Every great musician has a seminal moment in their life where, upon hearing the perfect notes being plucked at the perfect time and in the perfect succession, they are awakened to the limitless possibilities of the legendary six stringed beast we call the electric guitar and are called upon to go forth and conquer it for themselves.

For Trey Anastasio, it was the powerful, simple urgency of Neil Young’s single note solo in “Down by the River.”

For Eric Clapton, it was Duane Allman’s soulful, commanding licks in Wilson Pickett’s “Hey Jude” cover.

 

Budding superstar musicians in the millennial generation can mark April 4th, 2016 as the day it received it’s very own seminal moment. Nick Jonas, already well known for tracks like “Crazy Kinda Crush on You” and “Bacon,” lit up the American Country Music Awards with a blistering 17 second stream of fire that cut through Kelsea Ballerini’s hit single “Peter Pan” like a flaming sword through a wall of warm butter.   The 17 seconds heard round the world was equal parts familiar and yet exploratory–pushing the limits of basic music theory beyond virtually anything we’ve ever heard on a stage in front of millions.  Notes were smashed together by sheer force of will in such a way that redefines modern improvisation, and from which the ears of a cowardly musician might recoil. But those  who were courageous enough to power through to the end were rewarded with a time and place they can forever look back upon–they have found their moment.

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Transcription credit by Mark Allen

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