Season 2, Ep. 3
This week, I welcome Barrie Cadogan to the podcast.Barrie's from Nottingham, and started playing guitar in his teens after hearing the Stone Roses' debut album. As he explains in the episode, that record, and John Squires' playing, had a massive impact on him, leading him on to all sorts of other guitarists and playing styles.He formed his band, Little Barrie, not long after, recorded their early material and moved to London. The band's debut, We Are Little Barrie, was released in 2005, followed by Stand Your Ground, King of the Waves, Shadow and finally Death Express, which was released in 2017. Sadly the band's drummer, Virgil Howe, passed away the day before the band were due to head out to tour that record, so they've been on a break since then. As Barrie reveals in the interview, however, he and Lewis have been busy and there will be new Little Barrie music coming later this year.Barrie's also well known as a guitarist in other people's bands, famously playing in Primal Scream between 2006 and 2015 and for Paul Weller, Edwyn Collins, Steve Mason, Spiritualized, Anton Newcombe, Johnny Marr and, as he explains, he was Matt Johnson's guitarist during The The's recent tours. If you're fan of Better Call Saul, you will also be familiar with Barrie's guitar playing - that's him playing the show's intro music.Thanks to Gibson for letting us use their showroom to record the episode. And go to Littlebarrie.com to find out when the band have more shows and music coming up.
Season 2, Ep. 2
This week, I welcome Ben Watt to the podcast.Ben is, of course, best known as one half of Everything But The Girl, the duo he and Tracy Thorn formed in 1982 after meeting at Hull University. They released 10 albums, amassing millions of sales around the world.Prior to that career, however, both Ben and Tracy had already released music - Tracy as part of Marine Girls, and Ben with Robert Wyatt and then as a solo artist. That solo music is what we focus on here - particularly North Marine Drive, his debut, released on Cherry Red records in 1983, and its follow up, Hendra, released 31 years later, and featuring the former Suede guitarist and record producer Bernard Butler.Ben and Bernard worked together again for Ben's third album, 2016's Fever Dream. In the interview, we discuss all of that, as well as Ben's new album, Storm Damage, which was released at the end of January, his love of John Martyn, performing live, working with David Gilmour and, of course, his numerous guitars.Ben is on tour in the UK from February 27, beginning in Leeds, and tours the US at the end of March. For more information on that, go to benwatt.com
Season 2, Ep. 1
Welcome to the second series of Star Guitar. And the first guest is Marika Hackman.After a string of early EPs, she released her debut album, We Slept At Last, in 2015, followed by I'm Not Your Man, recorded with The Big Moon, in 2017. Any Human Friend, her fantastic third album, was released in August 2019.She invited me to her house late last year to go through he gorgeous collection of Fender Mustangs and chat about her approach to guitar playing. I hope you enjoy the episode.Marika is on tour from February 24, beginning in Manchester, and she's also announced a handful of festival appearances. For more information on all that, go to her website, www.marikahackman.com
Season 1, Ep. 5
This is the fifth and final episode of this first series of Star Guitar - and it's a suitably great episode to go out on, I think. My guest is Wilko Johnson, formerly of Canvey Island pub-rock pioneers Dr Feelgood.Famed for his inimitable, rhythmic style of playing and incredible stage presence, Johnson has been described by the likes of Paul Weller as one of the most influential British guitarists of all time. At the age of 72, he certainly shows no signs of slowing down, with a tour announced for 2020. I went to his house in Southend in the summer of 2018 - yes, this recording was made a while ago but Wilko's remarkable story remains the same - where Wilko demonstrated his unique playing style, told me about his beloved 1962 Telecasters and matching Stratocaster and explained what it was like being given a terminal cancer diagnosis (or misdiagnosis as it turned out) in 2013, and what happened when he went to Rockfield Studios in Wales to record his most-recent album, Blow Your Mind. I have more episodes in the bag and some others lined up, so Star Guitar will be back in the New Year. Until then, enjoy Wilko Johnson.
Season 1, Ep. 4
My guest in this episode is Charles Watson. He was once one half of Slow Club with Rebecca Taylor, the duo they formed in 2006 when they were in school. Five excellent albums later, they went their separate ways, and Charles is now a member of The Surfing Magazines, a garage rock four-piece he formed with members of The Wave Pictures, and a solo artist with a brilliant debut to his name. Listen to Now That I'm A River, released on Moshi Moshi, in 2018. I've long admired his unshowy but hugely effective guitar-playing, so I was keen to talk to him for an episode. He likes talking about guitars as much as I do, so it's no surprise we got quite nerdy quite quickly. He talked me through his collection of guitars and some others that have come and gone over the years, plus gave an update on where he's up to with album No 2 and the score he's been working on for Mae Martin's new Netflix series. For more information on Charles, go to his Bandcamp page here and if you want to see the video for Now That I'm A River we were talking about, the link is here.
Season 1, Ep. 3
This week's guest is one of Manchester's finest singer songwriters, Liam Frost. With his band Liam Frost and the Slowdown Family, he released his debut album, Show Me How the Spectres Dance, in 2006. His second, We Ain't Got No Money, Honey, But We Got Rain, was released in 2009 on Sony imprint Lavolta. This was about the time I first met him and noticed his beautiful array of guitars. There have been many shows since then, but his third album was a long time coming. The Latchkey Kid was finally released in September and features some of Liam's very best songs. I was keen to have him on the podcast to talk about his guitars and his music, so jumped at the chance when he was in London recently to perform. Watch out for the location change midway through, but settle in for a typical warm conversation with Liam, all about getting his first guitar when he was four, to purchasing some vintage classics and more. There's even a brilliant Guy Garvey impression. If you'd like to find out more about Liam and his music, go to his website here, or follow him on Instagram.
Season 1, Ep. 2
Jessica Staveley-Taylor is singer and guitarist in The Staves, the band she formed with her sisters, Emily and Camilla, in 2009.They signed to Atlantic Records not long after, and released their debut album, Dead & Born & Grown in 2012. The follow-up, If I Was, came out in 2015, followed by a collaboration with yMusic in 2017. Jess's dad taught her to play guitar when she was in her mid teens and, within a few years, she knew she wanted to pursue a career in music. A few weeks ago, she came to my house with her beautiful Martin HD-28 to share a pot of coffee and tell me all about her guitars, playing and where The Staves are up to with album No 3. Enjoy.
Season 1, Ep. 1
Bill Ryder-Jones, a guitarist, singer-songwriter and producer from the north-west of England, although that description might make him feel uncomfortable. Once upon a time, he was in a band called The Coral, but since leaving in 2008, he has released a string of widely acclaimed, musically adventurous and beautiful albums. He invited me up to his studio on the Wirral to talk about his guitars, how he came to play the instrument and lots, lots more. He is currently on tour around the UK with Yawny Yawn, a piano reworking of his previous album, Yawn. For more information on Bill, go to his website. The link to the Q profile mentioned in the outro is here.