I vote for Richard Thompson and Bert Jansch. True gods. Wish I coulda seen Lonnie Johnson and Mance Lipscomb.
What about Townes Van Zandt -- love his solo acoustic stuff.
He's really a singer-songwriter and not a virtuoso guitarist, but Grant-Lee Phillips, who plays at LA's Largo, is incredible.
In the same category, another hero who never lets me down live is Lloyd Cole.
Much as I love Acoustic Guitar, I wish the magazine would look at figures like this instead of mainstream/corporate CEOs like Dave Matthews.
Skimming this, I'm amazed to see very few mentioning Clapton -- for my money the most overrated guitarist of the last 40 years. But wait, he invented the blues, right -- didn't he know Robert Johnson?
Give me any track by Eddie Lang, Lonnie Johnson, Dave Rawlings, Bert Jansch over this middlebrow corporate Boomer.
You guys need to check out Paco De Lucia...he is amazing!
So many great recommendations on this thread. I'm listening to Swell Season play live at the NPR offices as I type this. I'm surprised no one has mentioned Warren Haynes yet. His 'Live at Bonnaroo' album is great plus there are dozens of clips of him on youtube doing original pieces as well as covers.
Amos Lee with "Windows are Rolled Down" live at Farm Aid ...