A global great at the International Guitar Festival.
Inspired by a couple of world renowned guitar makers based nearby the festival has run for over a decade, with support from the local council. This year’s event has the creative hand of Anthony Toner, fresh from organising birthday bashes for Van, at the helm and all the better for his presence.
Gig started bang on time, first up Stevie and Matt. These two are in the middle of a tour along with Ben Glover who is absent tonight. They perform a nice half hour set, three songs each. Good relaxed stuff, nice guitar work. They add harmonies, guitar and harmonica to each other’s songs. The trio have some other dates coming up including a headlining show in the CQAF. Well worth checking out.
After a short break Martin Carthy is on stage, a quick hello and he is off singing and playing. He looks lean and fit for, as he later describes himself “an old geezer”. He gives short but well-informed introductions to each song, starting with ‘Her Servant Man’, ‘Six Jovial Welshmen’, and ‘Sir Patrick Spence’. He is always careful to acknowledge his sources or references; Nic Jones, Mike Watterson. Simple Simon could learn from this?
The songs cover a huge variety of themes, many of them dark and dangerous, ‘Bill Norrie’ a tale of murder by beheading, ‘A Stitch In Time’, revenge for marital abuse. Three songs collected from gypsies, including ‘Georgie’ – a version of ‘Gordie’.
Other stand out songs included, ‘My Son John’, a version of ‘Mrs McGrath’ (recently covered by Bruce Springsteen), updated to include references to Iraq and Iran. Good points made about following “Cool Britannia”. Also the Adam McNaughton three minute version of ‘Hamlet’ delivered unaccompanied and word perfectly, no mean feat.
Guitar virtuoso Martin Carthy on stage in Ards. © Nurse Ratched