General News

Oct 2023 News Update

my new Roberts Guitar

New Guitar

Yes yet another new guitar. I like to think there are always good and valid reasons for buying a new instrument the main one being that it’s put to good use as a creative tool.

The reason for buying this sweet little Roberts arch top is because (A) it wasn’t expensive and (B) I want to use it on 'The Dodo’s Dream'. I have always to a degree and more so recently struggled to play the Dodo on a thin electric guitar as I feel it places my hands in a different playing position being so used to the depth of an acoustic against my body. I’m hoping that once I have fine-tuned this guitar it will help me get over that body size barrier.

Apparently, it’s hand made by a guy called Bob Roberts in Bristol but that’s all the info I can get. I found a number but no one is answering. It has a few issues but once I have ironed them out I think all will be well and the good old Dodo will once again find its rightful place in my repertoire.

Artifex Gallery 30th anniversary

On the 9th of last month I spent a sunny afternoon at Artifex Gallery at The Mitchell’s Centre in Sutton Coldfield to celebrate the Artifex Gallery’s 30th anniversary of the Arts and Crafts Centre. It was the gallery that launched the 'Scattered Chapters' event July last year.

My friend Nigel Bates who has been a partner in the Gallery since it’s opening came up with a theme for the celebration by asking various local songwriters to create something inspired by a selection of paintings and sculpture. Mine was a beautiful painting originally titled 'Brecon Cottage' but the artist Alan very kindly changed the name to suit the piece I had composed entitled 'Out of the Silent Sky'. The idea was for each artist to perform their creation on the day in-front of a live audience.

I was last to perform and I did 'Heartsong' and the aforementioned piece. The lovely Susy Wall was on before me and performed a beautiful song inspired by a painting. All the other artists were great and for me Susy was the jewel in the crown but I guess I’m just biased being a huge admirer of her songs and divine spine-tingling voice.

The weather was unbearably hot on the day and we had to finish a bit earlier that afternoon. My dear friends Gary and Lorraine turned up at the allotted time of my performance only to be disappointed that they had missed me due to the change of plan so I invited them back to my place for a repeat performance so all was well and balance restored in the universe!

Gary was so impressed with the painting that inspired my piece he actually bought it and it now graces a wall in his home. A lovely end to a lovely day. Thanks to Gabriella Jones for organising the whole event and for being such a charming host.

Hope you like the fun pic of Susy, Nigel and I on that very hot day.


Many of you will know that over the past few years I have contributed to some very fine songs that my friend Nigel Bates has written. The last one was called ‘The Best Song in the World’ and the latest is called ‘Starling’ and features the divine voice of Susy Wall.

Here are the details for all those who like great songwriting and sublime vocals. Distrokid links or direct:

Giltrap and Hat Apple Music

Giltrap and Hat Spotify

Giltrap and Hat YouTube

Fylde Guitars Newsletter
If you are an admirer of world class hand made guitars and other instruments I would recommend you read the latest Fylde Newsletter written by my dear friend Roger Bucknall. Keep scrolling down and you will find a video of myself playing 'Loren'

Recording with Julia Fordham

The 4th of September found me in the pretty village of Fulbeck in Lincolnshire at the recording studios of Spencer Cozens a brilliant keyboard player sound engineer and record producer and long-time member of the legendary John Martyn’s band.

I was there to record a co-written song with one of the world’s finest singer songwriters the wonderful Julia Fordham. The song was called ‘Chair on the Porch’. Julia was inspired to write the song after hearing the end section of ‘One for Billie’ from my ‘Scattered Chapters’ album. It’s a chiming 12 string section which appealed to the great lady and the basis of the song was born.

Julia had recorded the germ of an idea on her phone and it sort of grew organically from there. I recorded a rough MP3 of an arrangement and sent it through the day before the session and I’m so glad I did because it kick started the whole piece.

The main part of the piece was recorded on my trusty FYLDE guitar and a whole middle section literally came together in the studio and looking back I don’t know how we did it but did it we did and it was for me a truly magical experience to be in the studio with this towering talent that Julia is.

Anyway we finished the session and Spencer said well as you have brought the 12 string let’s see how it might fit in parts of the piece. The 12 string was an early Vintage huge bodied all maple guitar that again didn’t cost me a lot in fact was purchased from Facebook marketplace for £350 but it sounds glorious and its American Guild equivalent would be a few thousand.

Anyway, I digress. So, there I was 12 string in hand facing the microphones and started playing. Within a few minutes Julia came rushing in raving about the sound and requested that I play the 12 on the entire piece which isn’t easy because it’s a very intricate part for the 6 string let alone a 12.

Julia had to get away and Spencer and I promised her that we would complete even if it took all night. I finally left there at 9 pm! All being well the song once mixed will take its rightful place on her new album due for release the middle of next year.

For all those interested in Julia’s history just Google her and so much stuff will come up. She had three or four major hits in the late 80’s and early 90’s for me a personal favourite is ‘Love moves in mysterious ways’ and just moves me to tears each time I hear it! Julia originates from Hayling Island but has lived for many years in California. I first met her on the Woman to Woman tour a few years ago where she shared the stage with Beverly Craven and Judy Tzuke. It was an amazing tour.

Julia is a truly lovely unpretentious person and a delight to be with and a truly class act one of the greats. I would travel across the world to work with her again.

Michael Gough New Album

My friend Michael Gough guitarist and guitar maker extraordinaire has just released his new album ‘a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path’ see details. Michael is a fine guitarist and writes many lovely pieces for acoustic guitar.

Michael is a friend who has helped at my Sharing Days over the years. This is his third album. Earlier work includes ' the Gallery' and 'The Wynding'

His latest collection features his interpretations of two of my ancient tunes 'Empty' and 'The Lords Seat' the latter being quite a favourite amongst guitar players that like my music, and 'Christmas Carol', creating a spiritually-driven compilation spanning nearly ten years! I also note more than a nod to 'Lucifer's Cage' as a somewhat prog ending to his atmospheric piece 'The Sound of Iona.

I’m always very touched and a tad flattered when other people value my tunes and want to play them and Michael does such a wonderful job of replicating them.

Michael is a man of God and this collection reflects his deep faith in the divine. He’s also a wicked electric guitar player! You might like to check out Michael's custom-built electric guitars too: Yes - I have one!

This [beautifully] understated album is available to stream or download - links below or from

Michael writes:

OK guys - here it is - my new musical offering entitled: '... a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path'

It's available to listen to and/or download on Spotify, Amazon Music, iTunes, Apple Music, YouTube, Deezer, and about 20 other digital music platforms thanks to distrokid.
Many thanks must go my dear Gordon Giltrap MBE for his influence, encouragement, and friendship.
The first few links are as follows. In playing this music you are not only encouraging me but also supporting Christian Aid. Many thanks.