One of the most refreshing elements of the International Guitar Festival of Great Britain is the selection of workshops and events that engage with the audiences and look at different elements of guitars and guitar music in more depth.
One such event that leapt out of the festival brochure at us is Gerry Murphy’s ‘A Voyage Around My Guitar’ (Sunday 21st November) so we caught up with Gerry and asked him all about it.
What’s your festival workshop all about?
Nowadays, I’m always looking at new gear. In truth, I’ve owned very few guitars from new and the best guitars I have are second hand. In recent years and after realising that the guitars I have come from all over the world, this always led me to imagine who might have owned the guitars before me and what it had meant to them and of course, how they ended up in my hands.
For example, I have a classical guitar made in East germany during the Communist era. First of all it showed they knew about guitars because it is well made and secondly it could have been owned by a rebellious young East German listening to the American Forces Network, Radio Luxembourg or the Voice of America for the rock & soul of the West. The same things we were all listening to.
In a nutshell therefore the “voyage” is part fact and part fancy and all about the guitars from the U.K., Brazil, Kalamazoo, East Germany, Japan, Califonia and China.
How important is it for a musician to find the right instrument, and what are your top tips for finding one?
Though you don’t realise it when you are young, music is all around us, we just pull it together out of the interaction between the mind and the time and the place. Any guitar that can resonate with the acoustics of your mind, emotions and your room, wherever that may be, will make you a better musician; a guitar which is in tune with itself and which is set up to be played well will make you a better player. The combination of this with an active and poetic desire for expression makes you a songwriter which is what I do.
Kalamazoo Gibson Gospel
Of all the instruments you own, which is your favourite and why?
The Kalamazoo Gibson Gospel is a war-horse which has seen me through any and every type of gig especially in the early days when we were pioneering the electrified acoustic sets which is so popular today in out and out Rock venues which were sceptical of us. It has it all. The Di Giorgio “Bossa Nova” Brazillian “classical” guitar is simply in a league of its own and I relish the years ahead learning how to play it.
However my current favourite is the “Golden Vision” my own customised guitar from a Chinesebody and neck and parts from all over the world mounted by Frets of Longmoor Lane. It’s an ES137 copy with a Jazzy spin. Don’t know where to star with it yet, but I’ll find out!
Apart from gigging do you do any other work? I am proud to say that I work in Special Needs music education and lead songwriting workshops all over the place from universities to youth clubs.
How have you been influence musically over the years, and by whom?
When I was a kid music tastes were split between Dylan and Motown and never the twain would meet, believe me! Then I came along and loved it all.
I like the most poppy of pop songs and the deepest of deep soul, and everything in between. Therefore my favourites have been:Tony Joe White, Lucio Dalla, Zimmerman, Bowie, Martyn, Bacharach, King, Nyro, Lennon & McCartney, McManus, Goldfrap, Gaga, Rebenack, Mayfield and Holland Dozier and Holland….for starters.
Thank you, you have a lucky face…
Gerry Murphy’s workshop ‘A Voyage Around My Guitar’is on Sunday 21st November at 4.30pm in the Tivoli Suite at the Floral Pavilion.
Tickets are £10 (£8 conc) and can be bought from bestguitarfest.com – a ticket for this workshop will grant you access to all the live performances in the Winter Gardens too so keep hold of your ticket throughout the day!
Liverpool Acoustic is the only website of its kind in the UK. It was founded by Graham Holland in April 2008 as a central resource for the vibrant and exciting acoustic music scene in Liverpool and the Greater Merseyside area. The website publishes news from the local acoustic music scene, previews of upcoming events, reviews of music releases and gigs, and the Liverpool Acoustic Spotlight podcast. This content is available for free via email subscription. The diary lists acoustic events including festivals, theatre concerts, folk clubs, showcases and open mic nights.