August 2017 News Update
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Well what a busy time since the last news page!
Vinyl Launch Of The Last Of England
I'm always using words like “special" or " delightful" to describe something, but there are no words to describe the feeling of joy and relief at the end of the vinyl Last of England launch concert at the beautiful Lichfield Guildhall on Tuesday July 18th with my friend Paul Ward.
It was a strange day because we had to get into the venue by midday because of an event starting at 2-pm and finishing at 5pm was going on in the main hall. Fortunately the venue provided screens for us to set up and do a basic sound check behind. All in all it went smoothly.
I can't begin to tell you the amount of soul searching preparation had gone into this concert even though we only performed five pieces together, four from the album and of course HEARTSONG. Like any self-promoted concert there is always the fear that numbers will be low. Not so in this case and the hall was completely sold out with upwards of 150 folk.
The show kicked off at 7-30 and I did my first solo set reserving the second half for Paul and I. He and I opened with the title track The Last of a England, Loren next, and then A Promise fulfilled, April Love, Spring, Ania's Dream, then The Dodo's Dream and finally HEARTSONG. I then closed the evening with Lucifer's Cage until being called back for one more with a solo rendition of Fast Approaching.
The evening was a who's who of friends with Paul White and Mark Soden on sound duties and Malc Welch doing his roadie bit. It was a joy to have Mike Stranks there as guest because without Mike I would never have met Paul Ward and the rest being history as they say.
Tuesday the 18th of July proved that my new musical partnership with Paul Ward definitely works in a live situation, and plans are afoot for more of the same all being well and health on an even keel.
Incidentally the concert allowed me a first outing of the wonderful Roger Williams electro acoustic classical guitar that worked a treat on that first number.
Not being a classical player and having worked with one of the best in his field Raymond Burley I have always shied away from playing a nylon strung guitar feeling as though I was somewhat of an imposter, but I just gritted my teeth and went for it. No one complained!
Here is a name check and THANKYOU to all the special friends and family that turned out to witness the event: Carrie Martin, Mike Stranks, Chico and Linda, Sue and Bob Fairclough along with Sue's brother, Gary Southwell, Jim Kimberly, Anne Sutcliffe, Fiona and Keith Meredith, Pete and Linda Bonner (Without whom) John Dyson, Simon and Jack Logan, Ruth Dyte , (Ruth and Simon are my stepchildren and Jack my step grandson) Mark Guyatt, Phil and Karen Werninck, Chris Bates, Wally and Joyce, Steve and Gaz from S and J Music, Malc and Karen, Gary Hudson and Lorraine. Bet I have forgotten somebody and if so forgive me.
The day and the evening will stay in my memory hopefully for many years to come.
Once again a huge THANKYOU to Pete and Linda Bonner of Psychotron records for releasing the album and promoting the concert in the wonderful and familiar surroundings of the wood panelled Guildhall. Final thanks as ever to my darling Hilary.
Guildhall, Lichfield - 18 / 07 / 2017
“You have managed to create something magnificent in ‘The Last of England’, said I to the modest and shy Paul Ward after the launch concert for the vinyl version of this outstanding album. He replied that performing live was easy after his warm up man (GG) had mellowed the audience.
July 18th, a ‘school night’, saw my Beloved and I making a mad after work dash to support Gordon and Paul. The famed Ladies of Lichfield came into view as we approached the city, and we arrived with time to spare.
The main paneled hall of the historic grade 2 listed Guildhall is magnificent – with high pitched timber beams that create a medieval style in contrast to the Gothic frontage to the building. The room was bedecked with heraldic flags demonstrating its importance as a municipal location.
Gordon’s family and friends were in abundance. Fiona and I had been thwarted a number of times recently missing concerts – so we made up for it this evening, reacquainting ourselves with fellow enthusiasts from Giltrapland. Of note were Malc and Kaz doing sterling service in the merchandize department; and it was a particular pleasure to see Mike Stranks – not twiddling the knobs on the sound desk this time – after a hiatus of about eighteen months.
Mike introduced us to the most charming Carrie Martin, who is touring extensively with Gordon at the moment, and it struck me how Tardis like she is – in that such a compendium of talent is contained within a compact package.
The Troubadour took to the stage solo for the opening set – the aforementioned warm up act – and presented a cornucopia of classic Giltrap. From the opening Shining Morn, through Issabella’s Wedding, Camber Sands, Five Dollar Guitar etc., Gordon appeared relaxed, fit and at the top of his game – his strength and vigor thankfully resuming.
An unassuming Paul Ward accompanied Gordon to the stage post interval – and we were indulged with pieces featured on the album, “The Last of England”. This most magnificent of musical works has been widely critically acclaimed – and rightly so. The keyboard skills of Mr. Ward raised the bar considerably, creating orchestral accompaniments that complimented Gordon’s wonderful acoustic guitar – and the room was filled with haunting and evocative melodies.
A traditional finish to a Giltrap concert - consisting of Heartsong and Lucifer’s Cage - was extended when a frenzied audience demanded more.
I sincerely hope that this collaboration between Gordon and Paul is as successful commercially as it is artistically, and that we are blessed with further co-productions from them in future. I am not sure, however, that the threatened compilation of reworked heavy metal classics entitled “Blood on the Shoulders” is quite the way to go.
On July 1st I was invited to play at Malvern's West Fest local festival. This was my second appearance and the weather was glorious! So many great acts on and such a great atmosphere all round. My thanks go to Paul White for inviting me and to Ray Mytton for joining me on Maddie Goes West. This has to have been the most well organised festival I have ever appeared at with two stages linking one act to the next with hardly a break in between.I would dearly love to do it again next year.
Skelmersdale E Rooms July 15th
I had been invited to play this sweet little venue months ago, and had arranged to do a guitar workshop the following morning. The small but appreciative audience were lovely, and unbeknown to me in the audience was a blast from the past in the form of Mark Brierly a respected singer songwriter and recording artist from the 60's whom I had seen perform down at Les Cousins in those early days. I remember him as having a nice John Bailey guitar and a good stage presence. He was there with his wife of over fifty years and it was great to see them. We have promised to keep in touch.
Also on the night we were hoping to see our old friend Liam Fenner, a lovely chap whom we met many years ago when he came to our home in Solihull to look at some guitars I was selling (nothing new there then). Sadly he had to work so we agreed to meet the following morning which we did, and then followed him to his home close by where we were right royally spoilt with delicious sandwiches and wraps. It was lovely to see him and to play his Gibson Gold Top guitar in his delightful garden in the afternoon sun.
July the 7th was the day I shared the evening with Carrie Martin in her home town of Hull at this delightful venue. We arrived early and parked in the car park below the venue, and as I was unpacking the car I heard someone call my name.
As I looked up who should I see walking down the stairs to greet me but none other than the famous DJ, author, writer of musical and sometime guitar player Mike Reid. It had been many a year since last we met, and he was in town on business, saw the poster and just had to say hello. Small old world eh? Oh and by the way the gig went well with Carrie and I performing one of her favourite songs Holly Blue. (pic by Neil Holmes)
Impromptu gig at the Cancer Centre Queen Elizabeth Hospital
This little impromptu performance was my small way of giving something back. This was a tough one for me but something I felt I had to do because I could!
Carrie Martin and Roger Bucknall
I'm so thrilled to share this with you when our dear friend Carrie Martin collected her magnificent Fylde Leonardo from one of THE great guitar makers in the world, our pal Roger Bucknall. Carrie now joins the ranks of other great players who love these magnificent guitars. For her it is a dream come true, never believing that one day she would be the proud owner of a Fylde guitar. She will treasure it for ever, and she SO deserves it, bless her. Roger has such a cheeky look on his face and both her and husband Darren were privileged to have been given a guided tour and to meet the lovely Moira, Roger's other half. What a great memory for Hull's finest singer songwriter.
Carrie writes: " Can't believe it to be honest, was like a Cinderella moment, G waving that magic wand and making beautiful things happen! Lucky is an understatement, I've only ever dreamed of owning something like that, I cried when I got in the car! Still in a state of shock. Even though I've known I was getting it for months I couldn't think about cos I was afraid it wouldn't happen and when I did think about it I got butterflies !
When I got it back to my hotel I kept checking to see it was still there, don't know where I imagined it might go!"
On Saturday the 22nd of July I was invited to perform a short set at Britain's oldest record shop The Diskery in Birmingham. The store is stocking copies of my vinyl Last of England album so the least I could do was to say "THANKYOU" to them and Pete Bonner for arranging it. It was fun!
Guitar of the Month
I'm not sure if I featured this guitar before, I don't think so. It is a lovely 1966 Levin acoustic, just like the model Pete Townsend owned prior to The Who being formed. It has a lovely sound and being of maple construction has what a friend described as a "lyrical" tone. I acquired this guitar last year in one of my swap deals; the thing is I'm going to be gifting it to a special friend later this year when he gets back from an extensive tour of the world with his group The Who.
I'm delighted that he has agreed to accept this gift bearing in mind he has more guitars that he needs, well, he would wouldn't he! His original one got stolen years ago so hopefully this will be a worthy replacement. His was a 62 model I believe and this is a 66. I hope it brings a smile to the great man’s face!
Feeling very honoured to be in the latest edition of Guitarist magazine, and also in their Acoustic Mastery supplement, especially in the same issue as the great Tommy Emmanuel.
Within the supplement you will find the music and tab for 'The Lords Seat' which I hope you will enjoy learning.
Just to remind you all that my Sharing Day on August 26th is Fast Approaching (excuse the pun) so do reserve your place as soon as possible for this second of my favourite teaching events. Information and contact details can be found HERE, and our lovely Sue is awaiting your enquiries.