Thursday, 13 September 2012

Andy McKee, Jon Gomm and Preston Reed in concert

Last night was an absolute privilege to attend the first date of the Guitar Masters UK tour at The Quarterhouse in Folkestone. To see three such incredible exponents of modern acoustic guitar playing on one bill was fantastic and in a terrific intimate venue made it superb.

Jon Gomm kicked off the night taking to the stage with his trusty "Wilma" his beloved Lowden which sows the signs of his playing style due to his vigorous percussive techniques the table is heavily worn across most of itself. Jon ran through a selection of material from the recent Domestic Science singles series back to early material. All played in his own style as his fingers fly across the fret board and strings picking, tapping and slapping the body etc his case feet are dancing on his effects pedals keeping the sound in check. Many of Jon's tunes are songs and he hear I great vocal delivery to accompany his phenomenal playing. All too soon he departed the stage and Preston Reed came on.

Now of the three I'll be honest Preston was the one I knew the least about going into last night, I was aware of the name but wasn't aware of his music.  That is something I will be addressing.  Both Jon and Andy throughout their sets and the entire evening made many references to Preston being a huge influence on themselves and being a true pioneer in modern acoustic guitar playing.  He was a mighty impressive player - a very tall man coming over somewhat shy but once he started playing the guitar it was sublime.  He played one tune inspired by the Japanese bullet train called Shinkansen that truly did have me thinking I was on that train, his percussive style incredible to see in action.  I will be seeking out more of his music in the near future I'm sure.

Last up was Andy McKee.  Andy has carved a niche in the world of modern acoustic guitar players and is revered the world over.  He has a wide range of styles from intricate fingerpicked ballads, complex fast country style pieces and many atmospheric partial capo modal tuning instrumentals.  Andy was on very very fine form not breaking step when on one retune on his absolutely stunning fan fretted Greenfield guitar he simply picked up his Baritone and carried on including reworking some of his tunes there and then to a baritone compromise.  Just brilliant!

For the finale Preston and Jon returned and the three played together on stage for the first time ever (this being the first date of the tour).  For Jon's tune they played Waterfall which I was really happy about as the omission of that from his set was the only negative of the night so far for me.  They all added something special to each others tunes ending on Preston's Lady's Night and they left the stage to rousing applause and cheering.  We briefly got to shake their hands in the foyer on the way out and as ever I went into goofy fan/idol praise mode!

So they are on the road in the UK for another 19 dates.  If you can get there, support live music and watch three masters enjoying their art - I promise who will leave enriched and inspired.

Here is a video of Preston Reed performing Shinkansen from a few years back...


  1. Oh. My. God.
    I've just fallen in love . . . AGAIN!!
    That's brilliant, I'm off to You Tube to check out all three of them and the tour dates.
    Thanks for that, that must've been some concert. Take care x

  2. I like your album and concert reviews. (Albums?! I just dated myself.) Have you ever seen Willy Nelson's guitar? You will never see a more beat to shit specimen.

  3. I'm so glad you had the chance to attend and had a great time. I love that you are able to enjoy so many concerts!!

  4. Wow! Wonderful. Glad you had a chance to go. And thanks for sharing.