I don't know about you, but when I hear the term "guitar god," I immediately think of swaggering rock stars in skin-tight pants with gaggles of groupies waiting in the wings. Mick Jagger's swinging hips -- and Steven Tyler's eyeliner and scarf-draped mic stand -- are the blueprint. It's an image portrayed in movies, too. Billy Crudup's acid-tripping character in Almost Famous invited deification when he announced, "I am a golden god!" and Tom Cruise did a send-up of the ultimate over-the-top frontman in Rock of Ages (at least I hope that was meant to be a send-up).
In Christian music, there's not a lot of Lycra, guyliner is all but verboten, and artists might say they aspire to be godly, but never godlike. Granted, there is a little bit of strutting that creeps in, but gospel music has always been an uncomfortable dance between drawing attention (bands have CDs to sell, after all) and using that platform to point people heavenward, which keeps the swagger to a minimum. While each of the artists listed below would surely shrug off the title "acoustic-guitar god," the albums they deliver are nothing short of masterpieces.
They may be more understated than their mainstream rock counterparts, but they're just as good at what they do, and they deserve just as much attention for doing it. They don't just deliver the lyrics, they usually write them, too, so they're also musical multi-taskers. Listen up and you'll find 15 guys who may not be deities, but their music definitely inspires some hero worship.