The best guitarist you’ve never heard of, Ireland’s Joe Hodgson, idolized Gallagher and Moore

By Steve Newton

Ireland has spawned two of the greatest rock guitarists of all time in Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore.

Yet for some unfathomable reason, neither of them have garnered the massive, worldwide fame their dedicated followers know is their due.

In a perfect world, their names would be as recognizable as those of Clapton, Beck, or Page.

And like those three, they would both have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame many years ago, as soon as they were eligible.

But don’t get me started on that.

Of course, the diehard Gallagher and Moore fans aren’t too concerned about such honours being bestowed on their heroes. They’re okay just listening to their old records and soaking up the guitar glory for themselves.

But still…wouldn’t it be nice to never hear “Rory who?” ever again while trying to turn a regular music fan on to sheer greatness?

And speaking of sheer greatness, have you ever heard of Joe Hodgson?

I hadn’t myself, up until a few days ago, when he sent me an email under the simple subject line “Some new guitar music.”

Dear Steve
My name is Joe Hodgson and I’m a guitar player from Co. Tyrone , Northern Ireland. I recently came across your website and I have really enjoyed reading your articles.
I’ve just released an album called ‘Apparitions’, and I was wondering if you’d be interested in having a listen… It’s an instrumental album (with a full band) so there’s plenty of guitar playing on it, to say the least… I would love to hear your thoughts on my music. It’s rock-based, but it’s not metal, it kinda charts its own course, bending and blending a few genres. You’ll find a link below to the album on Spotify, and if you like, I could also send you a cd copy… I really hope you enjoy the music, and I hope to hear back from you.
All the best, Joe.

Oh, he heard back from me alright.

As soon as I started playing Apparitions I was totally blown away. The 16-track album covers a lot of musical ground, touches on multiple genres, yet its focus, Hodgson’s guitar–whether concocting gorgeous melodies or delivering serious shred–keeps you riveted throughout. It was clear to me that this guy I’d never heard of before was a brilliantly adventurous player, right up there with the likes of Satriani and Vai.

See for yourself:

When I visited Hodgson’s website to learn more about the wicked picker, the Gallagher/Moore connection was laid out right there on the About page.

“His love of guitar was ignited after discovering Irish blues legend Rory Gallagher,” it reads, “and shortly after he managed to procure his first instrument, a battered old second-hand Woolworth’s Top Twenty guitar.

“The day that changed Joe’s life for good, though, was when he saw another Irish great, Gary Moore, play at the UK Monsters of Rock Festival. Joe recalls, ‘I was blown away by the sheer brilliance of Gary’s playing on every level, and from that moment on, all I wanted to do was play guitar.'”

So there you have it. Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore might not be household names, but if their talent can combine to inspire guitarists like Joe Hodgson to reach such lofty musical heights, that says it all.

I suggest you go listen to the Apparitions album right now, and start spreading the word about Joe Hodgson to all the other six-string freaks in your orbit. You just know that when he makes it to the top of the guitar world he’ll be telling everyone who’ll listen about the undying influence of those other two Irish blokes.

We’ll get them into the Rock Hall yet! And maybe Hodgson one day, too.


3 thoughts on “The best guitarist you’ve never heard of, Ireland’s Joe Hodgson, idolized Gallagher and Moore

  1. I was lucky enough to have seen Rory Gallagher in The Maritime Club in Belfast. He was in Taste I could see that he was one day going on to great showmanship. His manager at the time was his influence to go solo. The rest is great history. Even Jimi Hendrix was influenced by Rory.

Leave a Reply