Sketches from Memory

These recordings of solo acoustic guitar are largely autobiographical and recall scenes remembered from childhood days. I chose to try to capture the mood of these vignettes through music. The events they recall are not especially momentous or ground-breaking. Simple everyday things including memories of staring into a puddle on the edge of a pavement, watching the sun make patterns with the thin layer of oil/petrol floating on the surface; sitting on a wall in Manchester waiting for a bus; exploring the magical otherworld of my granddad’s greenhouses – the smell of tomatoes and vines; riding a small bicycle. Why do these things lodge in the memory when so much is forgotten? On a deeper level, perhaps they are of some significance….

These pieces mark the development of what, for me, is a different approach to playing the guitar. Instead of going across the strings and falling into the usual chord and scale clichés, I am now playing more along the strings. This forces, or perhaps encourages is a better word, me to think of melodies and harmonies in different ways. It also makes for more consistency of sound, since the tone can vary radically as you move from plain strings to wound strings. I remember years ago watching Martin Carthy play in this way and thinking how effective this was for him. My style is rather different, but nevertheless it owes something to this great player. It’s an approach which also demonstrates the ‘power of limits’. I have always admired the music made by musicians of North Africa who can get so much depth and subtlety from plucked stringed instruments with only two or three strings.

Here is a sneak preview of one of the tracks uploaded to Soundcloud.

The album is now available for streaming and download from iTunes, Amazon, Spotify etc.