Tuesday, January 1, 2019
Gordon awarded the MBE
To all my dear friends here and abroad.
I feel very honoured to be the recipient of an MBE in 2019.
The response has been very heartfelt and touching. All sincere thanks must go to our dear friend Carrie Martin for working tirelessly (and of course unbeknown to me) to help make this happen.
Nothing can alter the heartbreak us as a family has had to endure this year, but this honour has helped to heal the wounds and enable us to move forward in a positive way for the coming year.
Love and thanks to you all and a happy New Year.
Sue Martin Portrait
If you have visited the home page of the site recently you will have noticed a portrait of yours truly done by the incredibly gifted Sue Martin. I’m sure you will all agree that that her painting skills are breath-taking. She has created works of art for a few of my albums in the past, the most notable being Troubadour, and I'm sure this latest work will find a home on some hoped for recording project in the future. The image has been taken from one of photographer Rob Jewell's photographs, the one that was used for the rear of my Perilous Journey biography, and Sue has somehow captured something deeper than the photograph could. She has almost looked into my soul methinks. THANKYOU Sue for honouring me with this beautiful piece of work.
Guitarist’s Development Group
Just to remind you pickers and aspiring composers out there of the Guitarist Development Group that myself and Will McNichol are hosting in March 22/33/24 at Woodside Hotel Warwick.
Details are on the website HERE and we are looking forward to seeing you all.
Since our last newsletter there have been a few notable events.
One standout one was the Heartsongs CD launch at PMT in Birmingham on November 29th where I played to a packed room of faithful followers. The sound was just fantastic, and it was great to have special friends in the audience like Carrie Martin, Chris and Annie Abrams, Pete and Linda Bonner, Gary Hudson and Adam Parish.
On stage at PMT - That old car boot guitar still does the biz!!
My thanks go to Gary Chapman for organising the event and to all the staff who stayed late to help out.
On the night £600 was raised from CD sales, and Alistair Macintosh from the QE Hospital Charity was on hand to handle the sales. Needless to say we were all very pleased with how it all turned out.
Here's a nice pic with my young and gifted keyboard player Adam Parrish. Adam may be joining me on stage at some point in 2019.
Book launches, Derby and Maltby
On the 6th and 8th of December we had the final two book launch concerts with my friend and author Steve Pilkington. The first was in Derby at the Deda theatre and the final one was in Maltby at the Wesley Centre courtesy of The Classic Rock Society. This one was extra special because my old friend and in his own way legendary keyboard player Eddie Spence was my special guest of honour along with his wife Jan. What a joy to have him there and for him to be a part of the Q and A session at the end of the evening.
It was lovely to have our pal Carrie Martin join me on stage to perform that beautiful song Holly Blue from her latest album Seductive Sky. Mention should be made of our good friends Mick and Michele Doyle who attended the Derby gig. We have known these two special people for over 30 years now, and I'm godfather to their daughter Triona. Also thanks to my pal Dave Ford for promoting the Deda concert.
This rather dramatic image was taken at the Derby concert. I'm playing the Paul Brett Viator guitar.
My final gig of the year was at my favourite venue, Bramall Hall in Stockport. I just love playing in this beautiful Jacobean mansion and I have lost count as to how many times I have played there. A lovely way to end a year that started out in sadness.
Another new guitar!
You must all think that I get a new guitar every week! This lovely guitar was built by my friend Michael Gough of MG Guitars.
I acquired one of his guitars a few weeks back, but the neck profile didn't suit me, so he kindly exchanged it for this lovely Cabronita model which suits my playing down to the ground. In fact I used it for my final gig of the year at Bramall Hall and it sounded sweet.
Do check him out on the net, just type in MG guitars and that should find him. Look at that lovely flame maple neck and the quilted figuring on the front. Just gorgeous.
Somebody sent this through recently and I just had to send it to Roger Bucknall to make him smile. No idea when or where it was taken. I'm playing my original GG signature Fylde. I like this shirt. I bet I still have it.
The Constant Friend
Here is the artwork for The Constant Friend Cd I mentioned last month. I'm very pleased with it. It should hopefully be ready for the guitar launch at the NAMM show in January. A great calling card for the guitar methinks!
Perilous Journey - biography
One of the first reviews to come through for the biography. I'm so pleased for Steve Pilkington as he worked so hard to document my life story thus far.
A lovely email
I received this lovely letter via the website recently and just wanted to share it with you.
Hope you don’t mind me sending you this mail. I wrote to you about two years ago. I was one of your guitar pupils at Secondary school in 83 – 84.
I had a terrible upbringing by bad foster parents and have no good memories of the 80’s and my education at School. Apart from music. I believe your son would want you to carry on teaching, and this is why.
My guitar lessons with you were the highlight of my week. You taught me how to play, how to work it out by myself, without telling me the answer, but also how to listen, how to hear music and understand it.
You only ever taught me one song, Substitute by The Who. I only realised why that song about 2 years later. What it taught me was, for example a B minor on the 7th fret contains 3 notes from a D major if you can mute/play the right strings. This was a eureka moment for me, I already knew what note any given fret on any given string would be, so in one moment of realisation, using the standard A C D E shapes and barring them, a whole world of chords became available and I could find them in seconds. I could make 7ths, minors, minor 7ths, 5ths etc.
You taught me nothing verbatim, but passages and bits of songs that would make me ask the right questions about how it was composed and its structure. It also taught me how to teach apprentices later in life in my engineering career. It is all about making you ask the right questions and find out for yourself and not just learning facts parrot fashion.
My musical tastes are so varied because of it, Metal / Punk / Classical / Trance / Rock / Pop / Hip Hop etc etc etc or anything that has value..
I also believe that musical talent (Of which I have very little of, if any) does not need to be complicated, millions of notes/chords, only adds value depending where it comes from.
Your music is rather complex, but yours comes from somewhere else and works due to its complexity and not despite it. So I can appreciate what music means, complex or not.
I had an industrial accident in 96 that lost me part of my left hand middle finger. I got the end mangled in a grinding machine. I lost half of the end but lengthways. I can still finger chords as normal but with less accuracy and speed. I carried on despite the impediment and still try to play at least once a day, and do so.
I live in Switzerland now. I met a Swiss girl in London in 1999 and moved here in 2001. So many more opportunities here for my work than in the UK. Though I don’t think we realise the talent we have in the UK for music. Music here is terrible. How many UK teenagers ask their 50 year old boss (Me!!) what to listen to!!!
So I just direct them to what I am listening to at that time (yourself included). Not all UK, but music with value IMHO.
Music is an art form, of many different forms, and should always be respected.
You gave that to me, the capacity to think about what music is, and its importance. And just about able to bash out a tune on an Ovation!!!
And it is with me every single day!!!
I felt quite emotional when reading it on many levels. For a start the School was where Jamie attended when we lived in Kent. Secondly it made me realise how none of us ever truly know how we touched each other's lives for good or bad. In this instance it was obviously for good. Sadly I have no memory of the young boy that I taught just one day a week at that school. Even way back then and even in the early seventies I had a desire to teach and pass on any knowledge that I had gained in my life up to that point.
I know in my heart that Jamie is loving this kind of response out of the blue, and I know that he would have wanted me to continue passing on knowledge and experience in this crazy world of show biz.
I have replied to this lovely man and look forward to hearing from him.
With good wishes to you all from Hilary and I for health and happiness in 2019