Guitars

My children are fond of boasting about their “cool mum” – I listen to their music and like the same bands – Linkin Park, Staind, Godsmack.
Some may think I’m just a baby boomer hanging on to my youth, but the truth is that I was brainwashed at a very young age by a father who loved the Guitar in all its forms, from the laments of the Spanish guitarists to the pounding of rock music. His own instrument was the banjo, but the guitar always held first place in his heart. He hoped I would learn to play, but I don’t have `guitarist fingers’ – they are kind of long and spidery and mine are on the stubby side.
I grew up listening to jazz and blues on the American Forces Network in Europe. He was always dragging me backstage to listen to a particularly fine guitar rift. When we worked with young musicians he was in seventh heaven, sitting around their dressing rooms and gigging – usually he was playing the banjo.
Back in the 60s we fell in love with Manitas de Plata, the gypsy guitarist who virtually took over British TV and the charts. The Concerto de Aranjuez could reduce us to tears.
My kids know they only have to turn up the volume on a haunting guitar riff to have me pounding in to listen. My son did this with me once when he first heard Gary Moore’s Still Got The Blues For you. He says I was fast asleep in bed but got up, sticky eyed and bed haired, saying “Who is THAT?”
My kids know I am a sucker for a good guitar, whether it is the incredible fingering of Mark Knopfler from Dire Straits or the orchestral sounding arrangements of Metallica.
Being so steeped in rock music, I was a natural for the job of entertainment reporter later in life when I worked on a newspaper in Penrith. One of my most enjoyable tasks was giving up and coming local bands a bit of publicity.
Recently I revisited Penrith and ran into Adam Rawson, a local rock artist. I had been mighty impressed with Adam’s band Normal Day while I worked at the Penrith Press, and jumnped at the chance to watch him perform on stage again.
I had always seen in him the true musical spirit that will defy anything just to play for the love of it – but when he got up on stage I saw a man who was perfectly at home there, a relaxed, skilled, knowledgable performer who could connect directly with an audience. It felt great to see how he had grown into his music. I used to predict a big future for Adam, now I am sure of it.
Even more exciting – my daughter Lucia also performed that night with the band Blacksmith’s Daughter. She is making a dream come true performing with a rock band (another one brainwashed!) and she and Tim and Andrew are pulling together a great sound with their own original music. I am so proud of her I could burst.
But I have to smile sometimes when I think it all started with the tinny, wavering AFN broadcasts and my father twiddling the radio dial to bring the station in late at night, so we could listen to the blues guitars.

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