Feb 2024 News Update
Thursday, February 1, 2024
Well, January has come and gone and so far I have performed two shows with the final one being the gig in Bath on Jan 25th. Because I have to write my news page in advance for Sue Holton to prepare the page, I shall do a retrospective report on the Bath gig next month.
This month's newsletter will also feature a report from the Wrecking Ball gig in Hull with Carrie Martin in December.
Every time the news page comes round, I often wonder if I have enough material of interest for all you kind folk who read it, but glancing at the diary I realize that there is always something going on which I personally think is worth sharing with you and will give some sort of insight into my world of music, friends, and emotions.
My final concert of 2023 was in Hull with Carrie Martin at The Wrecking Ball. The venue is owned by Gary Marks and is a fine location. The ground floor featured a huge area consisting of a vinyl record story, library, and coffee shop where you can browse books and relax in the lovely comfy settees with a cup of coffee and delicious carrot cake. Upstairs is a well-appointed and intimate venue that seats about 120.You may remember that this was the venue for Carrie's Evergreen album launch where I was special guest.
The only drawback on the night was the cold and it took both Carrie and I time to actually feel warm enough to play but when we did it was a great night and Carrie played a blinder and near perfect opening performance.
I played one long single 90-minute set and I personally enjoyed resurrecting my old chestnut 'Rainbow Kites' and getting it back into the set and actually ENJOYING it.
I was lovely to see friends Mark and Jane Day in attendance. I also used my new Heritage guitar for the dreaded and scary 'The Dodo's Dream'. It’s a great sounding guitar but being mainly a jazz guitar I'm still not certain it's right for the piece but I'm spoilt for choice with my choice of guitars and never lose sight of that fact.
I have so many electric guitars at the moment.... I’m wondering what that tells you about me. I think it's telling me I'm a frustrated electric player but never quite cracked it even though I have been dabbling with those electric beasts for much of my career!!
I love all guitars, but my main strength is of course my acoustic playing and something that comes natural to me whereas the electric I have to think about. Weird isn't it!!! I can't do it all and have to be content with what gifts nature has given me, I'm very blessed!
My first concert of this year was on January 14th at Acapela in Cardiff again with special guest Carrie Martin. I have always enjoyed playing this venue and it's quite a prestige gig in many ways as they only book quality artists like Steve Harley, Martin Taylor etc.
One of the joys of what I do is travelling the country and making new friends along the way and seeing old ones as well. Two of those special friends are Andy and Jenny Smy. It had been well over a year since I had seen them and it was a joy to see them both looking so well.
Both Carrie and I were pleased with our performances, and she joined me in the second half for our favourite song 'Time after Time'.
My second concert was at The Hub in Lichfield just up the road to my home about a 15min drive. Once again, a great crowd and a new venue to me having usually played at the Guildhall. All my local pals turned up to wish me well. The first half was very shaky emotionally! It had been a challenging day moving all of my late and beloved wife's clothes out of our home with the help of my two stepdaughters Ruth and Rachael. It’s just another small step along the rocky road of grief.
A huge thankyou to Mark Guyatt for helping me to pack my gear away at the end of the show. Mark will be with me on some of my shows this year in the guise of a roadie. Mark is an architect by profession and is a fine guitarist in his own right and a good friend.
As I said earlier, I shall report back next month regarding the Chapel Arts gig in Bath.
December’s news page was dedicated to the memory of my dear friend Christine White. Her husband Paul is a great guy and very creative. He is the editor of Sound on Sound magazine and is the recipient of a Gold Badge award for his contribution to music especially recording and techy stuff like that, he's also a fine blues guitarist extracting amazing tones from many of his homebuilt Strat style guitars.
So far, I have spent two days with him working on some of my pieces. I have even given him the challenge of rebuilding my classic The Dodo's Dream. Anyway, it’s good for him and indeed both of us as it keeps the mind busy whilst recovering from the loss of a beautiful partner.
Watch this space!!
Fifty Years of Fylde Guitars - The Movie
Many of you will remember an item a few months ago about my visit to Roger Bucknall's workshop to do some filming for his 50th anniversary as a guitar maker.
It features some of the finest guitar players on the planet all of whom play a Fylde Guitar.
Well, here is the finished thing for your viewing pleasure, and I'm so proud to be a part of this and to number Rog as one of my dearest friends. He also has an MBE!
Since Hilary has passed, I have been buying more guitars than I really need. The reasons for buying them in the main are valid...purchasing Vintage GG models that I don't have. The other reasons is for trying to find the right guitar for 'The Dodo'...mentioned last month.
Some of my guitars are surplus to requirements and some aren't. Anyway, I have added some pics below of the guitars I have bought over the past year. Some will be familiar to you and will be keepers but the Vintage Slotted head all solid Rosewood and spruce construction will definitely go. If anyone is interested in this or one of the other guitars apart from the Mick Jones archtop drop Sue a line via the Contact Us form and I shall furnish you with details.
Left: Flamenco Guitar bought from a charity shop Right: This beautiful Heritage jazz guitar could be for sale.
Left: Ibanez.A lovely guitar, could be tempted to part with it but it does look and sound glorious.
Right: Swapped for the Ibanez.
Left: The John Verity blue Strat could be for sale Right: The one on the left is for sale.
Left: This is on loan and not mine
As a footnote to this guitar geek part. I have recently commissioned my old friend and skilled woodworker Richard Jones to build me a Telecaster body out of exotic woods and I can't wait to share with you the end result at some point within these pages.
Yes, I know I don't need another guitar, but it is fun and doesn't cost the earth!