Music

I play the guitar a lot, although usually with more enthusiasm than finesse. I’ve put some of my old recordings up on this page in the hope that it’ll motivate me to get more recorded soon.

Some of the tracks were recorded during residencies at the Crane Lane Theatre during the Cork Jazz Festivals of 2008 and 2009; others are studio recordings I’ve done with various line-ups. The vocalist on the ones with vocals is Amy Matthews, a great singer who I really should hang out with more often. In case you’re wondering what OUJO is, it’s the Oxford University Jazz Orchestra, which I managed to talk my way into sometime around the turn of the millennium without actually going through the compulsory audition process. As of September 2017, OUJO is still using tracks from the CD that track comes from (recorded in 2002) in its official demo. When not trying to play jazz, I like to indulge a secret passion for disco rhythm guitar with the band funktonite.

The track ‘Make it in the end’ probably wouldn’t have made it up here in the normal run of things – the playing is really scrappy in places (especially me). However, it’s the only extant recording of the only disco-pop tune I’ve ever co-written. Plus the bass playing is outstanding – good work Mr John Rixon!

Guitarists like to talk about what equipment they use; it fills that awkward gap in conversation where people with more developed social skills would make small talk. Here goes:

Guitars: 2002 Fender USA Telecaster, 2000 Fender USA Stratocaster, home-made telecaster (pictured on the right) held together with gaffer tape and plastic wood. All retro-fitted with pickups made by the fantastic Jason Lollar. Also (recently) a Godin 5th Avenue archtop.

Amps: THD Bivalve, Crate Vintage Club 30, Fender Blues Junior (the latter heavily modded in accordance with the wisdom of BillM, online Fender amp guru. Don’t try this at home, kids – it requires you to get comfortable discharging over 340 volts from one side of the main filter capacitor using only a small piece of wire and a crocodile clip.)

Pedals: all manner of stuff. But right now my favourite is definitely the Electro-Harmonix Soul Food, which is the clearest, most musical distortion pedal I’ve heard in ages. And everyone needs to invest in good delay: I generally alternate between the Boss RE-20 and the TC Electronic Hall of Fame Mini.