Feb / March 2018 News Update
Thursday, March 1, 2018
One of the most significant pieces of news for this year is that that remarkable woman Sue Sollis is on this year’s honours list in recognition for her fundraising over many years for the Leukaemia charity in her late daughter Tracy's name. It has been my privilege for over twenty years now to be a patron of this worthwhile cause. As I have always said my part in any fundraising has been so easy for me in as much as I just do what I love doing, and that's playing the guitar, but for Sue it has been years of hard graft and sacrifice to raise funds for those victims of this dreadful disease.
I know Sue well enough to know that this award probably doesn't hold a great deal of joy for her being the kind of special person that she is, and she will just use the award as a focus for more fundraising for the charity. This recognition has been many years overdue and everyone who knows her couldn't think of anyone more deserving. We hope her special day will bring a nice memory midst all the sadness connected with the tragedy of the past.
Peace will Fall, is the title of a re-release from a few years back. The album's original title was Echoes of Heaven, but my record company Angel Air wanted it re packaged and marketed as a GG album, but in actual fact credit must go to my dear friends Martin Green and Carol Sampson for creating the album with their joint contributions to lyrics and narration by Martin and stunning vocals from Carol who also wrote some of the lyrics. The main difference with this new release is that a vocal version of 'Heartsong' never really worked first time round and has been replaced by 'The Lord’s Seat' with narration from Martin.
Thus far it has been well received bearing in mind the nature of the album which is without a doubt a Christian album full of spiritual content. I personally love it, and particularly like 'Night' with Martin's spoken words over the music.
I shall let this recent review give you an idea of how it is being received.
This year has already got underway with three concerts thus far, two with my special guest and good friend Carrie Martin. The first one on January 6th was at the Broadway Theatre Peterborough and beautiful Art Deco cinema/ theatre in the upstairs lounge of the building.
What made the evening special for me was to have members of my family in the audience which is always nice, and being a travelling musician makes it possible to keep in touch when playing vaguely in their area.
I have to confess that what is making things a bit of a challenge at the moment is the fact that overnight I had lost a bit of my hearing in my left ear, which I sincerely hope is temporary. I thought it was wax and went privately to get it looked at only to find out that it wasn't and received a bill for £110 for the privilege.....hey ho.
What a delight it was to be back at Huntingdon Hall in Worcester on the 13th Jan, once again with Carrie as my special guest. I’m delighted to say that the turnout was pretty healthy with special friends Carol Sampson and husband Gareth in the audience along with my long term friend and sound engineer Paul White and my other special friend Ray Mytton in the audience as well as our pal Nicky.
Photographer Ron Milsom turned up and took a few snaps shown here.
Carrie joined me in the second half to perform that lovely song 'Holy Blue' from her new album Seductive Sky. Carrie did a blinding first set as per usual.
What a joy it was to play Sharrington Village Hall, on Saturday January 20th, in the company of our hosts Chris and Annie Abrams. It had been quite a while since I had played a village hall, in fact well before I became ill in 2015!
At that time I had made the decision not to do any more village hall rural touring scheme gigs because of the amount of work it entailed in supplying the sound system each night and the sheer clag of setting up a PA. Doing the whole thing myself was becoming far too much. But this village hall gig was completely different in as much as Chris had a fine sound man and sound system hired for the occasion. And what a superb sound it was thanks to sound man Martin Shearing and his state of the art HK sound system. This, combined with a superb audience, made it a night to remember.
My thanks go to Chris and Annie and the Village Hall team for working so hard to make this evening such a success. A friend of Chris's called Dave Green, a fine classical guitar player, opened the evening and I followed on promptly at about 8 o'clock playing for about 45 minutes followed by a short interval. Then I returned to the stage for an additional hour.
What made it even more special was the fact that the whole thing was being filmed by a very experienced cameraman, Peter Lindsley, who in a previous life had worked with George Martin at Abbey Road Studios and had recorded The Beatles in their very early days. I was indeed in the presence of greatness that night. It was also lovely to see old friends Peter and Heather Lethbridge in the audience. Heather is one of my guitar students from the first guitar weekend in Buxton in 2015.
I was told afterwards that there were award winning photographers in the audience that night. If they took pics on the evening which managed to make me look reasonable, as opposed to a gargoyle, I would like to see them but fully understand that miracles rarely happen these days!!
I'm hoping to return to this beautiful Norfolk village maybe next summer for a repeat performance. I personally can't wait.
Chris has kindly written a wonderful review of the event from his perspective which you can read in full HERE but below is a snippet:
“He doesn’t just perform his music, he lives it. He is an essential part of it!”
What a night! For me, and maybe Gordon too, a dream fulfilled. I ask how many in the audience would come back if I can persuade him to return. A huge cheer fills the Hall! He's caught them all! I’ve always believed no one can play the guitar like Gordon. He maintains there are a few out there who, in his own words, 'Get it', but, having heard some of them play, despite their obvious talent, to me there is always something missing: the man himself. Only Gordon can play Gordon's music. Though slight in stature he is bursting with talent, enthusiasm and passion. What else can you say? There is no one else in the world quite like Gordon Giltrap.
Uttoxeter Guitar Weekend
My guitar weekend in Uttoxeter went superbly well with my special guest Ray Burley. Ray gave a very informative chat about his life as a journeyman classical guitarist and all the fascinating people he had met along the way.
For me the most significant and special moment was when we played some duets together for the assembled students and our informal concert in the evening for family and friends of the students.
It had been over two and a half years since we had seen Ray and Sian and we virtually picked up where we left off and it was almost like yesterday and as if the darkness of the past couple of years hadn't happened!
My thanks go to all who attended including Andy Nunn, whom I met almost 30 years ago when he visited our home in Solihull with old friend Garry Burnett, it was also a joy to see Andy Bridgen again and his lovely wife Becky and new students James Leaver and Gary Hudson along with their respective partners. Gary's partner Lorraine made a brave effort of attending the concert after a recent back procedure so well done to her for that and we wish her well soon.
My thanks to Jim, Sandra, Graham and Becky at the guesthouse for their superb hospitality. A special thanks to Sue Holton for coordinating the whole thing.
15th Jan - Surgeons: At the Edge of Life
Less than an hour ago on 15th Jan I watched the most amazing and wonderful documentary on surgeons at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
You may be able to watch on iplayer HERE
This very hospital on May 6th 2016 was where I had my first lot of surgery. As I was watching, a face appeared on the screen and it was my wonderful surgeon Mr Samuel Ford.
As I watched another familiar face appeared and it was my consultant surgeon the great Professor David Gourevitch.
For me it was a very emotional experience to see the two most important people in my life at the time on screen, without whose incredible and mind blowing skill I would not be here to tell you about this and share this very special posting with you.
To me these people are just towering giants of humanity who truly touch people’s lives pretty much every week of their working lives. I feel privileged to have known them, and I hope I meet them again under more healthy circumstances one day.
Tomorrow (16th Jan) Hilary and I are visiting the QE again for a much looked forward to meeting with their fund raising team in the hope that I can in my own small way give something back to this remarkable hospital with some of the finest people it has been my pleasure to meet along the path of this challenging journey that Hilary and I have been on.
(QE photo copyright details:
Elliott Brown, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham from Selly Oak Triangle, CC BY 2.0 )
So many people talk about heroes in the music business, guitar heroes for example. What a nonsense this term really is in the light of people that truly touch other people’s lives in an immeasurable way. That is why I have no time whatsoever for arrogance from people who have been given a gift of nature to make music, and like me have been fortunate to actually make a living out of it.
I truly have no words of gratitude for the people that have these lifesaving and life changing skills that touch numerous people’s lives in a deep and profound way. I am truly humbled by these people, and am so pleased I turned on the TV to witness what I saw this evening. A little known fact is that Mr Samuel Ford told me that during my surgery they played my music. I thought my God, that’s hell of a lot of music to fill up five and a half hours! Needless to say I was deeply touched by this.
I hope our dear friend Doctor (retired) Anne Sutcliffe was watching this evening because she herself has worked alongside many of these surgeons in one of the finest hospitals in the world.From the bottom of my heart I thank you all. xx
Instrument of the month, Appalachian Dulcimer
This is such a special instrument for SO many reasons. It was made as a wedding present for my first wife Maureen and my wedding day in 1970. It was made by the great guitar maker the late John Bailey who was of course a guest at the wedding. It was John who made my beloved 6 string in 1968 and the iconic twin neck familiar to so many people that know my music and past albums, particularly VISIONARY. I used to gig with this instrument around 1973 and used it to record the piece ‘Spellbrook Meadow’ on my 73 album Giltrap.
In the early 80's I gave it as a gift to the mother of my then girlfriend Lesley. Through various personal connections this lovely object has found its way back to me, and I'm pleased to be sharing this with you now for this February newsletter.