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Post tour landing

What a joy and honour it’s been to perform with Deborah Bonham on Paul Rodger’s tour. This has been the first time that Paul has performed the classic Free material since that band ended and his performance was stunning every night. An absolute gent too and a real pleasure to meet him. Paul was using Deborah’s band and extra kudos goes to Pete Bullick for his chunky riffing and achingly languid bends.

Kicking off in Glasgow and ending at London’s Royal Hall, Debs delivered raw soul and passion. She really is world class. This format is challenging and I’m proud we achieved a sound substantial enough to fill these venues with just a voice and a guitar. Thanks to everyone who gave us their appreciation. Look forward to taking this project on…

We had no shortage of top drawer visitors. Robert Plant came down to Oxford along with Brian Johnson to join Paul and the boys on stage. The first time Brian had sung live since leaving AC/DC early last year. Top geezer. Brian May and Jimmy Page were in attendance at Albert Hall. Jimmy was on great form. A really great guy and fantastic to see him again. Heady days indeed!

I’m back with Nigel Kennedy this month. Another master. Gig update and more news shortly…

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Leisure

A lot of people ask me (well ok, but if they did) what do I do when I’m not being good at music? Well I really enjoy being with nature. You know, rolling around in the mud, eating leaves, riding elk, that sort of thing. If I have a few free days I enjoy kayaking, amber mining, and deep space exploration.

Yes. Let’s rock.

Just back from a pleasant couple of days up country rehearsing with Deborah Bonham for the upcoming Paul Rodgers tour. I’ve had the pleasure of playing on a couple of her albums and it’s just great to hear that amazing voice again. Debs and Pete are highly superb people. They rescue maltreated ex-racehorses and nurse them back to health for a great and well deserved retirement. Throw in a couple of self walking dogs and newly rescued donkey, organic lifestyle, log fire and it’s a pretty great scene really. Very entertaining to this city boy!

Full tour dates and further updates very shortly, just catching up around here, and many blessings on all your houses. Be they humble or nay.

Allan Holdsworth

I can’t allow the passing of Allan Holdsworth to go without comment. He was a major influence on my sound and technique in my formative years but I was really grabbed by the individuality and emotional truth in the music and this is what led me on. He was clearly one of the great musicians in a truly global sense. His compositions and unique,exploratory harmonic mechanisms reveal an artist as rooted in European classical music as the rock, progressive and jazz settings he found himself in.

The guitar was just a tool to him. The antithesis of players such as Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck, there was always the sense that he was battling through the instrument to get to the music pure, rather than allow it’s idiosyncracies to dictate his approach in any sense.

His modesty in his achievements was legendary but I have no doubt whatsoever that his name and music will endure down the centuries as one of the great musical visionaries and pioneers along with Bach, Stravinsky, Coltrane and The Beatles.

So God speed Allan Holdsworth. With the greatest respect, affection and thanks for the leaving the world a little more beautiful than you found it.

NK in UK. Gala Concerts.

Still slightly stunned from Nigel Kennedy’s concerts at Birmingham Symphony Hall and London Royal Albert Hall. Never jaded about playing, it’s a deeper joy all the time but it’s hard to quantify what it means to a musician to share the stage not only with the maestro but with such ultra special guests as  Jean-luc Ponty, and Georgi Nandreev.

Also great to see Robert Plant again and indeed a couple of days later when we sat in on Debbie Bonham’s gig in Worcester (for which I broke out my 335. Tone! Forgotten how much these guitars come alive in a way a solid never does ). Debs and Pete, her bloke and guitarist are old mates and I’m looking forward to touring with them when I’m teaming up with Debs in May for the Paul Rogers tour. Details coming soon. Just catching up here…

Throw in a some commercial sessions and I’m grateful for a fine a start to a working year as I’ve ever had. Nigel’s two concerts in particular I was thrilled to be involved with. Somewhat overwhelming to meet so many high calibre musicians, and to re-unite with colleagues of great excellence. All in all way too much to process. Multiple flashbacks, sounds, faces and places all collide and I find myself slightly floating. I’ll be refreshing this site as I drift back to earth. Lots more great stuff looming for this year. Stay tuned!

Christmas Message

May I say first of all that my software appears unable to create proper paragraphs at the moment so I apologise for this.

 

I’ve seen some strange times but as it draws to a close I must concur that 2016 has been one of the most perplexing and frankly saddening years yet.

I am truly blessed to be a musician as to be immersed in that realm is as to sit at the feet of a great teacher. When we are moved by music we are responding to it’s message that beauty is truth, truth is beauty and that truth will ultimately set us all free.
Let me say now that I am not a great fan of Christmas. I totally understand the desire to immerse oneself in it’s sensory overload as it is to indulge in any other comfort seeking drug. I have taken that journey too and as Yoko Ono said “anything can be a drug”. I have always respected her courage to speak her truth in the face of mass mockery and persecution from ‘authorities’ both political and cultural. We have seen this courage too in the expressions of Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell and indeed John Lennon. Let us never forget the light and hope they have bought into the world. All have shunned the comfort zone of mass approval and acceptance to challenge us and to speak their truth as they experience it.
I am privileged too have experienced this force at close hand through my work with two other great and outspoken artists, Robert Plant and Nigel Kennedy. Make no mistake this is a lonely path indeed and is not driven by ego but but by the need to express a deeper truth that this corrupted world may become more enlightened, liberated and joyful, and for this I salute them.
Make no mistake, all these great artists are/were not perfect. They were deeply flawed as we all are. Shades of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, chemical and behavioural addictions and Cognitive Dissonance plague creatives. Partly existing to carve out the necessary space to create. What truly great artists have found through the crucible of their self examination and the inevitable pain, is courage, discipline and an ultimate purity of aim and thus the very real hope of transcendence.
So let’s look beyond the shallow sentimental tinsel and consumerism of the season to the greater lesson that this year has bought us. There may be struggle ahead but we are all individually responsible and the choice is stark, simple and never more urgent…
We can act out of fear or we can act out of love.
In all that we think, all that we do and in all that we are let us be deeply honest with ourselves as to what is driving us ...










…and for the sake of harmony and peace in this world let 2017 be the year that we act out of love.

… and as a certain storm cloud is rolled over the horizon I am now feeling personally somewhat lighter, festive and downright optimistic. Not to count chickens but now looking like NK’s Hendrix project with orchestra is gonna fly again next year. Now THAT’s class.