April 2020 News Update
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
What troubled times we are all going through right now, and it's hard not to get depressed by the whole situation. I shall be still continuing with the news page such as it will be without a great deal to report, but there always something musical going on in our home to share with you.
The main news reports are my last two concerts, one in Selby at the Town Hall and the other at the Wokingham music club. Both gigs were very memorable in their own special way, and of course little did we know that these concerts would be the last for some time.
Clap For Our Carers
I went live Thursday 26th March night at 8 o'clock sitting in my front door hallway with a tiny amp outside and played Down The River and Heartsong as my own way of saying THANKYOU to everyone who is putting themselves in the front line to serve us all here at home. You all know who you are and we THANKYOU from the bottom of our hearts (song).
Well, what can I say about the amazing and heartfelt response to my live stream. Thank you to Dave Ellison for providing the night light and also for filming it. Also a big hug to my lovely Hilary for filming the live stream on the IPad. I couldn't have done it without her, I love her so much.
You can watch the video HERE
THANKYOU all SO much for the many lovely comments. Sorry about the camera person at the end, at least it gave everyone a chuckle. Even though I was preparing all day for the evening performance I still screwed up a few parts so I shall blame the cold night air for that. I shall be doing more live streaming in the days to come from the comfort of my conservatory. Anyway the whole point was to say a heartfelt THANKYOU to all those wonderful people on the front line during this terrible period in earth’s history.
I also want to tell you about something VERY special that is happening on April 2nd. More than that I can't say but "watch this space" as they say.
Love and thanks to you all, please keep well and safe.
GG and Hilary. xx
Selby Town Hall
The Selby gig was memorable on many levels because two very special people contributed to making it a bit special. Our dear pal Carrie Martin was my special guest who did a stunning opening set for me. Carrie was taken to the gig by husband Darren and when they arrived she realised she had left her stage clothes at home, so Darren bless him drove all the way back to Hull to collect the aforementioned frock with matching Doc Martin Boots. Carrie joined me in my solo set to perform the lovely Holly Blue from her last album Seductive Sky. Carrie just goes from strength to strength with her guitar playing and song writing and her new album due for release when the troubles pass is going to be a bit special. She already has Oliver Wakeman on one track and a host of special guests on the others, and some old guitar legend from Sutton Coldfield!
I was fortunate to have my friend the young and gifted keyboard player Adam Parrish to share the second half with me. Adam has done a handful of gigs with me of late and each one has been a cracker. I love working with Adam because it allows me so much more space within the music and to re visit old favourites like Sallie's Song. His contribution to The Lord's Seat has taken the piece to a different level and in my opinion higher plane.
Also on the night my friend and agent Lee Noble came to the gig. In all of the past four years he has represented me he had never seen me live! In an email he sent the following day he said he was totally blown away by the concert and wants to start booking me in to a few more "prestige venues” like The Sage in Gateshead and the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool. Sadly methinks the Sage concert already booked for November may be put on hold because of the virus. Please God for all our sakes it has blown over by then. Both Selby and Wokingham had sold out well in advance which I must admit gave me a warm feeling.
Wokingham Music Club
This was my second appearance at the club the first being almost two years ago. Stan who runs the club (see photographs) is a great character and lovely chap opened the evening with witty remarks about the bar being closed during performances and anyone caught talking when whilst I was playing would be thrown out in shame.
Little did I know that this would be my last concert for some time having the remaining dates in the diary put on hold and rescheduled. I'm thrilled to say it was a great and memorable evening. The audience were ten out of ten and all my guitars sounded glorious through Spencer the sound man’s PA system. I had decided for these smaller dates to use my Vintage guitars and my Danelectro for the Dodo's Dream. On the night I used my Vintage deluxe model, my JG mahogany model, the Viator (featured this month) and the Dano. I love using my Fyldes but each one carries a four and a half grand price tag. With the less expensive instruments I can if need be leave them in the car, and if for some horrible reason they were damaged or stolen they can be replaced. I wouldn't want to, but factory built instruments in the main have a consistently of sound and can be replaced whereas a handmade Fylde cannot. I think in the main most audiences are happy with whatever they are offered providing the musical content is up to scratch.
We travelled down the day before and stayed with friends Jen and Will Rumsey. A big thanks for their friendship and hospitality.
So there you have it a special gig to go out on and a lovely memory for some time to come.
The Who Tour Cancelled
I was so looking forward to seeing Pete Townshend and the band at their Birmingham concert on April 1st but as you all know if you follow the band they have cancelled all their shows until further notice. I spoke with Pete recently and he told me that they were hoping to continue the dates later on this year but sadly all the major venues have been booked in advance so it looks like 2021 will be the time when they take to the road again.
Martin Carthy tribute
Here is another in my posts about men I have met over the years whom I consider to be great men. Today it is the legendary Martin Carthy MBE. I have met Martin on a number of occasions and have had the pleasure of his company and ready warm smile. What makes Mr Carthy in my humble opinion great?
His well-earned legendary status as a fine guitarist and singer and someone who has in his own way had a profound influence on traditional music is set in stone. His work with Dave Swarbrick will be remembered for many years to come. It is well documented that he had a strong influence on Bob Dylan and of course on Paul Simon with Martin's sublime arrangement of Scarborough Fair. Many will remember his work with Steeleye Span and John Kirkpatrick. His achievements are many.
Martin is one of the nicest kindest people one could ever wish to meet. There is no hint of arrogance with the man in spite of his massive contribution. There are many guitarists out there who consider the man to walk on water. My friend Roger Bucknall is one of his greatest admirers.
Many years ago I met Martin on a train and it was my privilege to show him a guitar made by Roger which in turn led to Martin owning a Fylde guitar and also allowing Roger to restore his beloved and aged triple O Martin, which was in its own way a leap of faith on Martin's part to entrust this legendary instrument to a relative stranger. Martin told me recently that he somehow knew that Roger was the only person he felt could do the job.
Fast forward to the present day when I made a guest appearance at Steve Phillips club at the Grosvenor Hotel in Fylingthorpe just round the corner from Martin's home. I was just about to start playing when the door opened and in he walked. I asked him what he was doing there and his reply was that he heard I had recently been unwell and popped in to see how I was! He sat just a few feet away from me for the entire set. Believe me this was quite nerve wracking to have the great man sat in front of you watching your every move. So "no pressure there" I hear you cry. He told me the following day over a cup of tea that he thought it was "bloody good," Praise indeed.
We then move on to the start of 2018 shortly after my son Jamie passed away, and there on my answerphone was a beautiful heartfelt message from the great man offering his deepest sympathy at our loss. One can hear the concern in his voice. I was very touched by this.
So there you have it, Martin Carthy MBE. I'm proud to know him.
Paul White tribute
Another in my GREAT MEN postings. This time it's my old friend Paul White editor in chief for SOUND ON SOUND magazine. It has been our pleasure to know Paul, Christine and Emma White for over thirty years. Paul has been a major part of my recording life for so many projects, too numerous to mention. Apart from being one of the most respected experts in the business when it comes to recorded sound and a BASCA award winning individual, he is one of the kindest and most generous people one could wish to meet. In many ways the man is a genius although you wouldn't know it with his modest nature.
All of the above would be enough to make him a bit special but what makes him even more special is the time he gives free of charge outside of his role as editor for one of the most popular audio mags on the market. Each year he devotes his time to West Fest, a local music festival that it has been my pleasure and privilege to perform at. He recently recorded the choir project I'm currently involved in, all free of charge!
As a husband and father he is astonishing in his devotion to his lovely wife Christine an MS sufferer and he is always there to give love and support to daughter Emma. His energy and inventive mind is astonishing. The number of times I have visited their Malvern home to find he has just bought something from a local supermarket and used it for a completely different purpose one wouldn't have even considered, is amazing.
In between looking after Chris he hand builds the most amazing range of electric guitars, in fact I own one of his custom Strats, a lovely instrument worthy of more than my talents! He is also a superb cook and many are the wonderful "snacks" that he just throws together in between our recording sessions. He regularly gigs with the talented Ray Mytton as a duo. Paul is a pretty mean guitarist in the Dave Gilmour/ Jeff Beck School of playing. All this along with the work he puts in with his musical partner Mark Soden on their Cydonia Collective just begs the question...how does he do it all?
Many are the artists that have graced his studio home over the years. Bert Jansch, Steve Winwood and Nigel Kennedy are just three of the names that spring to mind. There are probably many more that could be mentioned that I don't know about.
I'm proud to know him.
Camila Oliveira interview
What a joy it was to meet and spend time with Camila Veilchen Oliveira recently. Camila is from Brazil and is studying here in the UK for her thesis on William Blake. It was so lovely to meet someone who shares in a mutual passion for the great man.
It gave me an opportunity to resurrect memories of those far of days when I was creating and recording the Visionary album 44 years ago. Hard to believe that it is almost 44 years since its release. It’s still very special to me and I know it was special to many who were moved by it way back then. My thanks go to Rod Edwards, Roger Hand and the late John Miller who had a much larger far reaching vision of the music than I did at the time.
Paul Brett Viator travel guitar
Today I want to share with all you guitarist a photograph of my early Paul Brett Viator travel guitar. I say it's an early model because when I acquired this it had no pickup so those nice people at JHS service department fitted a Fishman under saddle pickup.
I have used it constantly over the past at least five years on stage and on album. I have performed many of my pieces live on stage with it including Here Comes The Sun, Mrs Singer's Waltz, The Lord's Seat, Loren. On album it features on my Last of England album on the three movement The Anna Fantasia.
Obviously the Viator is made in the Far East and one can't compare it to say a Fylde or Rob Armstrong high end equivalent, but it has given me good service since I have owned it. For those on a limited budget this instrument can't be beat. If you players out there want to raise your spirits and take your mind off these troubled times for a while get your hands on one of these. It is fun to play and VERY versatile.One only has to look on EBay to see how ridiculously low priced this amazing instrument can be purchased for. I promise you this is far more worthy of just being called a travel guitar. This is a serious instrument, and Paul Brett should get an award just for designing and bringing this guitar to the market place.
Of course an instrument is what you make it. With a bit of attention to the setup, this instrument is a joy to play. My friend Carrie Martin has a later model in black and it is without doubt one of the best I have heard. Don't ask me why. It just is. Her model has a much "thicker" tone to it than mine, but mine has a certain delicacy and refinement to its sound as can be heard on the above mentioned album and also on Carrie's forthcoming stunning album due for release when these troubled times finally pass.
Guitar of the Month
The guitar of the month is this lovely FYLDE custom Leonardo. Unfortunately you have to put up with me in the pic! Roger made this guitar for me about four years ago. The body is of mahogany which I personally like because it has great power and projection and records superbly. In the main I have used it for recording but recently decided to take it on the road as a companion to the beautiful maple FYLDE GG model. Carrie Martin has one almost identical to this one except mine has a different fingerboard design where it meets the body.