June 2021 News Update
Tuesday, June 1, 2021
Sue Martin artwork
What can one say about the skills of this sensational artist and close friend Sue Martin.
This is one of her first ventures in using oil paint as a new medium for her. The woman is a genius and we are of course thrilled with it.
I love it so much I have shared it with a few special people and of course on Facebook.
This portrait along with quite a few more will take its place in an exhibition at some point once things start to settle a bit.
The folks at JHS of course love it as does Paul Brett whose signature 12 string it is, and what a fine piece of kit it is.
I have asked lovely Sue Holton to put on my website home page!
Eye of the Wind Rhapsody
From the 25th of May on Mirror Noir records The Eye of The Wind Rhapsody performed by The Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra can be downloaded.
This orchestral piece written in the late 70's commissioned by Capitol Radio in London as part of their Operation Drake project, was premiered at The Guild Hall in London in 1980 by The London Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by Vernon Handley, has finally seen the light of day for the general public to enjoy.
Recorded in St Paul's Church Huddersfield and conducted by John Pearson, it has always been close to my heart.
Thanks to dear friends Geoff and Cath Olner it finally it took its place in the world and was performed at my Symphony Hall concert way back when.
Digitally re mastered by Paul White and now out there on all the digital platforms via this LINK
Plans are afoot for the score to be available via this website very soon, so watch this space.
Just follow the link and enjoy this part of my musical path, and what a privilege the journey has been through its various twist and turns.
Oliver Wakeman CD set
This beautiful box set came through the post recently from Oliver Wakeman. You may remember in a past posting that Oliver asked me to play on one of his superb songs called THE WEDDING. He specifically asked me to use a nylon strung guitar which is rare for me these days, but I did as requested and it turned out rather well and has finally appeared on this release.
Oliver being the genius he is plans to take what I have written and create a brand new Wakeman/Giltrap composition as a possible bonus track for a future rerelease of Ravens and Lullabies. Watch this space!
Troubadour Vinyl – sold out
During lockdown Hilary has been sorting photos and unearthed this rarity. Taken by Sue Martin for the cover of Troubadour, and as you can see it has been faithfully reproduced.
The limited edition vinyl release of Troubadour in memory of Del Newman have all been sold. A huge thankyou to all who purchased a copy of this unique package in memory of the great man.
Someone sent this through recently. Taken at Plymouth Guildhall during a sound check. I’m surrounded my Vintage instruments. I sent it through to JHS with the caption 'Keeping the Faith'.
Heartsongs charity release - last few copies
Many of you will remember this release. The QE have only a couple of boxes left so when they are sold it will not be re printed. It was a privilege being involved with its release but it has now run its course and served its worthwhile purpose having raised £4500.
You can still get copies by visiting the Queen Elizabeth Hospitals charity website via the link above.
This beautiful and unusual cigar box guitar has an amazing history. Janice Foley the artist and author created the artwork especially for us.
Inspired by The Last of England album and initially by a piece of mine called Roseberry Topping. All will be revealed when you read her post below.
The story behind the guitar:
Jan and Eddie are a husband and wife team living in the north east of England near the picturesque and historic town of Yarm on Tees. They have recently joined forces in a new venture that has combined their backgrounds to create something a bit different in the form of hand built guitars featuring original artwork.
Eddie, originally from Mosely Village, Birmingham comes from an engineering background and also has many years’ experience rescuing and restoring Georgian furniture. Jan is an artist whose paintings of local scenes featuring her creation, "The Roseberry Hare" have been sent to homes all over the world. She has been running her own online art gallery since 2009.
Eddie returned to his passion for guitars after being asked to build a traditional three string cigar box guitar for his brother. To hear it being played planted the seeds of an idea in his head and in a short space of time turned what started as a hobby into a small business venture. This is how "outside the box" abbreviated to "o_t_b guitars" began.
The connection with Gordon happened in a strange and wonderful way. If you believe in fate then this was something that Jan now feels was meant to be........
Jan with her love of Roseberry Topping and fond childhood memories of visiting her artist uncle in Great Ayton, staring up in awe at the biggest hill she had ever seen!
Gordon's connection with friends living in the area and a piece of music that he created and played on his album "Shining Morn"
Jan discovered the Roseberry Topping track and because of the guitars contacted Gordon to tell him about them, her artwork, the hare and her story about Baldric, a bald headed blackbird who flew over to Roseberry Topping to have adventures, make new friends and to try to stop being afraid of everything.
To her surprise Gordon replied to her message and expressed an interest in having a guitar made specifically for him. Jan, after recovering from the shock had a conversation with Gordon regarding the concept of a six string box guitar. The brief was to listen to his album "The Last Of England" and see what images came to mind. It was a little daunting for her at first but after listening to it several times a picture began to emerge and thus The Lady Elizabeth guitar came into being. There is a connection in there to memories for Gordon, his wife Hilary and for Jan.
Hopefully this isn't just a guitar, it isn’t just a painting but it’s a coming together of both with a little magical hare in there for luck.
Jan and Eddie adopting the philosophy of "He builds 'em and she paints 'em "
As the final chapter to this story we would like to say a huge thank you to Gordon for making our story happen. The guitar is now with him and he honoured us by sending a little snippet of "Loren" being played on the Lady Elizabeth guitar. This can be heard on our Facebook page see links below.
art website www.yarmoriginals.com for Jan's paintings
The Lady Elizabeth video https://fb.watch/5AGiD661Fm
Carrie’s new guitar
That naughty Carrie Martin has been buying guitars again and turned up at the house with this beauty. A rare Vintage all solid wood parlour guitar and it sounds great! Here we are socially distanced in the conservatory.
Alessandro Corvaglia is a fine prog rock musician from Italy and has been an admirer of my work for many years going back to his childhood. I was delighted to let him have one of my tunes 12 Towers to arrange in his own inimitable way for his new album. I’m sure you will enjoy reading all about him and our association and new friendship.
All power to Sue Holton for helping with this project bless her!
Photo credits: Alessandro photo by Simona Garzadori and Raffaella photo by Simona Campi
Born in Livorno, an (at least for me) incomparable town in Tuscany in 1964, I discovered since I was a baby I have an enormous passion for music and, as a natural gift, a quick and precise ear. This led me to be surrounded by a lot of VERY good music (thanks to my elder brother) and to a continuous desire to play anything, starting from piano – which is my main instrument – and going through guitars, drums and bass guitar. Never forgetting my “trademark”, that means being a lead vocalist, that with time took over any other role.
So I started being in bands at the age of 13 and this passion never had a minute’s rest, taking me very close to theatre’s world. In more than 40 years of playing and composing, I have walked in the paths of several genres even if Progressive Music is to be considered the one most lasting and rewarding. Since 2000 I’ve had the chance to professionally meet many of my “childhood heroes, such as Steve Hackett, David Jackson, Thijs Van Leer, Claudio Simonetti, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, PFM and so on. Between the bands I’ve been in and other collaborations, I’ve recorded about 12 records in less than 20 years. And the fairy tale still goes on, up to these days that brought me to undoubtedly believe in miracles!
I had the undescribable fortune to discover the wonderful music of Gordon back in 1978, when I was just 14, with the astonishing “Visionary” album, and to say it was “love at first listening” is surely too simple. I regard him as one of my most beloved musicians ever, and my admiration never had the slightest pause throughout 42 years. In 2006 I wrote a little “scherzo” in his honour, not worrying or knowing if he would ever have the chance of listening to it. It was simply a deed of pure and intimate affection. In 2013 I had the dream of meeting and knowing him come true in Lydney when I came over to the UK especially to attend a Ravens and Lullabies band gig.
Last December, Gordon came across that tune of mine (thanks to our dearest friend Sue) and since then my life changed. Gordon, as the sweetest musician I know, decided to gift me one of his creations to work on as I saw fit while I was defining the tracklist of my upcoming solo album, titled “Out of the Gate”. I couldn’t believe what I was reading and achieving, it is really hard to describe such a gift coming from my idol. But it happened and since then Gordon and I have established a deep and friendly relationship and this showed the great soul and man he is, carried from his exquisite music to personal behaviour.
The track is called “12 Towers”, which I consider a strongly evocative title. I was immediately struck and conquered by its incredibile beauty, and so was my life partner, Raffaella Izzo, who I consider a good flute player despite her instinctive shyness. So, for me, she delivered her soft and sweet notes so naturally as if she was “waiting for that moment” herself! I took enormous care in surrounding an astonishing tune with a musical dress that wouldn’t affect in the least its poetry.
“Out of the Gate” which will be released very soon will be published by AMS Records in Italy. It will be available on BTF Records website (www.btf.it) and on many well-known Internet sites (Amazon, Bandcamp and so on)
I lived, and still I am living, the moment of my life. Thanks to a wonderful Troubadour who decided to spend a little of his time with one of his greatest fans.
God bless you, Gordon!
On Camber Sands mentioned in a book
Webmaster Sue Holton brought this book to my attention and the lovely mention about my piece on the place. She made a very humorous comment about my early days as a smuggler….. Grin
Moving on from last month’s newsletter and the ongoing feature on the home page about ZOOM lessons.
Well, things have moved on apace. Being a long-time patron of RGT (Registry of Guitar Tutors) and having the Graded Giltrap book as part of their acoustic syllabus I decided to approach all their affiliated teachers across the UK and throughout the world to offer them a free half hour consultation via Zoom to assist them in teaching my pieces to their students. The response has been overwhelming and I’m pretty much booked up on a daily basis chatting with all those RGT teachers. Isn’t technology wonderful!
Playing on other people’s pieces
You may remember a while back that I was offering my services as a session player on people albums. Mr Steve Briscoe responded and has thus far used me on two of his delightful songs. I have asked him to write a short piece about his journey using GG to embellish his pieces.
I feel so honoured and privileged that over the past few years I have got to know Gordon. At the tender age of 16 in 1972, I had been given an L.P. (If any of you know what that is), and had a listen to some music that took my breath away. It was an album called 'Footsteps on the Sea'. This was the first time that I had experienced acoustic guitar playing in such an innovative way. Behind the raw folk sounding vocals of Graham Kendrick was the most amazing and intricate guitar work from Gordon Giltrap. This was a class album indeed. I had just had my first experience of the magic that is Gordon Giltrap.
Now back to the present day, and who would have thought that I would have the opportunity of having Gordon Giltrap playing with me on not one, but two of my songs!
It was such an honour to have Gordon working on my pieces and it was for me a 50 year dream finally coming true. The end result....... A touching and emotional interpretation of two songs that were written from the heart, and that unmistakable sound of Gordon Giltrap that is priceless.
I suppose you could say this was 50 years in the making. Thank you so much for my dream. This is so, so special.
What a joy it was to hear my special friend Jenny Hanley introduce Heartsong on her Boom Radio Saturday afternoon show last month, and the very sweet and kind things she said about me (I’m unworthy.)
One of the most positive things to come out of lockdown for me is this special new friendship that has developed between Hilary and I and this very special lady. Please God actually meet up one of these days.
Thank you so much Jenny for playing that old classic of mine and kind words. Long may your show bring so much pleasure into our lives on a Saturday afternoon between 2 and 4.
Get well Em
Sending get well messages to Em, (she of Em’s Tune) who has been poorly of late. Like many folk she has suffered during lockdown. We send healing thoughts to her and her other half Roger.