May 2020 News Update
Friday, May 1, 2020
I truly hope you are all coping and keeping safe and well during this challenging time in our lives. I guess I'm very fortunate because in the main apart from doing concerts our life revolves around this house and my life as a composer and producer of my own solo guitar pieces here at home in my music room. Although the energy level has been pretty low on the planet I'm trying to keep motivated and creative. In-between times I try to build some sort of structure to my life and have a regular exercise regime of walking round our nice garden whilst catching up with friends on the phone. Being an "at risk" person having had my spleen removed in 2016 I'm on lockdown for at least 3 months and must remain at home. The garden has never looked so good, and Hilary has done an amazing job!
Hilary and I are very blessed to have friends and family do shopping for us and have recently managed to get registered for home delivery so that is a great relief to us. I also found a government food parcel on the doorstep which truly brought a tear to my eye. How blessed we are to live in a country that truly looks after folk in need. If we couldn't rely on family this is a great help and wasn't asked for but I guess because I'm on the vulnerable list it must have somehow filtered through to the powers that be!
This situation has given me the chance to catch up with musician friends and so far have had regular contact with John Etheridge, Ray Burley, Ian Moseley, Midge Ure, and a certain Mr Townshend. We are all in the same boat here and it is an incredible leveller.
Last month I did a brief appearance on our doorstep to applaud all our amazing front line workers. I played Down the River and Heartsong and to my astonishment it got over 18000 views on Facebook!
Our lovely pal Carrie Martin does a one hour live streaming concert every Saturday from her Hull home studio, where folk can donate whatever they can to this special out of work musician. If you are on Facebook do support her by going to Carrie Martin Music on her page and tune in, set up a watch party and share with as many folk as possible please. I plan to do a few more doorstep appearances and then an "official" online full concert when the time is right along with FaceTime one to one lessons at a special price for you guitar pickers put there!
Being the pragmatist that I am I think it will be sometime before a return to concert going happens, but that's not rocket science and this thing isn't going away any time soon until a vaccine is found, so I shall find other ways to use my musical gifts, the most positive one being the online single THE WORK OF ANGELS mentioned last month, which thanks to Mark Soden and Mirror Noir records has worked hard to place it on all the major digital media platforms. Also our friends Mark and Jane Day have done a lovely job of helping to raise awareness for the piece, more news of which is featured below in this newsletter. Bless you both.
THANKYOU to everyone who sent me birthday cards and a special THANKYOU to Pete and Linda Bonner, stepdaughter Ruth and friends and neighbours who have offered to help us during this time in our lives. The final THANKYOU goes to Sue Holton who still finds the time to work on the website outside of supporting her elderly Dad, family and grandchildren.
Be Safe and Be Well all.
The Work Of Angels Update from Mark and Jane Day
Fluid Fox are a small independent Tie-Dye and printed T-shirt business based in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Run by myself, Mark Day, and my wife Jane Day. Creating unique Tie-dyed designs on T-shirts and fabrics. Also producing printed t-shirts, both original and bespoke in design.
When we heard that Gordon had decided to record and release this beautiful piece of music with Paul Ward, we felt this project was so personal, special and heartfelt from Gordon. As friends, we were compelled to support him in any way we could so we produced The Work of Angels - Charity single T-Shirt.
These are exclusive, limited edition and individually hand printed T-shirts.
100% cotton, unisex white t-shirt with The Work of Angels artwork.
Produced to raise awareness and funds for the University Hospitals Birmingham Charity and a huge thank you to all at the NHS.
Available in sizes S, M, L, XL, XXL The cost is £18.00 which includes UK P&P. Payment will be via PayPal or bank transfer.
£10 from each sale goes directly to the charity.
International shipping would be calculated on an individual basis. Delivery within the UK will be 3 to 5 days. International times will differ depending location.
To purchase if you have a Facebook account please visit our page HERE.
Alternatively if you don't use Facebook please email: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send a secure paypal link.
The full original video for this charity project can be viewed at the Fluid Fox YouTube channel
Michael Gough Charity CD
Just released - Michael Gough’s first studio album, which is entitled ‘…in the Gallery’ and is a compilation of 14 original 'portraits' and 'landscapes' for acoustic guitar.
The CD is available from www.michaelgoughmusic.co.uk/music - £7.50 (+ £1.50 P&P).
All proceeds are being donated to Christian Aid’s COVID-19 response.
- Castletownsend Waltz
- Echoes of Bert
- The Durham Girl
- Clychau'r Ddewi (The Bells of Saint Davids)
- Brother John
- Sarah’s Wedding Waltz
- The Shaker Chair
- Pondering Heart - song for Mary
- The Journey
- Daphne: A Laurel in Winter
- There are Two Sides To Every Story
- Still Small Voice of Calm
- Woven with Love (for Penny)
- Castle Park Reflection
Each CD comes with a beautiful post card of the cover artwork by Emily Birch
You can also follow Michael on Facebook @MichaelGoughMusician
Just to remind folk that you can hear this lovely album from way back of my tunes arranged for classical guitar and played by one of the greats of the instrument on ITunes.
Please visit Raymond's website HERE
This month I'm featuring a couple of my instruments. The first one brand new and the other an old guitar from the 1960's and there is an interesting connection between the two. But let us look at this magnificent instrument made by my dear friend Roger Bucknall that arrived a few weeks back. (see photo below and at the top of this page) You can read all about Roger’s history in its making but here is my take on it...
For quite a few years now I have been using a cracking little travel guitar designed by Paul Brett and made under the VINTAGE banner from JHS. The Viator represents great value for money and has done a fantastic job and earned its keep well over the years. I used it on The Anna Fantasia on The Last Of England album and it's a sweet sounding instrument.
A year or so back my friend Chris Abrams purchased a Taylor Baby guitar with a built in pickup which he asked me if I would kindly set up for him. As many of you know I love maintaining my own instruments and enjoy “tweaking" them when the need arises and have worked on many of my pals guitars over the years. I'm not an expert or in the league of people like Michael Gough who specialise in that work and have precision tools to do the job. I get by on basic files and junior hacksaw blades!
We now go back in time when I was heavily involved with genius guitar maker Rob Armstrong and many will remember the Baby Guitar he made me which again was used on stage and in the studio for many years. As time went on it got a bit tired so I replaced it with the Viator which wasn't quite as small as the Baby but did a similar job being tuned to a higher pitch giving a somewhat harpsichord/ Lute sound which suited tracks like The Lord's Seat and Mrs Singers Waltz.
Anyway I digress. I tweaked Chris's guitar and it awaited his collection. After many weeks he visited along with our mutual pal Big Roy. He was well pleased with the work I did and we decided to take it up to my music room and plug it in to see what it sounded like through my fancy effects pedals. It sounded great! This then got me thinking that maybe I should get a Taylor Baby to replace the Viator. I looked at stuff on EBay and rang my local PMT store in Brum. It was then that it occurred to me that I should ask England's finest guitar maker to see if he would make one. And that's how the journey began!
I don't need to tell you that the new guitar sounds wonderful and I have started using it in earnest on some new compositions and for a wonderful new piece that Paul Ward has composed entitled Requiem, a fitting title for these troubled times.
Early 1960's Harald Petersen guitar
Carrying on from my feature on the new Fylde guitar and mention being made of another of my guitars and its connection to Fylde. Here is this lovely old Harald Petersen guitar made in the 60's and bought for me as a gift from my beloved Hilary.
Harald Petersen made guitars for the Spanish guitar centre in London that was founded and run at the time by Len Williams the father of the great classical guitarist John Williams. He made three models an A B and C model, the C being the top one made of rosewood. Mine is the B model made of maple. I used this guitar on a couple of tracks on A Midnight Clear, the Christmas Carol album and was photographed playing it on the cover.
As time went on I wasn't playing it and a friend took a shine to it and asked if it was for sale. Looking back now with more conscious awareness and a little more wisdom, the answer should have been NO, but it wasn't being played and I asked Hilary if it was OK to sell it! She must have said yes but how I could have parted with it in hindsight is beyond me, and I carried the guilt of it for years. Anyway as luck would have it I saw it for sale on EBay and I promptly rang my friend to ask if I could buy it back for the asking price which he agreed to (obviously) and it is now well and truly back where it belongs.
The guitar maker Steve Toon provided some valuable info on Harald Petersen saying that the man was based in the Lake District. When he passed away the son took over and later on sold some of his father's stock of choice timber to Roger who has lived and worked in the Lake District for years and is of course still there in his Penrith workshop.
This brings us to the guitar that he made for me. Brazilian Rosewood was used for the back and sides from that Harald Petersen stock. Small world eh! I have enclosed a close up pic of the label inside and also that album cover pic. Steve Toon has offered to restore the guitar once the world returns to a happier and settled time.
You will be pleased to hear that I have been recording with the Petersen again. Happy Days.
Here's another in my series about men whom I consider to be in their own way "great."
It is hard to define what I feel makes a great human being. That person in my book should have qualities of kindness, compassion, a generous nature, humility, modesty. The list goes on really although none of the people I personally know and have shone a small beacon of light on wouldn't see themselves in that way. A friend once said "if people knew they were great then they would cease to be great." Most of us have our inner daemons and fears to cope with and that applies to the many people I know that fall under that banner of "greatness" but I guess it's in the way they conduct themselves throughout their daily life with acts of kindness in spite of their own personal struggles that mark them out as special. Not perfect but special.
Today I share with you our dear pal Martin Green. Martin has been a Church of England minister for many years. I first got to know him through seeing him at my concerts and him coming to my home for lessons. Martin is a very gifted guitarist, writes the most beautiful heartfelt instrumentals and writes very moving song lyrics many of which were featured on a shared album project created with that lovely singer songwriter Carol Sampson quite a few years ago now. The album was called Echoes of Heaven and was released privately then latterly re packaged and retitled as Peace Will Fall on Angel Air records. The whole project was all pretty much Martin's creation in as much as he chose many of his personal favourite GG pieces and turned them into spiritually and Christian inspired songs. The album by its very nature has a somewhat limited appeal but that doesn't matter. This was very much Martin's dream child and I was very touched that he said "yes" to the idea when I put it to him, bearing in mind that it was turned down flat by a high profile "Gospel Artist" some time before!!
Anyway back to Martin the man. He has been the vicar of St Michael's church, Bishops Itchington, Warwickshire for many a year now, a venue it has been my pleasure to perform in many times! Along with the work he does there he is also responsible for two other churches in the area one of which was destroyed by fire and through Martin's hard work through fundraising was rebuilt to its former glory. Martin is constantly under tremendous pressure and one wonders how the poor man copes with it all and there must be times when the impact of it takes its toll. Fortunately he has the love and support of his wife Louise and close family.
To find a balance between the pressures of his working life he immerses himself in his music and is a skilled wood worker having built all in all three very nice guitars, the latest of which I have yet to see, and of course in the light of the current situation may be some time. When Hilary and I were invited to meet the Dean of St Pauls last year we asked Martin to join us and his presence on the day added a special dynamic to the whole thing.
If it's possible to meet someone who truly hasn't a bad bone in their body then that person is without doubt Martin Green. The man is a saint and we are proud to know him. Another person who was by our side on the day my son died!
Fylde Guitars Newsletter
The April 21st Edition is available HERE now