August 2010 News Update
Sunday, August 1, 2010
The 5th and 6th of July were set aside to film a promotional DVD for my new Vintage VE 2000GG signature guitar. This was my idea and I thought it would be a good thing! By the time you read this it should be well under way for completion. This DVD will make a great promotional tool for JHS.
My friend Harold Houldershaw is the man behind the camera's lens and it was he who created the Symphony Hall DVD as well as the Double Vision DVD. Harold is a great guy and a joy to work with. The location for the filming was a community Centre in Stickford, Lincolnshire. This tied in perfectly with a family visit to the county to celebrate Hilary's birthday!
The whole point of the DVD is to give a complete background story as to how the guitar came about, my association with Rob Armstrong, and the initial meeting where Dennis Drumm the MD for JHS approached me with the idea of creating this instrument.
On the DVD we look in detail at the instrument and I then go on to play several pieces to let the viewer hear how it sounds.
The whole package opens with Heartsong, and then after the aforementioned chat I play Shining Morn, Em's Tune, Five Dollar Guitar, Dublin Day, Rachel's Reflection's and On Camber Sands, but not necessarily in that order!
I decided it would be rather nice to feature another JHS Vintage series guitar and one I'm currently using. The Trev Wilkinson designed Vintage Advance AV3 for The Dodo's Dream. The whole thing is completed by a different take of Heartsong. We may even include an hilarious out-take of Five Dollar Guitar where the whole thing just falls apart.
My good friend Paul White will be editing and mastering the audio to make sure we are getting it sounding as good as it can be whilst remaining true to the original recorded sound and performance. I can't pretend that the performances are perfect BUT they do have a certain spirit and are what they are... straight through takes of each piece.
It has been great fun so far doing this project, although I do wonder at times why I put myself under such pressure, but I guess that's just the way I am................... Fingers crossed it all turns out well.
I'm not certain but I think the company may have plans to give a DVD away with each guitar sold. Don't quote me on this though!
Fire at Rob Armstrong's workshop
Sunday the 11th of July will go down as one of the saddest days for the world of guitar making, as that was the day that a fire at Rob Armstrong's workshop totally destroyed his work place.
What went up in flames are years and years of remarkable guitar making history. Lost forever are this man's beloved working tools, his jigs, his templates, in fact pretty much everything he had built up over the past forty years.
We his friends and admirers are of course devastated by this news. One just hopes that Rob has the will to carry on and rebuild his life in terms of making guitars in the future.
I'm SO pleased that I have been able to create this situation for him with the Vintage GG Armstrong model. This will hopefully provide Rob with the focus he needs right now.
Bert Jansch rang me from the West coast of the States to find out how he was, and our friend Russ Ganicott rang me on Tuesday evening wishing Rob well. This fire made the front pages of the main Coventry paper, and I was on the air with BBC Radio Coventry And Warwickshire speaking about Rob and his importance as a maker and what this might possibly mean to him. I only found out on Tuesday 13th and as I write this I as yet haven't spoken with Rob.
I sincerely hope that by the time you read this that some semblance of normality will have returned to Rob and Sheila's life and that Rob will have taken stock of the situation and is able to move forward in a positive way.
It will take a long time for Rob to get over this BUT with the love and support of all his many friends and admirers we hope he gets there.
The bottom line is that it wasn't worse and he is still with us. Fire is such an all consuming horror and the thought of all that history gone forever makes one want to weep.
Rob we wish you well buddy and our love and thoughts go to you and Sheila at this rotten time in your lives.
UPDATE 11th August
If anyone out there has some QUALITY wood working tools that they would like to donate to the great Rob Armstrong then please do get in touch with Rob on 02476 442502.
All of his tools were destroyed in the fire and he and Sheila are slowly rebuilding their lives after this dreadful event.
I was round their house yesterday and they are slowly picking their way through the debris to try and possibly retrieve whatever they can. It makes me want to cry when I see what is left of what was once a wonderful work place where some of the finest instruments ever made came out of.
Rob is nowhere near ready to start rebuilding his life or indeed his workshop but any offer of quality tools or even the kind of seasoned wood that meet the needs of the guitar maker will I'm certain be gratefully received. Ebony, Spruce, Cedar, Mahogany, Brazilian rosewood, Indian rosewood, Maple, etc etc etc
Thanks for your indulgence my friends.
Many of you will by now know that I was featured in the JHS GEAR Magazine with the news about the new GG guitar. This is a free magazine distributed to guitar shops throughout the UK. Recently I hit on the idea of taking them to shows and for a small donation I would sign copies and the money then goes to our chosen school charity. The good news is that folks have been very generous and to that end we shall be continuing to do this as long as JHS can furnish us with the relevant issue. Thank you to all those who donated SO generously, most notably at my Chatham concert.
Congratulations go to Mr Steve Smith of Combwich, Nr Bridgewater, Somerset for being the winner of the Vintage VE 2000 GG Rob Armstrong designed acoustic. This guitar comes with a superb deluxe case. We are planning to present the guitar to Steve in September when I’m in his neck of the woods with 4 Parts Guitar. Commiserations go to all those others who entered. As they say “there can be only one winner”.
At present I’m composing a special piece of music for a company that offers important advice to major corporations in terms of how to run their business and the legal rights of employees etc.
I find this sort of work quite challenging and one never knows, this piece may at some point find its way on to an album...Watch this space!
The company is called CVTwelve Design.
Their web site is self explanatory.
If you require first class artwork and design for album sleeves, special occasions, or any project that calls for something unique and different then do please contact them.
He would be delighted to hear from you.
Now a message mainly to those of you who may be new to my music. I thought you may be interested to read more about my past and how my career has evolved over the years, so why not have a look at my newly updated biography...... even those of you who have been long term fans may discover a fact or two you didn't already know. Click here
The Cookis and the Giltrap
About a year ago a friend of ours suggested that I might fancy adding some guitar to a piece of pop music a friend of his was putting together. The piece in question was Poker Face by Lady Gaga.
Anyway it sounded like fun and I always fancy a challenge so I knocked up an acoustic riff and added some soaring electric. The end result is what we have here. Check it out, it's fun and has been superbly put together. Sorry about the slightly rude cartoon. Not my domain I'm afraid.
Also I am delighted to report that the collaboration Poker Face is on iTunes so I guess we see what we can do to drive traffic towards it. Visit iTunes here
Concerts Of Note
Singling out individual shows is difficult because ALL shows are important to me but the following concerts were of particular significance and deserve to be mentioned:
Friday the 16th of July in Swanland was a bit special because this was the concert where my good friend, brilliant guitarist and fellow Fylde owner Garry Burnett joined me onstage to perform our first ever duo piece. The piece Garry chose was Maddie Goes West, and a fine job he made of it taking the main part and myself playing a minor roll “filling in” so to speak. The audience loved it and mention must be made of a very well received solo spot from Mr Burnett at the start of the evening. My thanks go to him, his wife Louise and all who worked so hard to make this charity event such a success.
The following night in Northallerton was no less of a special event. John Chamberlain who promoted the concert did a brilliant job, providing me with one of the sweetest sound systems I have had the pleasure to play through. The hospitality was superb and many a promoter could take a leaf out of Mr Chamberlain’s book when it comes to looking after an artist. Special thanks also to his lovely wife Kate for putting us up at the last minute in their beautiful home. We look forward to more concerts like this one!
Finally Chatham on the 22nd was a bit good also. It must be at least my sixth appearance at the Brook Theatre and they just keep re-booking me bless them. It’s always a joy to play in this part of the country as my Kentish side of the family faithfully turn out to support me and for that I’m eternally grateful. You can read Graham Hunt's review of the evening HERE
My thanks go to my cousin Linda, her husband Barry, my second cousin Matthew, his fiancée Natalie, cousin Bobby and his wife Gay, and to brand new grandparents (see below) Sue and Mike Holton.
Congratulations go to Sue and Mike Holton on becoming first time grandparents! Baby Phoebe Rose was born on Saturday the 24th of July to proud parents Ross and his partner Sara. All the family are thrilled and I’m sure you will join me in wishing the whole family well with this precious new arrival!