Hello! Hope all is well and you’re enjoying the sunshine!
As things finally look like they are coming back around, I wanted to drop you a quick line to let you know about this year’s plans. It’ll be great to pick up where Thom Ashworth and I left off back in 2019 with some joint dates in Chester at SoundBox on 9th July, and in London at the Green Note on 19th July.
In between I’ll be heading to one of my absolute favourite places, Halsway Manor, to run my guitar masterclass, this is always a wonderful meeting of like minds – and there’s a gig on the Thursday night. If you’ve been brushing up on your skills during lockdown and you fancy a week in the Somerset sun, maybe you’d like to join me there?
Then, it’s very good to finally be able to say that brilliant singer/songwriter Kirsty Merryn and I will be touring our joint project Life and the Land, alongside the EP which we’re launching on 3rd September.
This year more than ever it feels like we should appreciate the joy of the seasons and we’ve found some great songs to do it with. Dates for your diary in the poster just here. This should be a really fun show, if you’re lucky enough to have tickets to the (sold out) Magpie’s Nest festival this weekend, you might get a sneak preview!
Some venues have tickets on sale already, and some will be available soon, so do please keep an eye out for links and updates.
If we’re in your area we would love to see you on the road, all being well!
Cheers and all the best,
Those of you who follow my guitar playing with interest, will know over the years I’ve been strongly affiliated with the guitars of one Roger Bucknall, of Fylde Guitars.
My first proper performance guitar was a second hand Alchemist, bought from Hobgoblin Music in London, which I still have and am very fond of indeed. If you’ve seen me play live, you’ve also probably seen the beast that is my fan-fret Falstaff – that’s the guitar I’m clutching at the top of this website…
However… as goldilocks once said to the three bears, some things are just right. This new guitar is closer in size to my (smaller) Alchemist, which makes it super easy to play when trying to make weird stretches, but has just enough grunt to be able to do what it needs to do at the bottom end without me having to really attack it.
For the guitar connoisseurs amongst you, the back and sides are figured walnut, and very lovely. The top is sinker redwood, which lives up to the hype, sitting somewhere between the spongy response of cedar, and the golf-ball thwack of spruce. It’s also 12 frets to the body, and has an LR Baggs Dual system in place, meaning I’ll be able to experiment in stereo 😁
I’ve already started writing with it – if you’d like to hear what it sounds like, click the link below!
Touring might have been curtailed but Ben Walker’s new instrumental EP The Rakes of Adair takes the listener on a charming trip from England to Ireland and back again with five tunes first set down in the 1700s or earlier.
Reviewers of Ben’s 2019 debut solo album Echo remarked on ‘hauntology reminiscent of Gavin Bryars’ (The Guardian), calling it ‘a profound statement connecting past and present’ (fRoots). With this new record Ben picks up an earlier thread.
His 2018 EP The Fox on the Downs explored eighteenth century English tunes following his Lost Tunes EFDSS residency with Leveret’s Rob Harbron at Cecil Sharp House. Reviewers pronounced it ‘jaw-dropping’ (Folk Radio UK), and ‘almost obscenely good’ (Fatea).
The second EP in what looks set to become a series exploring this particular era, The Rakes of Adair whisks us back three hundred years through deceptively simple, exquisite fingerstyle guitar, pure pleasure to hear.
Ben says: ‘ I’m still fascinated by what was happening in the eighteenth century and how people started to value these old tunes and write them down for us to find. I spend a lot of time with English music but I often play a couple of Irish tunes at gigs just because they’re so much fun to play – not being on the road I’ve finally had time to record a few! Some of them made their way across the sea and back again. When you play in Ireland you feel the music very close to the surface, every pub feels on the cusp of a session; there’s usually a story behind the tune, too. Hopefully we can all enjoy live music together again soon.
All proceeds from this record will go to Macmillan Cancer Support. A very dear friend of mine lost her life to cancer last year so this is something I wanted to do to remember her.’
The Rakes of Adair will be released on Folkroom Records as a limited edition CD on November 6th 2020.