Andrew York in Quebec – Loom of Desire – International Guitar Night

I’ve had the great fortune over the years of being friends and associates with the very talented Grammy winning guitarist Andrew York, who’s been part of International Guitar Night three times and will join us for our 11th season as well. Andrew’s got an knack for channelling technique into a musical sensibility that can impresses the novice while remaining authentically sublime. His groundbreaking compositions range from epic classics like “Sunburst/Jubilation” to profoundly emotive pieces like “By Candelight” and “Letting Go.”

Andrew and I first met at a double bill series I co-produced in 1994 at the New Conservatory Theatre. We hit it off well and a few years after that I called Andrew to ask if he’d record “Loom of Desire” with me for my solo album, Legacy.  We went down to LA and set up shop to record the piece in his living room. I remember his dog Miles lounging there with us, and also remember having to stop recording a few times because a feral parrot in the palm tree across the street was squawking loudly.  Here’s a version being performed in one of my favorite places, Quebec:

This was a pretty inspiring time in my life. Music, and especially this piece, was playing a transformative role. The duet had come about by following the musical advice of my friend Pierre Bensusan, to sing the line and have the melody rendered reflect the voice. Employing this process really changes perspective on many aspects of guitar composing– how you finger the melody, for example, is quite different when it’s been touched by a voice.

In the case of this piece, and many pieces thereafter, I took the process a step further, and wrote lyrics as well. I gave these lyrics to Andrew in advance, so he had an idea of what was brewing in my mind along with the melody. The end result has had a lasting impression which results in us never tiring of playing the piece together. Here are the lyrics:

Loom of Desire by Brian Gore

(Vs 1)

Who are we to try and walk before we could crawl from the sea

Only human not immortal but cannot see how the presumption sometimes cripples

You and me who must stand before we fall

(Chorus 1)

Though my father breathes inside me he’s salt inside my skin

He’s never been beside me though I love him to the end

And I want so much to hold you but can barely s at all

Through to the strange solace love can heal it all love can heal at all

(Vs 2)

I’m ready feel the love I have inside me stand steady though I tremble at your call

Can’t believe what you feel is not confusion not deceived the same things shape us all

(Chorus 2)

Though my mother breathes inside me it’s like salt on broken skin

Like a loom of pain that binds me to the source where tears begin

And I want so much to hold you But can barely s at all

Through to the strange solace love can heal it all

(Instrumental interlude— Bridge)

We all come from the water hear echoes of the sea

The salt inside our eyes confounds the view

Freedom looms the shoreline it ebbs and lets us fall

It’s the comfort when we falter not the pain that blinds us all

(Vs. 1- End)

It’s very satisfying to have singers performing this with me in double bill shows. Susan Z is performing it here:

International Guitar Night Live Album Series

Last week, my new friend and producer Wynn Gogol sent the next to final rounds of mixes for our “INTERNATIONAL GUITAR NIGHT LIVE” series recording.  I’m going to give a listen to the material this weekend and will probably provide some audio highlights as a preview here at this blog early next week. Stay tuned if you’re interested. This year, we also have a high quality DVD for the tour that’s being produced by Warmland Studios.

It’s a very cool group we have this year; Django Reinhardt’s great grand nephew Lulo Reinhardt, legendary harp guitarist Stephen Bennett, and a very cool pianist/guitarist from Israel, Itamar Erez....

Check it out:

Hard to believe it, but this is our 10th season as a touring act. We started out as a Bay Area thing more than 15 years ago, working in small venues like Strings and the Freight and Salvage, and California World Music Festival. With the help of the Herschel Freeman Agency, Bert Jansch’s booking agent in the UK, John Barrows, and select sponsors like Stonebridge Guitars and Acoustic Guitar Magazine, we’ve grown into a global thing with up 60 shows each season in very classy venues.

After going round and round for years on what kind of releases to produce with IGN, Herschel and I decided that a one of a kind live album series would be best. But, how to do this? We got the live album concept going with the help of Steve Vai and Favored Nations Records. Peppino D’Agostino, whose solo projects are on Steve’s label, put in a good word for IGN with him. Then, friend and Guitar Night alum Pierre Bensusan put together the opportunity for us to record the first album with them. We recorded each show nightly, with the help of our manager Rich Rice, of the California Brazil Camp, We then selected the best pieces for inclusion on the album It featured Pierre and me along with the Brazilian composer-genius Guinga, and three time Grammy winner Andrew York. It was a great album and a dream come true to play with these guys. Check out these cuts from the Favored Nations release, An Evening with International Guitar Night, Live”:

Pierre Bensusan, Andrew York, Guinga, Brian Gore: “How Should I Know?”

Andrew York: “Moontan”

Pierre Bensusan and Guinga: “Without You”

Andrew York and Brian Gore: “Loom of Desire”

A few years after this album, I called an old friend who worked with Warner, Canada, Mike Peters. Mike and I had known each other for years as friends, but it had never occurred to me to ask him to help with our album series. We had a 25 city tour coming up, and we wanted the album out *before* the tour, so people could buy it at the shows. The line up featured Peppino D’Agostino and Andrew White, and also was the national debut of Antoine DuFour. Antoine was a relatively unknown player at the time who gave me his first CD after a show in Quebec:

We got together in Victoria, rehearsed for two days, and recorded a show which was then released on the second IGN LIVE album. And that process really laid the groundwork for the series. It’s a bit of a trial by fire thing, but never let it be said that solo guitarists aren’t up for a good challenge, right?  So far I’d say we’ve all done a pretty good job with it, too. Since then we’ve released two others. IGN LIVE II with Madagascar guitar legend, D’Gary, Miguel de la Bastide, and Clive Carroll;

And also, IGN LIVE III with Cecilia Zabala, Dale Kavanagh and Andy Sheppard.

Paranoid Android (not on the album!)

I get to accompany on all these albums, which is a pretty good gig indeed. Stage right has been my front row seat to some of the best guitar music on the planet, which is a consistently humbling and inspiring thing!