Since I play guitar I should eliminate all the "other" string players of the world, like the sarod (Ali Akbar Khan), Oud (Udi Hrant) or Turkish Saz (Neset Ertas, Asik Veysel) or sitar, greek bouzouki... ect.
Composers of piano music, particularily 20th Century stuff, Debussy, Schoenberg, Ravel.
Horn players: Ornette Coleman, John Zorn, Don Cherry ~ their approaches to improve really helped me rethink the possibilities on rearranging tunes.
Also, John Cage, a much hated composer, but I find a lot of inspiration in following his methods and lightheartedness about music. I saw a lecture with him once and he said something I will never forget: "Some people take music much too seriously, others not serious enough, and some just right!"
Also, I love beautifully written melodies, and I think Schubert and Hugo Wolf have written some of the most memorable.
I like to think I sublimated all this so that hopefully it comes out unbeknowest to myself or others... or maybe not...
------------------ Stop by my web page and have a listen! Or join me at my blog for a chat, too.
Oh, sure. Most of my pantheon of heroes are writers who perform(ed) their own material on guitar, but not all. Here's a few oddities:
Bill Monroe--easily the best organized and most professional performer I ever met. Watching him and the Bluegrass Boys on stage is an object lesson in How It's Supposed To Be Done.
Frank Sinatra--not (my opinion) a natural-born singer, but rather somebody who worked very hard at using his voice as an instrument. And while I mostly don't like the kind of stuff he sang, I have picked up things listening to him do it that I've been able to apply to my own limited voice range.
Marcus Tullius Cicero (I took Latin in high school)--one of the best-organized *writers* I have ever read, and a master in the use of words as weapons. It may never have occurred to him that one could apply what he does to country music--but one can.
I'm sure there's more, but I guess those are the main ones.
old man witherspoon across the holler. he'd sit out on his "verandah", in his tel city cherry wood rocker, slap back a mason jar of squeeze and commence to blow on his comb and newspaper contraption... made tears come to your eyes... i took up the guitar shortly thereafter.
I would have to say, I was influenced and Mentored by a wonderful Piano player, and jazz singer out of St. Louis. Diana Starr. I personally play guitar and sing... but it all started by wanting to be Diana when I grew up. LOL
Issac Stern, the late great violinist, influenced me to play piano with better expression and purpose. I tuned the piano his accompanianist would play at a concert. Before his rehearsal, Mr. Stern asked me to play something. He followed me on one of my songs, and played it as if he knew it forever. I noticed how he was expressing feelings that the song must have given him, not just playing notes that fit. His love for music came through so much that one couldn't help to be inspired from him.
Also, my late dad, who played mandolin with the same passion as Issac Stern. He would become that mandolin and make it sing as if it was alive! So, from my dad to Stern, (violin and mandolin), I am better able to express my feelings on piano, as well as guitar and drums, thought not nearly as good as on piano, just for skill sakes.