I’d made a passing comment earlier about how cool of a guy Johnny Hiland is and if we’re willing to drag you, our relentless, unstoppable, fearless legion of death-readers, through articles about Vinnie Vincent and beer guitars then surely an article about Johnny Hiland should by default be higher than our minimal requirement for standards.
Hiland’s not exactly a man of mystery. If you’ve heard of him before then the chances are this article isn’t going to tell you anything new, but if you haven’t then consider this article a metaphorical fist to the face of reality.
First and foremost Johnny Hiland is a super human guitarist. He’s most famously known for playing country, bluegrass, blues stuff, but he has willingly strayed from those genres into jazz and metal. So pick a style and he can play it, and not just well, but stupidly, exceptionally well. I mean… just watch this video.
Raise your hand if you wish you could play one genre that well. Of course the (as many of you know) Shymalan twist here is that ol’ Johnny Hiland was born with nystagmus and is legally blind (as opposed to illegally blind), so he doesn’t use his eyes for much. Though he’s so in tuned with the guitar that it really seems like it doesn’t matter. Maybe I’ll start playing blind folded and see how it works out.
Having been playing since he was at the wee age of 2 years old Hiland’s been turning heads and raising eyebrows every which way ever since. In addition to the guitar he also plays mandolin, fiddle, and the banjo. On the side he’s the chief editor of The Sound Guitar Magazine, and on the side of that he uses his super human powers to give motivational speeches to kids and even wrote and illustrated a children’s book.
It’s amazing to me that one person can harness this much talent. His ear is so good and his lighthearted personality shines through his playing so well it’s unreal. Someone needs to stop handing out awards to kids that can’t sing in key and give this guy the album of the year because Johnny Hiland is truly deserving of the attention.