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Lesser known great guitarists

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  • 4 months later...

i've got a favourite lesser-known guitarist - he's amazing!! his name is clive barnes and he comes from enniscorthy in county wexford. he started out on electric but now he plays lapslide acoustic - he's really incredible!

One thinks perhaps of Ry Cooder, of J.J. Cale, of Kelly Joe Phelps, of old blues, jazz and bluegrass players. This guy must surely be from the Deep South, maybe the Mississippi Delta. Sorry, but your geography is just a tad out. Clive Barnes hails from South East Ireland, Enniscorthy to be exact.

When Clive Barnes plays lap slide guitar, the listener is instantly transported to the cradle of today's popular music. His empathy with blues and old time country music is absolute. "When I was younger, I listened to the old acoustic Delta blues men, then moved on to jazz then bluegrass followed by songwriters like Tom Waits, Springsteen, John Hiatt and so on. My playing style evolved from a combination of those influences. If you want to improvise, you've got to have an earth, as opposed to free jazz where everything gets thrown against the wall to see what sticks. I was looking for a way to be free with the music as a solo player. Using the skeletal structures of jazz and blues as a springboard, gave me the basis i needed to take the music anywhere I wanted during a performance. Lyrics have become a huge part of me too, the ability to paint a very vivid landscape of ordinary people in extraordinary places has become hugely important to the songs and live performances."

Barnes believes that the best way to perfect his craft is by playing as many live concerts as possible - between 150 and 200 dates a year. "If I was spending my time practicing in my room and playing just once a month, I don't think the things that have happened to me over the last years would have happened. I've toured with The Blind Boys Of Alabama, The Holmes Brothers, David Crosby, Bert Jansch, Solomon Burke, among others. It's taught me how to hold a large audience."

His consummate mastery of lap slide, 6 and 12 string guitar playing impressed them all, notably Bert Jansch. "Bert is not naturally outgoing but he was really forthcoming with me. He gave me advice, information, even his phone number and an invitation to come and stay. David Crosby described me as 'the nearest thing to an acoustic roller-coaster ride he's ever heard, which was really nice. Everyone's been supportive and encouraging."

Clive Barnes has a single-minded dedication to his music which reminds this writer of the young Rory Gallagher. Anyone following his career over the past couple of years cannot but have noticed how his sound has evolved, together with a parallel growth in self confidence evident from his second album the award winning "Welcome To Farewell" and followed by his latest "Goldtooth Cinnamon" which shows Clive is constantly pushing his own boundaries ever further.

" I don't think about trying to analyse my sound too much. If I think about it too much it might become forced; lose it's natural flow. I'm not a prolific songwriter but I try to move my songs out beyond the basic blues or jazz structures, to give my work an individual feel. People like Keith Jarrett can do that - it's Jazz, it's Blues, it's everything but it's Keith Jarrett and just sounds natural."

check out his website for more info!!

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Last year around this time I went to a G3 concert were all three of these guitarsists were on the same stage...it was amazing to see their different styles especially considering that satriani trained vai. Has anyone see Crossroads with the Karate Kid? Steve Vai was in that at the end, and it was amazing. Anyway, I voted Satriani.

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