June 2023 News Update
Thursday, June 1, 2023
May 6th 2023 will stand out in most folk’s memories as the day Prince Charles became King Charles but for me it was the day I shared the stage with three of my dearest friends: Carrie Martin, Oliver Wakeman, and Rick Wakeman. The atmosphere can only be described by artist and audience as love personified.
It was pretty much a family affair with Oliver, his father Rick and Oliver’s son Arthur sharing the stage at certain times. Before the show was a meet and greet where folk can meet their favourite artist have their picture taken and can have programmes and albums signed. This done the programme started with Carrie taking the stage for an excellent thirty minute set with Oliver joining her on one the pieces from her new album. After a short break Oliver took the stage and played some breath taking piano pieces from his various albums including our album Ravens and Lullabies. He then invited Carrie back onto the stage to sing one of his songs A Glimmer of Light and my god she sung it beautifully.
After the break there was an auction and then I took the stage and played Shining Morn followed by The Kissing Gate then a bit of Prog in the form of Roots and finally (you guessed it) HEARTSONG. I was so relieved to have performed it with an uncanny amount of energy that unbeknown to me I received a standing ovation, the stage lights were so bright that I had no idea. It was quite emotional..
Finally the maestro himself took to the stage and did his usual devastating grand piano performances of several of his popular pieces….The audience of course loved it. I haven’t experienced such warmth and love from an audience for quite a while, actually I tell a lie because my concert in Ireland in Athy was for me equally special. For a man who is still grieving over the loss of his beloved I guess I’m doing pretty well!
Funds raised on the night was an astonishing £12000 for the school for special needs children with autism. Rick said we should make it an annual event let’s hope so eh?
There is a gallery of more photos from the event HERE
Last month Carrie Martin and I spent a very special day at Barnes and Mullins headquarters in Oswestry for Carrie to try out some of their superb range of FAITH acoustic guitars. The range had been designed by that respected maker Patrick Eggle. I have known Patrick for more years than I can remember. He started out making electric guitars then branched out into the acoustic world with great success.
The model that Carrie was interested in was their top of the range Anniversary model with all the beautiful inlay and tree of life inlay at the 12th fret. It didn’t take her long to make up her mind and low and behold she decided on the grand auditorium model with the cutaway.
Whilst I was there I was shown their larger dreadnaught non cutaway model with the same beautiful appointments. I succumbed and came away with the instrument in the photographs.
I need another guitar like a hole in the head but I don’t have a dreadnaught sized guitar so I thought why not and I have to say it’s a cracking guitar and a hell of a lot of instrument for the money. I shan’t mention prices here because it’s irrelevant.
I am very privileged to own some of the finest guitars known to man the pinnacle being my two beautiful Fylde guitars and one cannot compare one guitar to another because they are all different and do different jobs.
Carrie has already started gigging her Faith guitar and my one will at some point find its way onto the stage alongside my beloved Fyldes and my Vintage GG models. A new guitar can often inspire new music and this has started to happen with the Faith.
Carrie Martin album launch
Last month I did another opening gig for my dear friend Carrie Martin at the Birmingham launch of her excellent new album EVERGREEN this time in the jewellery area of Brum Hockley. The venue was the Hockley Social club a huge and vibrant venue. The evening went well and many of Carrie’s followers turned out to see her.
Here are some of the photos from the evening.
On Monday the 22nd of May Carrie Martin and I took our respective new Faith guitars to the wonderful Guitar Kes Kate Phillips to give them the once over. This she duly did and they are both the better for it. Kate is a respected guitar restorer and is truly gifted when it comes to things of this nature. Kate is married to blues guitar legend and Renaissance man Steve Phillips. Steve not only makes guitars is an outstanding artist but a few years back formed The Notting Hill Billies with his old friend a certain Mr Mark Knopfler.
The last but one time I visited Fylingthorpe and Robin Hoods Bay was with my beloved so it was a bitter sweet visit but memorable all the same.
Carrie and I had a lovely time with Kate Phillips on our visit to her Fylingthorpe workshop. This is what she put on Facebook:
Acoustic guitar LEGEND, Gordon Giltrap MBE brought me his beautiful new Faith guitar today to perfect the set up for him… He said: “ Kes, you really are one of the best guitar repairers there are… the world just doesn’t know it yet “ Thank you Gordon 💖 Carrie Martin & Gordon Giltrap MBE are both thrilled with their new Faith Guitars ® Official (who wouldn’t be, wow, what spectacular guitars), and they have both had their set ups personalised and perfected here at my workshop.
If you would like to book in for a pro set up just send a message to reserve your appointment here! 🛠The Guitarkes Workshop🛠 • Professional Guitar Repairs • Luthier, K E Phillips, North Yorkshire ~Strictly By Appointment Only~
Visit to Otley
Also in May I spent a wonderful weekend with my old friend the brilliant singer songwriter Patsy Matheson and her husband Tim in the beautiful town of Otley. I’m playing at the courthouse in November on November 5th and will hopefully be seeing them again.
I met Patsy many years ago when she opened for me on a string of dates. Patsy went from strength to strength as a creative force and formed the all-girl quartet Waking the Witch and afterwards releasing critically acclaimed solo albums the most notable being 'Domino Girls'. Her husband Tim is an excellent guitarist and great guy who for fun like me enjoys fixing and setting up guitars for friends.
The extraordinary part of the visit was attending the Otley Show and meeting up with new friends Tanya and Gary Bartholomew. Tanya is a journalist whose father wrote scripts for Coronation Street, and Tanya worked on the PR for my Troubadour album. Gary is the great Eric Morecambe's son. We met 18 months ago in Centre-parks.
Left to right: Patsy Matheson, Tanya Bartholomew, Me, Patsy's husband Tim.
I was looking forward to introducing them to my hosts Patsy and Tim. Lo and behold when Patsy and Tanya’s eyes met the light of recognition lit up and they realised that they knew each other because Tanya had once again been a PR person promoting Patsy’s albums…. Also Tim had attended university with a teenaged friend of Tanya’s called Martin. As the day went on it turned out to be an old friend’s reunion. All this because of me visiting…..You can’t write this stuff !!!
Me with Gary Bartholomew, (Eric Morecambe's son) in Otley.
A great review for Scattered Chapters
Gordon Giltrap & Paul Ward – Scattered Chapters – T P A (theprogressiveaspect.net)
Bob Mulvey 16 May 2023
Released in 2017, The Last of England was very special, the opening six pieces taking us through an enchanting pastoral landscape, capturing the romanticism of Vaughan Williams, Field and Elgar, with lush arrangements that both soothed and absorbed. The remaining tracks primarily featured Gordon Giltrap’s unique and instantly recognisable acoustic guitar style. The Last of England still ranks as one of my favourite releases of the last decade, and one that left a desire to hear more collaborative works from this duo.
A bit of a shame then that I completely missed Scattered Chapters when it was released in July last year. Although it would appear I am not alone as there seems little in the way of reviews, by the ‘progressive press’, of this album from Paul Ward and one of England’s national treasures, Gordon Giltrap. In stark contrast to the somewhat overrated Ravens & Lullabies released back in 2013 – but let us not add a sour note to this review…
So, putting the oversight to rights I can unequivocally say that Scattered Chapters is a praiseworthy successor, and in some respects, eclipses The Last of England. Not for one moment would I change any part of The Last of England, however it did feel like an album of two halves. And whilst Scattered Chapters firmly follows in its footsteps, the sequencing of the album and the stronger collaborative nature of the tunes makes for a more cohesive end result.
Much, I suspect, is down to the fact that Scattered Chapters became a multimedia project, coming to fruition during the first lockdown. With all the music written, Gordon came up with the concept of tying the album in with a book and contacted his good friend author and composer Nick Hooper (perhaps best known for his two original scores for the Harry Potter films) who returned with a series of short stories to accompany each of the eighteen tracks. The idea was then broadened, combining the music and stories with various pieces of artwork. Eighteen artists submitted paintings, ceramics, glass art and jewellery reflecting the stories and music. Images of their artwork are reproduced in the book.
The album opens with Starfield, which according to Gordon was written in about 20 minutes on an old Squier Strat which he bought in a carboot sale for £20. For those non-musicians, a Squier Stratocaster® is an entry level guitar series made under licence by Fender®. Musically Starfield sets up the album wonderfully with Gordon’s elegant layers of guitar augmented by Paul Ward’s delicate string arrangement and wispish synths. Stratospheric…
The title track follows. A joyous folk inspired tune with interweaving guitar and whistles (courtesy of Paul Ward’s keyboards). Given the track and the album was written during lockdown it is a testament to Gordon and Paul that during such difficult times such a bright and heart-warming piece emerged. Wonderful, like a welcome breeze on a hot summer’s day. Now at this point, part of me wants to continue extolling the delights of each and every track on this album, and although each track stands up on its own merit, much like its predecessor the overall charm and enjoyment is greater appreciated by listening to the album as a whole.
Scattered Chapters is in many respects a deeply personal album and this shines through on each and every piece. A glance at the track titles eludes to this and to touch on just a few of them: Through Braden’s Door is a heartfelt lament to Gordon’s grandson, following the death of his father, and Gordon and Hilary’s son. Equally touching is Precious which features actress Jenny Hanley’s narration of Hilary Giltrap’s poem of the same name. The longest piece on the album, The Melody Weaver’s Son pays tribute to orchestral arranger Del Newman, whose credits include Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Cat Stevens, Rod Stewart and Elton John, to mention just a few. He also worked with Gordon on the 1998 Troubadour album.
The album’s guest musicians include Rod Edwards, who undertook the arrangement of the aforementioned Through Braden’s Door. Drummer Ian Mosely, who first appeared with Gordon on the The Peacock Party(1979) appears on Turning Earth, a track which harks back to Gordon Giltrap’s ‘progressive’ albums from the mid to late seventies. Played in 6/8, it’s bright and breezy and full of melodious and lyrical themes. Finally, in my review of The Last of England I made a quip that there was not a single mention of any TV holiday programme theme tunes… Now I have several versions of Heartsong and seeing it on the track listing brought a quizzical smile. What might this latest version bring? Invariably with a nod of approval, this time a Celtic vibe is provided by John Devine’s whistles and uilleann pipes.
Gordon has undertaken numerous collaborations over the years – this latest one with Paul Ward surely must rank very near to the top. The vast majority of the album has been written by Gordon, with a three tracks from Paul. Throughout, Paul has truly grasped the essence of Gordon’s music and together they delivered a stupendous collaborative album. As always, Gordon Giltrap’s elegant and graceful guitar work is a joy to behold, something I have been fortunate enough to enjoy for over half a century. His music has a timeless quality and, much like a fine wine, it has matured with age…
With Scattered Chapters, Gordon Giltrap and Paul Ward have once again produced an album of immense charm and great beauty.
TRACK LISTING 01. Starfield (6:18) 02. Scattered Chapters (2:44) 03. Nordkapp (5:09) 04. One For Billie (3:43) 05. Sharing Days (2:43) 06. A Cottingley Secret (5:04) 07. Through Braden’s Door (2:23) 08. The Constant Friend (4:22) 09. The Kissing Gate (1:44) 10. Requiem (5:09) 11. She Who Gently Smiles (3:14) 12. The Work of Angels (3:28) 13. The Stars Look Down On Linda (4:17) 14. The Wounded Healer (3:19) 15. Turning Earth (4:22) 16. Precious (1:26) 17. The Melody Weaver’s Son (7:04) 18. Heartsong (3:07) Total Time – 69:36
MUSICIANS Gordon Giltrap – Guitars Paul Ward – Keyboards, Guitar Synthesisers, Orchestration ~ with: Rod Edwards – Keyboards (track 7) John Devine – Pipes & Whistles (tracks 14 & 18) Ian Mosely – Drums (track 15) Jenny Hanley – Narration (track 16
ADDITIONAL INFO Record Label: Psychotron Records. Country of Origin: U.K. Date of Release: 13th July 2022
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