Label: Hitchhike Records
He may have built his reputation on effects pedals and monster riffs, but this Hawaiian wunderkind (and ukulele master) opts for delicious acoustic treatment on his award-winning 2006 release. Shimabukuro opens with George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (a nod to the internet video that inspired the album) and goes on to work magic with some battle-scarred warhorses. But Shimabukuro proves his prowess when he makes, of all things, "The Star Spangled Banner" sound fresh and beautiful. We knew this guy was a genius.