General News

October 2009 News Update

October 2009 News Update

Just received a lovely book through the post from the author Mr Paul Fowles.

Paul is a fine classical guitarist and an admirer of Giltrap and Burley. It was Paul who wrote the sleeve notes for my Double Visions album with Ray Burley.

The book is entitled Concise History of Rock Music and is published by Mel Bay. It looks to be a cracking read, and yours truly is on page 161.

A couple of lines from the chapter reads. "One artist who remains difficult to categorise is the English guitarist and occasional singer Gordon Giltrap."

"Whatever Giltrap was creating on Visionary, it was a long way from folk or folk-rock, the admittedly cumbersome term 'acoustic symphonic rock' perhaps being nearer the mark".


On the afternoon of Thursday the 3rd of September Hilary and I drove to Liverpool to a local Premier Inn where we planned to stop over the night in readiness for the 10.30 am ferry the following morning. The weather was lousy and we stopped on route for a rip-off meal at one of the service station on the M6. £1-50 for an extra fried egg...they ARE having a laugh aren't they?

The following day was VERY windy to say the least resulting in the ferry being delayed by 6 hours! This wasn't too much of a problem as the docks in Liverpool are a great tourist attraction with pleasant dockside cafes, shops, and various art galleries and exhibitions, so the time sped by fairly swiftly.

The main problem lay ahead of us in the form of a VERY rough crossing. Fortunately Hilary and I managed  to stave off being sick whilst many around us were puking up into paper bags etc. Hilary said that the only way she stopped herself being sick was to concentrate looking at the horizon for the entire journey. It was the kids I felt sorry for, although one little lad who was sat behind us said that it smelt like chocolate - bless him. He then went to sleep, lucky boy. After a 3 hour crossing we eventually arrived on the Island at Douglas, a little shaky and very much worse for wear!

We had never visited the island before and I can honestly say what a lovely place it is. Over the next few days at the guitar festival the following artists were making an appearance. Gary Ryan, a great classical guitarist, guitar wizard Pete Smith along with bass player Roger Inniss, Rod Clements ( he of Lindisfarne fame ), Michael Berk a fine young player from London, Amrit Sond who is an outstanding world music player and Pierre Bensusan who's name I think most lovers of fine guitar playing in DADGAD mode will know I'm sure. This heady mixture made for a great couple of days.

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My concert was scheduled for Saturday at the Gaiety Theatre (stunning theatre) co-headlining with Pierre. Because of the delay with the ferry on the Friday things had to be re-scheduled and a cameo appearance from Rod Clements was for me a joy to listen to, especially when he sang one of Lindisfarne's biggest hits 'Meet Me on the Corner' a song that Rod wrote in 71 and was nominated for an Ivor. The evenings proceedings were kicked off by Michael Berk, followed by Rod, then a short break. I went on at 8.30 to do my one hour slot and the remainder of the evening was handed over to Pierre who was in fine form.

I can't begin to tell you what a great guy Pierre is and indeed what a great bunch everyone was without a hint of ego anywhere!

I rang my pal Bert Jansch a few days back and mentioned that Rod Clements was on the bill and wished to be remembered to Bert. Bert said what a nice man Rod was when they worked together many years ago.

Pierre also expressed interest in finding a UK agent and to that end I have mentioned it to my agent Sue Webster to see what she thinks. The main problem with finding a good agent is finding one that will have the time to properly work on you. Most of the good ones already have a roster of top selling acts, and in this day and age of cut backs etc an agent has to have names to sell to venues. This is a shame really because I know of many fine and talented people who are desperate for work. I myself, not that long ago, was in the very same boat, you only need to read the opening paragraph on the home page to know this. Anyway, if it's right for my agency to take on this superb artist it will happen. We do what we can!

Sadly the turnout was much lower than Jonno our beloved promoter expected, which has really put into question whether another festival will happen next year, that would be a great shame because the guy worked REALLY hard to make it a success. We were all looked after right royally. The hotel was stunning with the balconies from each room looking inward to the main area of the hotel. I was awakened by the beautiful sound of Pierre playing on the balcony opposite...bless him.

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The following morning an interview had been arranged for the local radio station. The interviewer, a delightful lady, had really done her homework. The interview was recorded in the front lounge of the hotel which was a tad noisy with some lovely ageing ladies chatting very loudly behind us. We couldn't say 'can you please be quiet' as it was a public area after all. I'm hope the microphones were fairly directional and won't pick too much up of the background chatter! The interview is being broadcast later this year.

Photo © A. Casse

My master class/workshop on the Sunday at the local guitar shop was well attended and great fun, and hopefully everyone went away with a few things to practice namely 'harping' and some fairly demanding (well they are for me) finger exercises.
I sincerely hope that we can return to the island one of these days even if it's not connected with work, and a special thanks to our friends Sue and Mike Williams for showing us around the island that is now pretty much their permanent home. A big thanks once again to Jonno and all the crew of helpers and technicians for making us all so welcome.

You will be pleased the know that our return journey was really pleasant, the sea was still and calm and the sun shone!

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A few weeks ago on the 22nd of August to be precise, I performed at a charity concert at St Michael's Church, Bishops Itchington, Southam for my good friends the Rev Martin Green and his wife Louise.

The show was filmed, and even though it is only a one camera low tech affair, I believe it has captured the fun and essence of that evening.

To that end I have given my permission for copies to be made and sold to help raise funds for the church tower to be re-built and also help towards the rebuilding of Martin's other church in the area that was badly damaged by fire.

For those interested in purchasing the fund raising DVD of that evenings concert, please see the instructions at the bottom of this page or give Martin or Louise a call on 01926 613466, e-mail

This is for a good cause, and will only set you back the princely sum of £6.00...Can't be bad.


A few more notable concerts this month. My private concert on the 12th of September was a cracker and my thanks to those lovely people who allowed us to bring our grandchildren Jack and Charlotte along to share in the celebration....THANKYOU from Hilary and I.

On to my public concerts. The first being my concert at the Western Hotel in St Ives. This was part of the St Ives Music Festival and I guess comes under the banner of the Fringe Festival in as much as it is held in the smaller of the two main venues in the Town, the other being The Guildhall where the likes of Ralph McTell and Eliza Carthy strut their stuff.

The good news is that Alan the owner and organiser of concerts at the Western informed me on arrival that my concert had attracted more attention and ticket sales than any of the other shows at The Western. He went on to say that if he'd known what the response was going to be he would have bitten the bullet and put me on in the larger venue of the Guildhall, he also said that he could have sold out two nights at the Western quite easily.

As much as I would have liked to have played in the Guildhall, the room at the Western had a great atmosphere, and on reflection given the choice I think I would have gone for the two nights at the less prestigious of the venues because of the fantastic atmosphere of the place which of course all added to such a tremendous audience response to my show on the night of the 19th. My thanks go to Alan for his superb hospitality, and my thanks to a wonderful St Ives audience for making me feel so welcome. So here's to the next time eh!

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The second AND third concert of note was the first of the Three Parts Guitar shows at the Roses Theatre Tewksbury on Thursday the 24th and Lichfield Garrick on Sunday the 27th. The third being the final concert at Buxton Opera House on Wednesday the 30th. The first two of these shows went fabulously well and for me Lichfield was a bit special having friends and family in attendance. Sadly tickets sales for Lichfield was a disappointment bearing in mind that the last time we played there it was a sell out, this time only about a third of the venues 500 seat capacity was filled BUT the audience was lovely.

You can read Mike Stranks review of the Tewkesbury show here and see a gallery of more of his pictures here - Thanks Mike !

For my part being on stage with two great and very diverse players such as Etheridge and Burley is a thrill and a privilege, with John and Ray adding a dimension to my music that is utterly sublime.

Whether this trio can continue is really in the lap of the Gods, and bearing in mind that the promoter has spent the best of a year trying to secure dates with the London one being cancelled due to poor ticket sales really does sum up the overall recession this country is going through right now. Let us just hope that we all can hang in there through these troubled financial times. I shall do what ever I can to TRY and create more shows for Three Parts Guitar because for me it is the most enjoyable thing I have been involved in donkeys years, and I'm sure any folk who attended the shows will agree about the fun and energy that is generated on stage.

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One of the interesting and challenging things to come out of the preparation for the Three Parts Guitar concerts is getting to grips with a tune I wrote in 1980 entitled The Tailor Bird from the Peacock Party album. All these years on it is still for me a challenge to play, and I well remember when I was working with the Demon fiddler Ric Sanders many years ago that we used to play this piece. It was after a short while that Ric said to me that he felt we should drop it from the show because he found it too hard to play. Those of you who have the Double Vision album will know that Ray Burley and I do quite a cracking version of this old chestnut of mine, and I was quite determined to get it under my fingers again.....which I have, I'm pleased to say. It's still a struggle but I'm getting there!

This got me thinking about all the tunes I have written over the years and of how many I don't play live. SO I have come to a decision to cut down a bit on the compositional side of things and TRY to play some of the pieces I have already written.

I mentioned recently about recording a new version of Night from the Visionary album. This I have done and I'm pretty pleased with it. It was a fascinating journey of re-discovery, and I can name many of my pieces that I think are worthy of a revisit: pieces like Fell Runner, Ecchoing Green / London, Roots Parts 1 & 2, The Carnival, Shady Tales….. The list goes on.

This doesn't mean of course that when the muse comes upon me I shall ignore it, one can't but help writing new material when inspiration strikes...which isn't that often. Anyway I'm going off on one here, but it's worth a thought isn't it?.

Here are a few plans for the future.

A proposed album to be recorded in Nashville with Virginia Luque and a host of top Nashville musicians.

A possible GG signature guitar for folk on a budget.

Oh and I forgot...There are plans for a GG festival next year, so watch this space!

In the meantime.

Be Well.