Chris Buck has been sent “hate mail” for appearing in Total Guitar’s Greatest Blues Guitarists list

Chris Buck has been sent “hate mail” for appearing in Total Guitar’s Greatest Blues Guitarists list

For most guitarists, being ranked alongside the greats would be an honour. And it certainly is – until the keyboard warriors swarm in.
In Total Guitar‘s latest issue, it’s been revealed that readers voted Chris Buck as one of the greatest blues guitarists in the world. According to the ranking, Buck sits comfortably at 27th. While the news would have initially come as a pleasant surprise to him, it’s also inadvertently put a target on Buck’s back.

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In a recent video posted on his YouTube channel, Buck reflects on the ranking, reading out “[Eric] Clapton, [Jimi] Hendrix, Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray, Albert King… Chris Buck… Wait…” he pauses. “If you’re surprised, imagine my amazement to hear my name mentioned in the same breath as any of those guys.” However, the ranking has welcomed in a wave of death threats.

An immediate influx of “scathing responses” has transformed the potential badge of honour into a total burden. “It’s just a vote. It’s just a magazine. It’s just an opinion. It’s just a social media popularity contest,” Buck says. “It’s certainly no good reason to be sending hate mail.”
As Buck puts it, his inclusion in the voting list felt like “a recipe for disaster” from the start. Buck has been a subject of envy for years now, due to him making waves in the guitar world from a young age. He earned himself MusicRadar‘s Best New Guitarist award in 2017, and has only gone from strength to strength.
The hatred is coming from people insulted by Buck being ranked higher than their personal blues heroes. But, as Buck puts it, “if Mississippi Fred McDowell were alive today, he honestly wouldn’t lose any sleep over being [beaten to] number 62 by Marcus King… it doesn’t mean anything.”
In his eyes, being a blues guitarist is about collaborating with your peers and uplifting one another. Because of that outlook, the idea of being compared to other guitarists feels at odds with the blues mentality – as well as making him feel incredibly uncomfortable.
“As immensely flattering as it is, I certainly didn’t ask for inclusion in Guitar World or Total Guitar’s list in the first place,” he explains. “I didn’t ask people to vote for me, primarily because I thought the idea of me being mentioned in the same breath as true musical heroes of mine, and pioneering greats on the blues, [felt farcical].”
“Whenever I am included in such a list, I immediately feel as though I’m going to be pissing someone off or stepping on someone’s toes, which really isn’t what music is about,” he continues. “It’s certainly not what I’m about and it’s definitely not why I started playing guitar.”
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