In a guitar town like Nashville — home to some of the world’s greatest studio and touring six-string hotshots as well as the Gibson Company — it’s tough to stand out. But Jack Pearson’s got a mile-high reputation. Pearson’s command of the Three T’s — taste, tone, and technique — and humble character has made him a quiet giant of the Music City guitar scene.

Pearson — whose resume includes playing lead guitar with Dickey Betts in the Allman Brothers from 1997 to 1999 as well as studio and stage work with Vince Gill, Jimmy Buffett, Lee Roy Parnell, Faith Hill, Delbert McClinton, and many, many more — just filmed a series of videos [link here] for that essay his approach, including a rare venture into whammy bar territory on a Les Paul Axcess Standard. He also plays his own Gibson Custom Shop ES-336 for the cameras.

In some ways Pearson is the most mysterious and iconoclastic of the line of guitarists to join the Allmans. He was the first to bring non-Gibson guitars onto their stage, although today a chambered Les Paul and a Les Paul Junior that he uses for playing open-tuned slide join his ES-336 for performances. He also played in the band during one of its least documented periods, when no new studio or formal live recordings were made.

“They talked about going into the studio and making a record, but it never happened,” Pearson recalls. “We did a pay per view from Boston in 1998. There are a lot of audience tapes out there that people trade back and forth.”

Those audience recordings reveal some of the freshest playing the Allman Brothers Band enjoyed since its formative period when Dickey and Duane Allman were inventing the group’s signature harmonized guitar attack. Pearson’s flair for chordal solos, jazz influenced lines, and pure blues expressionism gave the group unexpected turns every night.

“Greg Allman asked me to join in 1997,” the Nashville native recounts. “I had subbed for Dickey in 1993. I then played in Greg's solo band from 1994 to 1997. I also knew Warren Haynes, and he suggested me to sub for Dickey in 1993.”

Once in the fold, the Allmans’ felt like home to Pearson. “I knew a lot of the music from the original band, because I had learned the songs off of records in the 1970s,” he says. “Duane and Dickey are influences, but I tried to play in a way that fit in and complimented the music while still being myself.”

A bonus of Pearson’s time with the Allman Brothers was playing with the many guests who typically sit in with the group, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Those included guitar great Jorma Kaukonen, bluesman John Hammond, the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, and Marshall Tucker Band drummer Paul Riddle.

Pearson left the band in 1999, prior to the return of Warren Haynes, because of tinnitus. “I was having a lot of ringing and pain in my ears and Dickey refused to turn down or even try a different stage setup so I quit,” he says. “It was a hard decision to make, but I did the right thing.”

Today Pearson’s busy schedule includes a country blues duo with singer and multi-instrumentalist William Howse, gigging with Nashville harmonica legend and former Wet Willie frontman Jimmy Hall, and a duo with bluegrass violin hero Stuart Duncan, who tours with Allison Krauss and Robert Plant.

Last year he released Do What’s Right, a solo album featuring his quartet. “It’s a line up of my Jack Pearson Band that I was gigging with for the last few years,” he explains. “It was kinda like a blues-rock jam band. This year I've been doing more solo acoustic sets or mixing the acoustic with electric — sometimes with the band.

“I’m freelancing, too, doing sessions and gigs. I’ve been writing a lot of songs with different folks. And I’ve been working on my playing trying to keep my hands in shape. There’s always something new to learn.”

Jack Pearson talks about Gibson's 1959 Les Paul Standard.

Jack Pearson talks about playing with the Allman Brothers.

Converstations with Jack Pearson on

Jack Pearson talks about Gibson's ES-335.

Jack Pearson talks about Gibson's Les Paul Axcess Standard.