inspired releases by the “next generation.”


The World’s Best American Band,
White Reaper

Kentucky’s White Reaper synthesizes Cheap Tricklike sing-along choruses and tons of big-ass guitar riffs into music that would fit right into That ’70s Show.


Puppet Show
Ally Venable Band

At just 19, Venable pulls off a stunner of gritty and/or sultry blues-rock tunes embellished with lots of tasty guitar solos. Gary Hoey guests on “Devil’s Son.”


Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown
Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown

Vibey, dreamy, or slow-cooking fuzzy verses often explode into anthem-esque choruses. Nice pay-offs, and guitar licks aplenty. Brad Whitford’s son, Graham, is one of the guitarists.


Hollow Bones
Rival Sons

Soaring from a blues-rock foundation, Rival Sons adds huge, Def Leppard-style background vocals and surging, blistering guitar riffs to performances that sound beautifully alive and exciting.


Hard to Kill
Heaven and Earth

Admittedly, these vets could have seen duty in the ’70s. However, this is a relatively new band, and their classic-rock roar is not only youthful, but their material has all the right moves.


Wooden Shjips

This San Francisco band evokes the City’s psychedelic roots with crazy hurricanes of overdriven guitar—punctuated with delightfully cheesy organ sounds. It’s like going to Winterland in the ’70s.


Ooga Booga

Led by completely unhinged guitarist Pat Beers (watch the videos), this San Diego band’s MC5/Stooges-like assault could almost own a day on Steven Van Zandt’s Underground Garage.


Everybody Wants
The Struts

Yeah, it might be dumb and derivative, but it’s also “crafty dumb” like the best sing-along, grooving, bombastic guitar-driven joyfests of Sweet, Slade, and Grand Funk.


From the Fires
Greta Van Fleet

It may not be fair to include this release, as the upcoming album promises more diversity, but you can’t argue it ignited a fan frenzy over youthful classic rockers.



Australian guitarist Andrew Stockdale puts Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and other ’70s legends into a musical blender, and pours out an exhilarating repast of riff rock.