May 2022 News Update
Thursday, April 21, 2022
This was my second gig of the year at one of my favourite venues, the wonderful Guild Hall in Lichfield City. I have lost count of how many times I have played in concert with their beautiful panelled walls. My last concert there was to launch The Last of England vinyl version with Paul Ward on keyboards. I have always attracted to good audience there and this night was no exception.
What was really gratifying was that people turned up in spite of the current risk of Covid. I’m delighted to say it was a sell out and many good friends were there including Keith and Fiona Meredith (Fiona’s Smile) Pete and Linda Bonner. (Psychotron Records) My good friend Dave Ford, and Mark Guyatt who was one of the first to attend my teaching weekends way back in 2015.
What particularly special for me that night was the chance to ‘premiere’ a new tune and I couldn’t think of a better place or audience in which to share it with. The new piece is called Out of the Silent Sky and I think it could become a permanent fixture in my set list.
Because my good friend Geoff Olner was on roadie duty that night I was able to dig out my large Helix pedal board and reinstate The Dodo’s Dream and it worked out fine. I have never heard my beautiful Fylde’s sound as good as they did on the night. A big thanks to the sound man!
Thanks so much Lichfield for a wonderful slow return to what is beginning to feel vaguely like normal, whatever that was.
My beloved Fiona and I had a glorious day out under a (mostly) blue sky exploring the compact and attractive Staffordshire city of Lichfield. At the birthplace museum of perhaps the city’s most famous son - the writer, poet, playwright, biographer and lexicographer Dr. Samuel Johnson – It occurred to me that this literary giant and leading figure of the 18th century exhibited remarkably similar attributes to our principal motivation for visiting Lichfield. Like the good doctor, Gordon Giltrap is a prolific giant in his field, has influenced myriad gatherings, and his circle of friends and acquaintances include some of the greats of the musical firmament.
It was a repeat visit to the magnificent wood panelled Guildhall and it was a joy to be attending a live gig again now that the measures to regulate the ghastly endemic pestilence of Covid have been eased. Although Gordon has been devoting himself to passing on his talents and knowledge by teaching, I am pleased to announce that the two-year hiatus to personal performances has not dulled his musical skills or his presentation.
There were fewer guitars in evidence on stage, but the instruments present were put to worthy use. The set list included old established tunes like Maddie goes West: Isabella’s Wedding: The Lord’s Seat: On Camber Sands and Sallie’s Song; and interspersed them with more recent pieces: Sadie in May, Shining Morn and Loren; and introduced recent additions: Po Faced Tilley and Kissing Gate.
The Giltrap signature, Heartsong, was performed unexpectedly early in proceedings and I was most surprised when G bravely asked for requests – resulting in a little voice behind us asking for Rainbow Kites, which was delivered faultlessly.
A notable pleasure was the premier of a delightful brand new composition entitled Out of the Silent Sky. Performed without announcement – the inspiration for the work and the story behind the title remains an enigma.
Though he had vowed not to play the piece again, the presence of an electric guitar on its stand presaged an impeccable recording of the Dodo’s Dream. Stressful to play, this popular tune demonstrates the Giltrap mastery so well.
Gordon Giltrap is a naturally humble and self-effacing fellow, and his modesty, combined with the very high musical standards he sets for himself, occasionally elicits an unjustified apology if he feels he has not reached this target. As Fiona remarked to me on one such occasion – there must be many guitarists who aspire to play as badly as Mr. Giltrap.
We will have fewer opportunities to witness it live in the future, but Gordon Giltrap’s spark of genius is still there – the flame that is his passion and enthusiasm for his music is as incandescent as ever. Long may it continue with the important work of passing on his legacy through teaching.
A huge apology to all those who bought tickets for my Bulkington concert for July 9th. Due to unforeseen circumstances the show will be rescheduled for next year when hopefully the amazing Carrie Martin will be my special guest on the evening.
Oliver Wakeman Box set – Collaborations
Lovely to see the release of the triple CD box set by my friend that keyboard genius Oliver Wakeman.
The album set is superbly packaged and is entitled Collaborations, and consists of The 3 Ages of Magick (Oliver Wakeman with Steve Howe) Ravens and Lullabies (Gordon Giltrap and Oliver Wakeman band) and From a Stage (Gordon Giltrap and Oliver Wakeman duo + Paul Manzi)
Full details of the albums and where you can obtain a copy HERE
It always gives me deep pleasure to share my thoughts about friends and people I personally believe are truly great.
What you see before you are images of two truly great men. On the left is Professor David Gourevitch, and on the right Mr Samuel Ford.
It was my privilege to meet these two outstanding surgeons in 2016.
Both men embody qualities of greatness, humility, compassion, surgical skills beyond the norm and many more. The professor was my consultant at that time and Mr Ford was my surgeon. T
To be in the presence of such greatness is truly humbling.
All those of you who purchased my Heartsongs album will see a photograph of Mr Ford and myself on the back of the CD. At the time of the photo session I thanked him for saving my life. His reply was.” Gordon, I did my job, and you got better”
This public note of gratitude to these two remarkable men is long overdue.
Well, it’s now time to mention another remarkable and great person.
Doctor Jenny Sherriff the wonderful Oncologist at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. This amazing woman has looked after me for nearly seven years. She has shared smiles and tears with me, has shown incredible patience when I foolishly decided to come off my medication (and paid the price for it) and shared in my humbled astonishment at receiving an MBE.
She will not be expecting this posting and I ask her forgiveness for embarrassing her with my heartfelt and ongoing thanks to her and all her colleagues who do an incredibly challenging job on a daily basis.
All these amazing people truly do the work of angels.
Also today it gives me profound pleasure to tell you about a truly sainted man and good friend the Reverend Martin Green vicar of St Michael’s Church Bishops Itchington.
This great man has served and continues to serve his community. During lockdown he conducted heart breaking funerals and tried to comfort so many grieving loved ones.
When my Jamie died he was there by our side as a silent source of strength. This man is truly a great man and was probably born without a bad bone in his body. He is a shining example of love and kindness.
I am proud to call him my friend. He touches SO many lives on a daily basis. How he does it is beyond me, but I guess he draws his strength from a divine source which has sustained him throughout his life.
He is a fine guitar player and composer and has made some lovely guitars throughout the years, a pastime I believe has brought him a degree of comfort and satisfaction. He was also the brain child behind the Echoes of Heaven CD we recorded with the wonderful Carol Sampson so many years ago now.
You are greatly loved and admired my friend.
“Enough already” I can hear him cry on reading this.
I did a podcast interview with Ella Iggulden from the UHB CHARITY a few weeks back.
You can hear the interview here
I’m sure you will recognise this iconic guitar.
I was privileged to actually hold this world famous guitar when its owner kindly played on an all-star version of Heartsong way back in 1993 at Workshop Studios in Redditch.
I have been privileged to hold a similar iconic guitar in my lifetime. The other was Hank Marvin’s original Strat.
When I say hold, I mean hold NOT play. One must have respect for such things and to play or strum would somehow be sacrilege. Holding it in my hands was enough and to know what magic was created on it and subsequently heard by millions around the world.
Thanks Brian for the memory. And Hank of course!
Jamie Giltrap guitar
Designed by a genius, Rob Armstrong. Made in the Far East.
If you would like something similar but built by the man himself.
Ring him on 02476 442502
I have been in the studio recently doing a bit of recording. I did some recording here at home for a new track with Paul Ward. I sent it through. Paul replied that the recording was fine and technically perfect, but it lacked something. On listening to it again I realised that what it lacked was “emotion”. So I plan to start again from scratch and probably use a different guitar. I initially recorded it on the Pete Townshend J 200 which of course is a fine guitar, but it just didn’t sound quite right for the piece, so I shall be reverting to my tried and tested Fylde’s.
I was also in the studio of my friend Nigel Bates to add a guitar arrangement to one of his superb set of lyrics. We have been working on and off for ages on his material and the end is almost in sight. His material is completely different to my stuff. Well, it would be as his are songs! I do love Nigel’s approach to song writing and it makes a nice change to embrace another creator’s material.
I’m currently doing something similar with the wonderful Simon Mayor on one of his Mandolin masterpieces and he is working on one of mine.
More later on that front.
Hilary and I have had the privilege of hosting three great musicians of late. The first two, Hilary and Simon were featured in last month’s NEWS and this month it’s the turn of the wonderful Will McNicol. I have asked Will to submit a brief biog on himself to give you an idea of the calibre of this remarkable guitarist, composer and educator.
Will and I will be working together very closely in the future with regard to teaching and being a patron of his online Guitar School. We are also planning to do some recording together in the not too distant future. I have already taken part in one of his Zoom gatherings and it was great fun. I plan to do more.
Anyway I hope you enjoy reading his text. Will is a lovely chap and fellow FYLDE endorsee.
My very first meeting with Gordon was many years ago after an inspiring gig of his at Wimborne's Tivoli Theatre. Back then I was just a young fan - a guitarist beginning to try and find his own voice on the instrument. I was somewhat star struck and struggling to find any words to say. Fast forward a good number of years and I find myself calling Gordon a dear friend - that younger, star struck version of me would never have believed it! A subsequent meeting on a more professional basis (a guitar gathering called the RMMGA) sparked the friendship and ever since I've been immensely grateful to Gordon for his support and encouragement. Most recently, a visit to his and Hilary's home had me buoyed up for days afterwards. We played tunes together, shared music, drank tea, and Gordon gave me an insight into the universe of music he's created across his career. It was, quite simply, wonderful.
I was watching an interesting documentary on Donovan the other night and remembered the time we spent together way back in 2013.
Don is such a sweet man and it was a joy to meet him.
He was an early influence and I loved his Fairytale album.
I just love this archive pic, taken in Paul White’s Malvern studios back in the day.
The lady on the right is Gilly Darbey, one time member of Waterfall and without a doubt one of the great vocalists of our time. Gilly now resides in New Zealand.
I’m still loving giving guitar tuition on Zoom.
Details are the same as last month, all enquiries about online guitar sessions should be made to Paul Roberts at email@example.com or call him direct on 07860 648068
Please don’t hesitate to contact Paul, and PLEASE don’t think you aren’t good enough to have a lesson. I believe I can help anyone move forward with their guitar playing and creativity no matter what level they feel they are at.
The Z Gazette
This photo taken on April the 6th 1996 (my birthday) of the late great guitar maker Tony Zemaitis was on the rear cover of the latest Z Gazette which Keith Smart has been running for 26 years, and is going to be the last but one issue as Keith has decided to call it a day.
He has single-handedly kept alive the memory of a lovely man who made guitars for many the greats back in the day; Clapton, Frampton, Dylan, Harrison, McCartney etc.
Keith we salute you and thank you, and it will be my pleasure to write a short letter of thanks to you and a few of my own memories of Tony although I never did own one of his guitars much to my shame!
RIP Tony and may your memory live on in the instruments you made.
My plaster !
I was at the hospital recently for my routine blood test (all is well by the way)
On returning home I removed the plaster and this what was revealed. It could be a red plectrum, or a red heart. Turn it upside down and it’s an image of a Tibetan monastery atop a mountain. It’s also in the form of a cross.
What a vivid imagination that Giltrap has I hear you cry. Interesting though eh my friends?
A desperate plea for help identifying a track
A post has been submitted on my forum from a gent called Rob. He has been trying to identify a track ( which he wrongly thought might have been by the Gordon Giltrap Band) for nearly 40 years. He has even made a YouTube video to try and find out about it. I wonder if any of you can solve the mystery ? Find out more HERE
And finally.... a fun birthday card
I just had to include this fun birthday card from my lovely stepdaughter Ruth.
A huge thank you for all my birthday cards and well-wishing messages.
Hilary and I had a nice gentle day out in Stratford upon Avon.