For someone who doesn’t actually play guitar, the instrument seems to play a rather important role in my life. I am lucky enough to live with three particularly handsome guitars, along with an even more handsome player-of-guitars 🙂
And I just love them. How they look. How they sound (when played properly). And, at the risk of sounding a bit philosophical, I love what they represent – I see them as an incredibly intimate way to tell stories, and as a passport to the world – music and maths are the only truly international languages – so I’m envious of those who use them to bare their soul.
But when those storytellers are young, or at least younger than me, my envy turns to pride. That they have found an outlet, a friend, that adds so much to their lives, and that they choose to introduce us all to them through their music.
Mark Durnin is a young musician from my hometown – Dundalk, Ireland, who is now based in Glasgow. He has been described as “an exceptionally talented singer/songwriter…who’s lyrical poetry and subtle, sweet melodies will engulf the senses” (Dundalk Leader). Yep, I agree on all fronts. But I think that Mark’s real talent lies in his ability to speak directly to you, and you alone. It’s rare to find someone who brings you into their songs, rather than expecting you sit back and enjoy them. And Mark’s lyrics are wonderful, so…. effortless. The combined effect is that after a set, you feel like you know and understand him, not just that you liked his stuff.
See, I DO know Mark. Very well in fact. He is my nephew, making me his proud auntie 🙂 Mark has been a guitar man for a long time, and had been in several bands as a teenager. And we’re a pretty musical family (I blame the parents), so I always assumed he’d be good. But honestly, when I first went to one of Mark’s gigs, I was completely blown away, and I continue to be, every time he pops up on my iPhone.
As a starter, may I recommend this SoundCloud page: https://soundcloud.com/mark-durnin/sets/acoustic-recordings-1 – it will give you all a flavour of just how bloody brilliant Mark is. You can thank me later 🙂 Or better yet, you can buy his stuff!
My second young guitar storyteller is Jodie Goffe, a 17-yr old singer songwriter from Balham, South London, who is in the midst of prepping for her A-levels. Jodie is signed to Smugglers Records, who describe her as having “a presence, poetry and wisdom well beyond her years”. I totally agree – Jodie is an old soul. Teenagers get a pretty tough time of it these days, constantly accused of being stupid, lazy, useless. Jodie’s music shows that, at least in her case, those ridiculous stereotypes are WAY off. She writes and performs like someone who has lived several lives, instead of being pretty close to the start of just one.
I’m also lucky enough to know Jodie very well. Mark is part of my ACTUAL family, but Jodie is part of my London family – the wonderful group of people I have been lucky enough to gather around me in my (almost) eight years in this great city. I used to tutor her big sister Ellie – herself a talented performer – and I help Jodie out with exam practise on occasion too. I’m hoping that on her gap year, Jodie will find time to write some more wonderful music, but in the meantime, here is her Soundcloud page – listen and enjoy: https://soundcloud.com/jodiegoffe
My love and I recently spent a happy afternoon in a guitar shop in Bath, and then another in one on Denmark Street. That time, we came home with a hollow-body-Gretsch (middle one in the picture), and every time he gets his dexterous hands on it , I smile. That’s the power of music I think, and especially guitar-driven music (for me). It’s the emotion, of both the performer and of those of us lucky enough to listen.
I’ll leave you with a beautiful song from John Denver – my love introduced me to this, and I will be forever thankful. Just wonderful. Enjoy 🙂 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m__yVh5h3e0