Many people rave about guitarists like Steve Hackett, Steve Howe and Anthony Phillips, but I think Gordon Giltrap is one of the most underrated British guitar players around. His technique on the acoustic guitar is quite unique and is probably of an even higher caliber as these aforementioned musicians together. During the seventies Giltrap stood in the spotlights of people who loved progressive rock music. I considered albums as Visionary (1976), Perilous Journey (1977), Fear Of The Dark (1978) and Peacock Party (1979) to be musical highlights on which he displayed his talents on both the electric and the acoustic guitar. The mostly instrumental tracks also contained some very tasteful keyboard work that was a treat for my ears. His music never got boring and the instrumental piece Heartsong from Perilous Journey even gave him a hit single in the U.K. However, owing to the rise of punk and new wave, many artists from that era fell into oblivion.
However, in 2006 I heard a sign of life from Gordon Giltrap. Together with several musical friends, including Rick Wakeman, he recorded the live CD/DVD Gordon Giltrap & Friends At The Symphony Hall Birmingham. In 2009, this live album resulted in From Brush & Stone, a duo-album with Wakeman on which you can experience how great a guitarist Giltrap is. Shining Morn is a brand new album that confirms anew why heís an underrated musician. The 24 instrumental tracks show a real master on the electric and acoustic guitar. In the booklet itís said that he used ten different guitars. Furthermore, of all performed songs a detailed story has been written by Mr. Giltrap himself.
The music on Shining Morn is very interesting even if the pieces are mellow and slow. Thanks to the help of his musical friends he succeeds in keeping you focused on the music. The contribution of musicians on flute and violin lifts the music to an even higher level. Especially, the songs that contain flute playing made me think of the acoustic albums of Steve Hackett recorded with his brother John Hackett. Good examples are Simply Margaret and Joy Ride. On the final track, Giltrap plays together with Rick Wakeman who performs on the additional and extended version of the title track some acoustic piano. For people familiar with Giltrapís older material itís nice to know that he rearranged an old piece from his Peacock Party-album. He played Dodoís Dream for years during live performances, so a new version of this piece is a perfect vehicle for trying some new devices like a Boss loop station and a Boss ME50 guitar effect device. Giltrap stated that he used no synthesizers on this track, but on some tracks he used a guitar synthesizer to get a richer sound.
I found Shining Morn a very relaxing album which you should play to forget all about your daily stress. Just sit down on the couch with your partner, light some candles, enjoy a fine glass of wine and let the music do the rest. What else do we needÖ!
*** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013