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After fruitless attempts to learn the violin and piano I became obsessed with the guitar at the age of ten after a student teacher we had at the time one day brought her guitar in to school. It was a truly life changing moment.
Fortunately my brother had been given a classical guitar and I wasted no time in “stealing” it and teaching myself a reasonable repertoire of chords. Somehow it felt the most natural thing in the world (the chords not the stealing bit!).
Eventually I acquired my own axe, a magnificent Kay steel string acoustic bought off the catalogue. On this instrument I learned the songs of Paul Simon and made my first, nervous public performance as part of a duo with my mate Adrian Shearing - with whom I have collaborated many times over the years - at a secondary school on Hayling Island, on the same bill as Julia Fordham.
Sometime during the late 1970’s everything changed. The local radio folk music show played a strangely exotic song accompanied by the most otherworldly guitar playing I had ever heard. The song was called “Seven Yellow Gypsies” and was performed by a chap called Martin Carthy. It was my first conscious experience of traditional music. It was a revelation and I was hooked.
After that I would tape the programme every week and play the results to my school mates who, to my constant surprise, were largely unmoved by the likes of Carthy, Nic Jones, Planxty and Bert Jansch. This was after all the heyday of punk rock, although it largely passed me by.
However, the discovery of the electric guitar a few years later sent me down the road to the land of pub rock with a succession of bands and though not entirely neglected, folk music took a temporary back seat while new musical influences such as Led Zeppelin, The Stranglers, XTC, Jimmy Hendrix and Frank Zappa and later Pat Metheny and John Schofield were belatedly discovered and revisited.
In 1990 I enrolled at Musicians’ Institute, Hollywood, California, which provided the formal musical education and training that I had previously rejected but which now made more sense to me. This was a fantastic learning experience and gave me a musical discipline I might not otherwise have acquired, however, upon returning to London I once more returned to my folk roots where I felt most at ease and this is where I feel I belong. Since this time I have played at a variety of clubs, festivals with an eclectic mix of people and bands and am presently pursuing a solo career, performing and recording mostly traditional music from the British Isles. I have produced two solo albums to date, “Work and Strong Beer”, and “Villains, Love and Justice” and I am currently planning my third.