Carolan has been down to The Smoke for a couple of days to see the sights and meet up with session guitarist Kevin Armstrong. The sights included a trip to meet the curators at the Victoria and Albert Museum, a research seminar at Imperial College and of course, a visit to Denmark Street, very much the spiritual home of British Guitar playing since the 1950s and known as Britain’s Tin Pan Alley. We drop in at Macari’s where we chat with owner Anthony about guitars and where a passing customer from Columbia takes an interest and plays us a few tunes. We think that we might even have been invited to a Columbian music festival.
Then we’re off to the Institute of Contemporary Arts for our interview with Kevin Armstrong. Kevin is one of that most revered breed of guitarists, the professional session player, as well as a producer, songwriter and composer for film and TV. He has played with David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Brian Eno, Thomas Dolby, Sinéad O’Connor, Morrissey and Prefab Sprout among many others. He was guitarist in the house band on the Jonathan Ross show. And he played guitar with Bowie at Live Aid! Are we gushing a bit here? Probably so, but it’s clear that Kevin knows a thing or two about guitars.
Kevin talks us through his current working collection of guitars, explaining the distinct role that each plays in his work.
The conversation then turns to aspects of playing the guitar that might potentially benefit from some kind of digital history, especially learning and remembering how to create particular sounds …
Finally, Kevin is kind enough to play us a quick tune on Carolan before we have to catch our train head back to the sticks.
Thanks for the stories and the tune Kevin. Lovely to meet you.