Bert Jansch

One of the most important figures in contemporary British folk, Bert Jansch brought an unsurpassed combination of virtuosity and eclecticism to the acoustic guitar, both as a solo act and a key member of Pentangle. Also a talented songwriter and affecting (if gruff) vocalist, he wrote dark and sparse material that recalled the folky side of Donovan, though he was much less pop-oriented than the psychedelic pop troubadour. Incorporating elements of blues, American folk, and British Isles traditional music into his playing, his influence was not only immense in the British folk scene, it also extended to the rock world -- Neil Young and Jimmy Page, two electric guitar gonzos who often turn to acoustic picking as well, have acknowledged Jansch as a major influence. Young went as far as to tell Guitar Player that Jansch did for the acoustic guitar what Jimi Hendrix did for the electric. A revered elder statesperson in the U.K., he escaped widespread notice in the States, yet he had all the prerequisites for a large cult following on the order of Nick Drake, another musician whose work contains definite echoes of Jansch.