L.A.-based guitarist Ry Cooder learned from the best, getting lessons from legendary bluesman Rev. Gary Davis at an early age. In the mid 1960s, he formed pioneering blues-rock band the Rising Sons with Taj Mahal. When that dissolved, he became an in-demand session player for everyone from Captain Beefheart to Randy Newman. He worked with the Rolling Stones in the late '60s, and nearly became Brian Jones's replacement. Over the years he released numerous quirky solo albums venturing into folk, blues, country, and even Hawaiian music. In the late '90s he instigated the Buena Vista Social Club project, getting veteran Cuban musicians together and presenting their sound to the world via shockingly successful albums, concerts, and a documentary.