General News

October 2013 News Update

Gordon Giltrap & Oliver Wakeman
October / November 2013 Ravens and Lullabies Tour Dates


3rd...   Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells
4th…  Sun Dial Theatre, Cirencester
5th...   Summers End Festival, Lydney ( The ONLY gig with FULL ELECTRIC BAND )
9th…  West End Centre, Aldershot
11th... Regal Theatre, Tenbury Wells
12th… Palace Theatre, Redditch
15th… Village Hall, Walberton
17th… Brook Theatre, Chatham
20th… Greystones, Sheffield
25th… Capitol Theatre, Horsham
30th… The Musician, Leicester
31st… Terry O Toole Theatre, Lincoln


7th...    Komedia, Bath - Guests of John Lees' Barclay James Harvest
8th...   Islington Assembly Hall, London  - Guests of John Lees' Barclay James Harvest
9th...   Stables,  Milton Keynes - Guests of John Lees' Barclay James Harvest
10th...  The Robin 2   Bilston  - Guests of John Lees' Barclay James Harvest
12th... Forest Arts Centre, New Milton
16th... Picturedrome, Holmfirth -  Guests of John Lees' Barclay James Harvest
21st... Junction, Cambridge  - Guests of John Lees' Barclay James Harvest
22nd... The Brook, Southampton  - Guests of John Lees' Barclay James Harvest
23rd... Tavistock Wharf, Tavistock -  Guests of John Lees' Barclay James Harvest

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Oct News 2013

Greetings and welcome to another fun filled News Page!

Rehearsals For Summers End Festival

I've been up to my eyes in preparation for the big gig at Summers End Festival. This is a hell of a lot of work for just a one off gig, but my reasons for doing it are manifold.

The main one being that I want to do my best by Oliver who feels it would be a "fun" thing to do. I know in my heart that I would regret it if I didn't "give it a go" for Oliver's sake as well as mine.

Ol has worked so hard in helping to create this album of ours, and I would hate to think that I hadn't played my part in helping to promote it in the true light it deserved!

It has been over 30 years since I worked with a full band, and in all honesty I find the prospect pretty frightening, but everyone tells me including Wakeman the younger that it's going to be fine! Who am I to argue!

I have to confess to serious concerns over this upcoming concert and whether I could actually cut it in a band situation again. As I write this we are a week away from this concert, and I can't begin to tell you about the hours I have been putting in to try and make this the best show it can be within the time constraints and my own deep worries about the whole thing.

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I am delighted to report that even though we had only TWO days to rehearse some very complex material, it came together really well. This is because the musicians that have been chosen are some the best around.

Many who have bought the Ravens and  Lullabies album will know of drummer Johanne James who by anyone's standards is totally brilliant, and Steve Anderson the bass player is also amazing. Both men are in the band Threshold so they already have a great pedigree.

Oliver then recruited electric guitarist Nick Kendall who is currently working in the West End in the musical Rock of Ages, to cover my electric parts, and the man has replicated faithfully my electric lines from the album. Paul Manzi has got to be one of the best rock vocalists around and a great guy.

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It's a lovely feeling to hear another player reproducing my lines from the album, and what an amazing job he has done within the given time. This has freed me up to cover ALL of the acoustic parts.

I shall be continuing with preparations here at home, in between getting the Wakeman / Giltrap material under the fingers for our upcoming duo tour.

This is going to be a VERY busy time for Hilary and I and I just hope we can keep those energy levels up!

Onwards and upwards.

I hope to report that it went swimmingly well in next months News.

A Day With Nik Kershaw

On the 9th of September myself and Dave Quarmby from GPP travelled east to visit Nik Kershaw at his lovely home in Essex to interview him for our Guitar Practiced Perfectly website and YouTube channel.

Nik was a great host, and during the interview he reminded me of when and where we first met, which was at  Hever Castle in Kent whilst he was filming his first ever video for that first major single, 'I won't let the sun go down on me' which really kick started his remarkable career as a million selling songwriter. I was there with my then girlfriend and our pet sheep.....Don't ask!

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Nik in my opinion is one of the best songwriters that the eighties produced and an outstanding guitarist and creative talent. The results of that days filming will eventually find its way on to YouTube.

It was a great day made that much more memorable by the fact of yours truly purchased one of Nik's old guitars, featured in this page as Guitar of the Month.

Don’t forget, if you haven’t already done so, it’s well worth registering for the GPP weekly email keeping you up to date with events, video interviews etc.

Speaking of YouTube, the results of my filming at the Marshall Theatre which I wrote about last month is now there for all to see. Just put in my name and Marshall amps and it will definitely find it. Knowing how brilliant Sue Holton is she will probably put in the proper link here...bless her!

(Note from Sue: Actually Gordon I’d already added it to your YouTube Channel HERE)

Acoustic Magazine

The first of my new columns for Acoustic Magazine have hit the streets with the October issue featuring Eric Clapton on the cover. There will be four of my columns in all demonstrating the virtues of the wonderful partial capo.

I have chosen 'Shining Morn' as the first study as it's fairly accessible to anyone familiar with my music and for anyone venturing into the area of partial capos.

The following pieces will be in the magazine every other month. In no particular order...
Em's Tune.
By Angle Tarn.
Wherever There Was Beauty.
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Signature pick

Hope you all like the look of my signature pick, made in the USA by Clayton Picks, which is currently my plectrum of choice. The gauge is 63 mm and has the tone I like, is flexible but still rigid enough to give a good rich sound. The portrait is by Jan Leytham Gain and is taken from the "As it Happens" cd which many of you no doubt have in your collection!

These will soon be offered for sale on line and at concerts at
£1-50 each or 4 for £5. plus p&p if bought on line.

Gigs of note

Bampton 7th September

With special guest Raymond Burley who joined me in a set of Double Vision pieces for virtually the whole second half of the show. A great night all round and Ray played superbly. He thought he was only going to join me for a couple of tunes, but 45 minutes later.........Thanks Ray.

Heron Theatre Cumbria 13th September

Another special night with sell-out crowd. My thanks to Andrew Davies for making this happen and to he and wife Teresa for their superb hospitality. Here’s to next year and to hopefully playing for two consecutive nights! Read Andrew's review below:

Well, what a treat this gig was. Having been involved with the theatre since August 2012 as a technical volunteer and having seen its potential as a perfect Giltrap venue I managed in November last year to get a booking arranged and the details were finalised in January. I am delighted to report that the theatre's potential was fully realised last night, and more so.

The theatre seats 81 and the show was sold out well before the event date. As this was the first formal outing for the theatre's new electrics and overhauled lighting and sound I was keen to hear what the overall effect was like. Everyone, Gordon especially, felt the acoustics in the auditorium really suited his setup.

The auditorium is quite intimate and in the front row you can put your feet on the stage if you have long legs. The audience was very enthusiastic and welcoming as Gordon came on stage.

Gordon played many old (and new) favourites, so many I'm not going to list them all but they included Appalachian Dreaming, Shining Morn, Here Comes the Sun, Ives Horizon, The Lord's Seat, Down the River, Maddie Goes West, Kaz, On Camber Sands, Anji (or was it Doris?) and, of course, The Dodo's Dream, which, unlike the ill-fated dodo, continues to evolve and is still as jaw-droppingly wonderful as the first time I heard it at The Fleece in Bretforton some 9 or 10 years ago. The songs were interspersed with Gordon's unique and inimitable repartee. The evening was rounded off with an incredibly energetic rendition of Heartsong, the full length album version which doesn't get aired that often. The call for an encore was loud and Gordon didn't even get off the stage before turning round and coming back! The encore was an even more energetic rendition of Lucifer's Cage which wore me out just watching it. It all finished with a standing ovation, a fitting ending to a superb evening.

For some of the theatre members this was their first taste of GG but I know that they were blown away by what they saw and heard.

For me every concert I have been to has been equally memorable, but having the personal input into making this happen made it extra-special. Thanks G - that was a magical evening.

Three more dates worth mentioning for September were the Rondo in Bath on the 19th, and the Green Valley Festival on the 20th which was memorable for the fact that I thought I was playing in the local village hall but ended up playing in a barn exposed to the elements to 60 or so enthusiastic campers for one long 90 minute set, which was challenging to say the least.

On the poster for the festival, it gave a rather glowing quote from Eric Clapton which said "SIMPLY THE BEST". In all honesty I had never seen that quote from the great man about me before, and asked Mike the promoter where he got it from? He replied "oh I just made it up"!

Great to see my friend and fine guitarist Ben Bartlett the afternoon of the Bath show, where we shared guitars and music with my pal Eddie Giddings.

The final date in the trio on the 21st was at Bargoed.

This was the second date that John and Cath our hosts had promoted in the town virtually within 12 months of my last appearance at their local church hall. My thanks to them for working hard to make this a memorable evening. Read John's report below and see a photo gallery HERE
St Gwladys’ Hall, Bargoed, 21st September – a perpetrator’s perspective.

When Gordon came to Bargoed for the first time in July of last year I, as the organiser, made the ‘mistake’ of thinking that people would be interested to meet, and chat with, the man himself before the concert.  I say ‘mistake’ because, for those few of us who turned up for the “Meet the Artist” session in the afternoon, it was a very enjoyable and interesting insight into the man behind the music.  But, as I say, we were very few.  On the other hand, the concert itself was very well attended. It made sense, in my mind at least, to organise only the concert this year.

So the arrangements were made and, apart from an administrative screw-up made by myself, (though I suspect that Royal Mail may have had a hand in it) very swiftly and sympathetically dealt with by Sue Webster, everything fell into place.  We arranged, and advertised, the concert for 7:30 on the evening of 21st September.

Because we are an amateur outfit, it fell to me to assemble our (pack-away) stage and build the lighting and PA rigs.  Once that was done, I then had to put out the chairs in the Hall.  I thought I had allowed myself plenty of time, given that we were expecting Gordon and Hilary at 4:00 or thereabouts and I had started work at 1:30.  All I can say is that, if one has not done a particular job for several months (last time was back in April) always assume that it will take longer – you won’t be far wrong.  So it was that, when Gordon arrived at just after 4:00, I was still putting chairs out, trying to puzzle out the fan oven in the kitchen, struggling to clear away the toys from the Play Group that uses our Hall during the week and generally doing a convincing impression of the Blue-tailed fly.

Happily, my wife rolled into the middle of this chaos (she uses a mobility scooter, hence “rolled”) and restored a measure of sanity.

I will say again what I said last year: Gordon is an incredibly easy man to work with.  One tends to expect something of a prima donna tendency from seriously talented people – I find nothing of that sort with Gordon, who is straightforward, down-to-earth and unfailingly polite.  All of which is a huge relief to an amateur like myself. We unloaded the six guitars he had with him (his ‘boot sale’ guitar, Vintage Traveller, 1970’s Fylde 12-string, Fret King signature electric and two Vintage 6-string signature acoustics) and his effects board and started to set everything out.  Gordon was keen to show off his latest toy – a “Verbzilla” effect pedal.  For those of you who have yet to hear this thing, I can heartily endorse Gordon’s enthusiastic comment that this is the best effect he has ever bought – I want one!

Bless him, Gordon was very polite when he noticed that there were seven guitar cases on the stage and I confessed that I had brought one of my instruments with me to try out on the rig if I got it all finished before he arrived.  I had not had chance to clear it away.  “Is that one of your Fylde guitars?” he asked.  I admitted that it was the 12-string instrument.  Gordon asked if I was happy for him to have a go?  Was I happy?  What a silly question!  As a result, I have a couple of photographs of Gordon playing one of my guitars and his, not altogether unexpected, endorsement that Roger Bucknall had excelled himself with the instrument which, incidentally, is to be seen in the Gallery on Roger’s website.

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Gordon expressed himself happy with the sound coming from the main speakers, and we turned our attention to the monitors.  Here my amateur status was shown up when I could not get any sensible output from the one monitor.  It helps to have both monitors switched to “Pre-fade”, I find.

Sound checking out of the way, we had time to sit and chat over a bite to eat, Gordon reminiscing over some of his more memorable gigs (not all for the ‘right’ reasons!) whilst I, once again, ran around like an idiot trying to get things organised.

At 6:30 we opened the doors and almost immediately had our first two paying customers.  Unfortunately, the numbers had not increased very greatly by 7:10.  We had an audience of 30 at 7:20, when word came through about the way that our press release had appeared in the local paper’s “What’s On” column.  Thinking to rule out ambiguity, I had advised the press that doors open at 18:30, concert begins at 19:30.  It seems that the local press had knocked off the leading ‘1’ in each case and published that the doors open at 8:30, concert begins at 9:30.  In this part of the world, something that starts after 7:30 is considered “late” …

30 people to hear Gordon Giltrap play in a public recital?  It’s enough to make you weep.

If Gordon was disappointed with the size of the audience, he certainly didn’t show it.  Have a look at the program:

The Program

Appalachian Dreaming
Here comes the sun (by George Harrison)
Mrs Singer’s Waltz
Maddie Goes West
Isabella’s Wedding
Five-dollar guitar
Angie (by Davey Graham)
Shining Morn
The Dodo’s Dream


A Dublin Day
On Camber Sands
Nursery Chimes
Under This Blue Sky
The Racer
A Christmas Carol
Fiona’s Smile
[I’m sorry, I missed the title of this one]
Anyone Can Fly
Ives Horizon
The Lord’s Seat
Wherever There Was Beauty

With just two exceptions, everything seemed flawless to the listeners.  Of the two exceptions, one was my fault.  Gordon used the Vintage Traveller guitar to play “Here Comes the Sun”.  Almost as soon as he started to play, there came a nasty feedback boom through the monitors.  Gordon was forced to stop playing whilst I fought with the control desk to notch out the boom – we got there in the end.  I admire and honour his patience with amateurs!

The other exception was one which might have floored a lesser performer – what do you do when you can’t remember how it goes?  I think we had three attempts at the start of “Fiona’s Smile” before there came the delighted remark, “That’s it!”  and we were away, Gordon never apparently losing his poise.

One other particular memory comes to mind – Gordon’s almost palpable relief when his Loop Station worked without a problem during The Dodo’s Dream. When he played for us back in July of last year, he ended up with 5 beats in the one bar when the device failed to respond when he hit the pedal.

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Consummate performer that he is, he managed to recover the piece – I would have given it up as a bad job had it been me at the front – but it was obviously a nasty experience. During the sound checks this year, he and I had been chatting about The Dodo’s Dream and he admitted that he finds the piece nerve-wracking, because he is at the mercy of the technology.  When the Loop  Station worked correctly this time around, his grin was very visible!

So, it is all over for another year.  Again, thank you Gordon for your patience with this total amateur, thank you for a magnificent evening’s music and thank you simply for being a thoroughly decent person.

John Fenton
St Gwladys’ Hall

And, lest anybody ask, the name is not a joke – Gwladys was a local saint in the 6th Century.

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My concert in Alsager was a FANTASTIC evening all round. We had a sell-out concert and I received a standing ovation at the end of the evening from what Hilary described as a virtuoso audience.

Although our journey was a nightmare due to road works on the M6 and we all arrived later than expected it all came together well.

Alsager was the concert where that wonderful wild life artist David Finney  launched the limited edition prints and postcards of the recent portrait.

This really is the first time David has ventured into the world of portraiture, and I think he has produced a unique take on the genre with this image of me taken from the photograph that Malc Welch took a few years back and was featured on the home page for quite a few months.

To see more of David's outstanding work of which we have three in our home go to

The sound was superb because the mighty Mike Stranks (who was also delayed because of traffic) was on the mixing desk, what more could one ask?

A big THANKYOU to David and his lady Janet for doing an OUTSTANDING job of promoting this extraordinary evening. In fact it was Janet who did all the promotional work. Also THANKYOU to the vicar Robin for the loan of his beautiful church with stunning stained glass windows that Hilary fell in love with.

Guitar of the month

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This month’s guitar is this beautiful Avalon acoustic that once belonged to the legendary Nik Kershaw. Nik bought two of these guitars from the company a few years ago before they went bust and then fortunately re-opened their doors for business with a new line of instruments. This model is no longer made so will I'm sure become collectable.

This guitar came up in conversation during my visit to the great man’s home to interview him for Guitar Practiced Perfectly. Nik mentioned that he was selling off a few unwanted guitars, and me being me I asked what he was parting with. This guitar was produced, a price was mentioned and now the rest is history.

This guitar sounds like nothing I have here at home, and has a truly outstanding voice, a bit like its previous owner. I love it and shall treasure and hopefully enjoy it for many years to come. It once having been owned by a man I consider to be a bit of a genius amongst songwriters, is for me a bit of a magic bonus.

My thanks go to Nik for letting me have it at a very special price!

To create balance in the universe I sold an Armstrong guitar to a friend of mine who had coveted it for quite a while for the same price that I paid for the Avalon. At the end of the day everyone was happy, but none so more than me!

Guitars For Sale

Here is another subtle reminder to visit and view some really nice guitars for sale which can be tried and tested at my pal Stu Field's shop at The Guitar Cavern in Worcester.

See you all next month for another bumper fun filled news page in the life of the old legend!