July 2017 News Update
Saturday, July 1, 2017
This has been a mixed month of highs and lows with the sad sad news of the passing of the great Vin Garbutt. We didn't know Vin and Pat well but they were a lovely couple and our time spent with them a few months back was truly lovely. Vin was an outstanding entertainer, singer and brilliant whistle player. It had always been an ambition of mine to get him on one if my albums but sadly it never happened and of course now it never will. By the time you read this his funeral will have come and gone but I know that the turnout will be huge for this very special man. He will be missed beyond words and his memory will live long, of that I'm sure.
GORDON GILTRAP & PAUL WARD “The Last of England” Vinyl Launched by Psychotron Records
Just available, a vinyl limited edition release of this wonderful collection of tunes from the legendary guitar player, Gordon Giltrap. Gordon collaborated with Paul Ward, keyboard player and music producer to create this album partly inspired by the artwork from the pre-Raphaelite era. The title track also comes from the famous Ford Maddox Brown painting used on the cover.
Gordon embarked on this project to celebrate his return to health after a major operation in 2016 and considers it as perhaps his best album yet.
Keyboard player Paul’s wealth of experience includes working with David Jason and Martin Kemp amongst others.
The album is inspired by all the music Gordon has loved during his 40 year career. It is a truly heart-warming LP.
Previously released on CD (Angel Air) in January 2017, the album has received great reviews already. Losing a couple of tracks to translate onto vinyl was a difficult decision, but it is more than compensated for hearing the sound on vinyl pressing and owning a beautiful LP which shows off the painting that inspired some of the music in a semi laminated luxury gatefold sleeve.
Comes on gorgeous deep orange vinyl; first 100 copies with a signed poster, 150 copies with unsigned poster and 250 standard copies.
BUY LP HERE: http://psychotronrecords.co.uk/product/gordon-giltrap-paul-ward-last-england
LP launch gig 18th July
To celebrate its release, Psychotron Records is hosting a Gordon Giltrap and Paul Ward concert at The Guildhall, Lichfield on Tuesday 18th July.
BUY TICKETS HERE: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/gordon-giltrap-paul-ward-vinyl-album-launch-concert-tickets-34295817714
Sharing Days - next date 26th August 2017
In 2017 I'm holding what I call "Sharing Days" at a venue close to where I live in Sutton Coldfield. More details can be found HERE
The plan is to accommodate between 10 and 12 players who want to spend the day sharing all aspects of my music, my technique, composition, my advice on guitars, open tunings, nail care (yes even nail care) equipment, in fact as much information as I'm able to impart on the day. This will be aimed at mainly acoustic players but all players, electric or acoustic are welcome.
At times there maybe other people to assist in any way they can. My special guest for the afternoon is the superb builder of bespoke electric guitars Michael Gough of MG GUITARS. He creates the most beautiful instruments from the best materials available. Michael will also be on hand to discuss guitar set ups and give you an insight into how he does it. I'm really looking forward to it as it should be a fun INFORMAL gathering of players who like me love this instrument of ours.
The fee is £100 for the day.
Please get in touch for more details and to book for 26th August or go on the mailing list for future events.
E-mail Sue Holton for more information firstname.lastname@example.org
Robin Hoods Bay folk weekend
Hilary and I spent a lovely time during the Robin Hoods Bay folk weekend where I performed a very low key evening at The Toast and Post Cafe with many friends in attendance including the lovely Mr and Mrs Steve Phillips the newlyweds. Steve and Kate are superb new friends and many of you will remember the photo of us both when we visited a few months back. Steve was a member along with his old friend Mark Knopfler of the wonderful Notting Hillbillies of many moons ago. A great band that made wonderful music.
Pic above shows me joining in with a session during the Robin a Hoods Bay folk festival.
I truly enjoyed my spot at the cafe and although a small audience it has enabled me to get back on my own terms to performing again.
My thanks go to Luke for inviting me to play at his place but also to our dear friend Carrie Martin who played a major role in organising the Cafe Dash where visiting musicians of all levels can perform around the Bay Area at various cafés to raise money for the RNLI. In total over £1200 was raised this year which is an all-time record. I had great fun in joining Carrie for a couple of her cafe appearances where we performed a couple of her songs along with her stunning version of Time after Time.This cool looking guy is playing on Carrie Martin's new album. His name is Ricky Silvers and he plays left handed Double Bass.
Here's to next year’s festival eh.
Two more gigs of note this month
The first one being the Hoghton gig put on by friends Fran and Bren at St Joseph's Hall. What a wonderful night " amongst friends" at this lovely venue, this being my third time there made all that more special by having our dear friend Carrie Martin as my special guest and also a venue that I wasn't sure I would be able to perform in again during my period of illness.
The audience were wonderful and truly receptive to both Carrie and I. Fran Lawson and his partner Karen looked after us so well providing a superb pre-concert meal and accommodation in their lovely home the night before the concert. I was also able to take along some Last of England vinyl copies to sell on the night!
Carrie did a superb opening set and then joined me at the end of the evening to perform Holly Blue and Time after Time. A fitting ending to a very special and emotionally charged evening.
St John's Chapel in Chichester on June 22nd was another cracking evening with Carrie once again adding her sparkling presence to the proceedings as my special guest, once again joining me in the second half to perform Holly Blue. This concert put on by our dear friend Sue Martin under the banner of Roots Around the World was part of the Chichester Festival. The grade two listed St John's Chapel was a superb setting for a concert with great acoustics and a wonderful lighting and sound crew.
All of Sue Martin's concerts are first class in terms of well promoted shows and attention to detail. The venue was virtually sold out and the audience were a dream to perform for.
The evening was made especially good by having our good friend Mike Stranks there to record the concert mainly for Carrie to have “live material" as bonus tracks for her forthcoming new album and as yet to be released past catalogue. Mike has played a huge part in the creation of The Last of England as recording engineer and for introducing me a few years back to my collaborator and pal Paul Ward. I'm delighted to report that the recording turned out well and both Carrie and I are thrilled with the results. Watch this space on both counts!
Any opportunity to spend time with Sue Martin is a joy and I for one cannot wait until we are next in beautiful West Sussex to be a part of one of her promotions. Sue and Carrie bonded big time and will I'm sure become lifelong friends. Here's to the next time.
Whilst visiting Louth in Lincolnshire I bumped into the legendary Robert Wyatt from the early Soft Machine. Robert is a lovely man and a true legend. Many will know of his stunning version of the Elvis Costello song Shipbuilding.
I love this pic of Hilary with Robert where he is actually smiling. Hilary of course looks lovely.
Private concert for Paul to celebrate his birthday
I just love doing private concerts especially when they are lovely people like Paul Roffey and his lovely partner Sue Lander to celebrate Paul's birthday.
This was such an unusual event with just five people in attendance. Paul, Sue, David and Phil along with Paul’s son. It was more like a masterclass than a concert which for me made it so much more satisfying and gave me the chance to play more material from the past and have the right relaxed atmosphere in which to do it.
Whilst there I jammed with Paul and David, and even undertook giving David's guitar a makeover requiring the neck to be removed and a jolly good polish. I just love trying to make guitars play and sound better whenever I can. I know what you're thinking... I should get out more!
Hilary and I can't thank our hosts enough for making us so welcome and for the time spent in their lovely home. A special thanks also to Sue for the lovely gift.
Guitar of the month
This is a stunning little Paul Brett Viator 12 string. This amazing thing sounds huge in spite of its small dimensions. I plan to use it on one of the tracks “April Love” from the new album in readiness for the Vinyl launch on July 18th.
Last Of England voted one of best Prog albums of 2017 so far
The web site Progressive Aspect have declared The Last Of England as one of the best Prog albums of 2017 so far.
Visit the site here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2017/06/11/best-of-2017-so-far/
The full review online here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2017/03/29/gordon-giltrap-paul-ward-the-last-of-england/
or read it below.
Article by: Bob Mulvey
In what seems to have become a relentless, burgeoning and ever diversifying musical climate it is so easy to lose sight of what first attracted you, so with the release of The Last Of England the opportunity to reflect, rekindle and have a resting point to recharge the batteries came as a welcome tonic. This first release from Gordon Giltrap and Paul Ward has seldom been out of my listening rotation since it arrived a few weeks back. A stunning release, the beauty of which took me completely by surprise.
Backtracking to last year and I was delighted when I heard that Gordon Giltrap was to release a new studio album in 2017, one to be added to the collection without hesitation. So cards on the table – yes I am a huge fan of his music. Gordon is one artist who, regardless of what he turns his hand to, I can pretty much guarantee I will enjoy. A musician who has honed and perfected his own unique and instantly recognisable acoustic guitar style, which he so readily embeds within the melodic and captivating framework here.
The unknown quantity on The Last Of England was keyboard player and producer Paul Ward. I am sure that most will be unfamiliar with the name, including myself, as apart from a couple of now out of print studio releases in the early nineties, he has not followed a commercial career writing and performing his own music. The good news is, and I’m happy to report, his contributions to the album are inspired…
As alluded to above there is very little from Gordon Giltrap’s catalogue that has disappointed, although his last release with Oliver Wakeman, which was heralded as his return to the progressive fold, didn’t quite tick all the boxes. Ravens & Lullabies was very well received, however the inclusion of vocals from Paul Manzi and Benoît David and the more commercial AOR rock slant made the album a somewhat mixed bag for me, much preferring the instrumental pieces that sat in between the songs. Not a bad album per se and I mention Ravens & Lullabies purely as, once I had heard of the release of The Last Of England, I hoped that Gordon would return to the instrumental music he so excels at.
Delighted to say he has and the first seven pieces, falling under the sub heading The Brotherhood Suite, and which according to Gordon take their inspiration from the Pre-Raphaelite school of art, create an absorbing and moving suite. The title track opens proceedings and Paul Ward’s sumptuous orchestrations not only set the tone, but lay the foundation for Gordon’s wonderfully ornate and captivating guitar. Those familiar with Gordon’s work across the years will be mindful of similar collaborations where he has embellished his guitar with orchestrations, or even with a full blown orchestra, so kudos to Paul Ward that he has produced these impressive arrangements with a collection of vintage and modern keyboards, guitar synths and samples.
I immediately sensed more than just a fleeting familiarity with the music from the The Brotherhood Suite and a bit of searching through the memory banks revealed that five of the seven pieces formed the latter part of Gordon’s collaborative album with Rick Wakeman, the delightful From Brush & Stone released in 2009. More digging and I eventually found my copy of the album. Now I believe there are earlier, out of print, live recordings of the The Brotherhood Suite, which would be really nice to hear. Regardless, what Gordon and Paul have achieved here not only builds on those orchestrations from From Brush & Stone, but take the music to a whole new level, no better illustrated than in the opening track with its haunting landscape.
I’m not going to attempt to select highlights from these arrangements, however and for the purposes of this review I might offer one, the stunningly beautiful The Light Of The World with Gordon’s achingly touching guitar enveloped in layers of warm choirs and soft synths. Suffice to say that the first six pieces take us through an enchanting pastoral landscape, capturing the romanticism of Vaughan Williams, Field and Elgar, with lush arrangements that both soothe and absorb. In fact only the concluding tune of the suite, Work, breaks the serene tranquillity with its symphonic prog orchestral percussion, strident string sections, Gordon’s nimbly fluid guitar – all reminiscent of his fine work during the ’70s.
If the album finished here it would certainly be worth the admission fee, however seven tracks still remain and although they take us down a less orchestrated route they complement what has gone before admirably. The eponymous solo piece, Loren is a moving tribute to the late wife of Bert Jansch, whereas those who have had the pleasure of catching Gordon’s captivating solo performances will delight at the arrangement Sadie In May, dedicated to his daughter.
The delicate Ania’s Dream is a wonderful marriage of guitar sympathetically underpinned by church organ, whilst the liveliest track is saved to the very end. A Promise Fulfilled sees Fairport’s Ric Sanders adding his distinct violin, who along with Gordon and Paul offer a rousing conclusion to The Last Of England.
So there we have it and not a single mention of any TV holiday programme theme tunes… ;0)
In light of the media coverage which heralded the release of the Ravens & Lullabies project, it’s a shame really that this latest collaborative album hasn’t quite received the press coverage it so richly deserves – especially as it marks two notable celebrations. The Last Of England, the first release in 2017 from Angel Air Records, marks their 20th anniversary this year and it also acts as a precursor to the celebrations of the professional career for Gordon Giltrap, which will shortly enter it’s fiftieth year.
Gordon Giltrap and Paul Ward have produced something rather special here and a release that ranks very highly in the GG catalogue. The Last Of England is a wonderful testament to Gordon Giltrap and his music…
Gordon Giltrap – Guitars
Paul Ward – Keyboards, Guitar Synths & Orchestrations
~ Guest Musician:
Ric Sanders – Violin (track 14)
Record Label: Angel Air Records
Date of Release: 20th January 2017