I got into acoustic guitar at the age of 21 after seeing the Acoustic Routes documentary about Bert Jansch. For some reason my infatuation with Suzanne Vega didn’t lead to my picking up the guitar. I’m not sure why I didn’t make the logical leap then, but I sure did when I heard Bert.
I learned pretty quickly and took my first guitar to the University of St Andrews, where it was my constant companion during essay stress, beach parties and whatever else was going on pretty much. I even got a scholarship for a semester’s worth of lessons with the classical guy, who was rather delighted to have someone that wanted to learn Bert-style country blues picking, though he was rather rubbish at it. Ha ha!
I even wooed my wife-to-be with my guitar at Bradford University, nervously knocking on her door in the halls to ask if she’d like to hear me play. She did, and we’ve been together ever since!
I got my first decent acoustic in Luxembourg in 2001, a Lakewood M14 in cedar / mahogany. I adored that guitar and it launched my obsession into the stratosphere.
Then came discoveries. Tony McManus was the biggest one – his music still does that thing to me, but there were so many others: El McMeen, Tommy Emmanuel, Martin Simpson, the list just goes on and on.
I got into the guitar forums online and became a regular in many of them, finally starting my own called Celtic Guitar Talk. It’s still online though rather quiet now since the rise of the Facebooks and Instagrams of the world. I keep it there simply because it had a lot of great content published on it, including a lot of sheet music.
I got in deep pretty quick and was buying and selling acoustic guitars pretty regularly, getting a real feel for how the guitar worked in terms of size, woods, build, the whole nine. It’s been a fun time and I’m still doing it now, though it’s slowed a little as I’ve learned what does it for me and what I simply couldn’t sell!
The forums led to lots of travel. I started going to the Georgia USA for annual jams at Little Brother’s place and met some of the best people I’ve ever met there. I attended Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Kamp in 2005 for two weeks and became the European distributor of Red Bear picks. I played at and attended festivals all around Europe, having a blast, meeting luthiers and players alike.
I moved back to Scotland from Luxembourg in 2008 and was soon playing in two bands: lead guitar and vocals in a bluegrass band and accompaniment in a Scottish wedding band.
In 2018 I discovered Steemit, a social media platform built on the Steem blockchain. I saw pretty much straight away what a good fit it was for me and jumped in with both feet. I started this podcast as a result of that discovery as it offers a place for earning cryptocurrency for publishing good content. I started this channel in May 2018 as I was going to the annual RMMGA UK gathering. I took my mics, found some courage and asked a few players and luthiers if they’d be up for recording an interview with me.
And here we are!