Ian's Music

Most of my family has had some involvement in music. My paternal grandfather was a piano tuner (apparently a very good one - he was blind, which may have some bearing), and my father played guitar in dance bands in the late 'forties and early 'fifties. On my mother's side, her paternal grandfather played the fiddle (although she never heard him; he stopped playing when she was born so as not to disturb her). Her father played piano, and my mother herself learned to play the chapel harmonium when she was still too small to reach the pedals. Later, after piano lessons, she became the accompanist for the male voice choir, of which her father was a member, and was a regular performer at musical festivals in the town.

It is, then, perhaps unsurprising that my brother and sister and I would 'inherit the music gene'. In both my brother and myself, it manifested as guitar-strumming, after an initial period on our father's hand-built ukeleles. Later, my brother would take music lessons at school and become an extremely poor saxophonist. Fortunately, he returned to the plucked string and is an excellent bass-player. My sister also took lessons, on the violin, and is now a competent guitarist. Three of her children are learning, two on guitar and one on bass.

My own leanings were, from the start, to the guitar, probably because there was always one available. The fact that it is a relatively simple instrument to play may also be a contributing factor. There was always a piano in the house, but it seemed more forbidding than the guitar. For some reason, I never took music lessons at school, although I studied music theory privately from my mother's books.

I bought my first guitar, an electric, at age 16 or so, having played my father's and brother's until then. A year or so later, I bought a better one, then a bass, then a twelve-string, then a standard acoustic. Over the years, I have accumulated quite a few instruments, including a dulcimer (which I had been taught to play by an old girl-friend), an auto-harp, a couple of mandolins, several keyboards and, more recently, a viola.

Most of my performing history has been at folk clubs, interspersed with countless rock bands which never played to an audience but had lots of rehearsals. Around 1990 I formed a more viable band, Chasing Unicorns, which played mainly at our local pub, and recorded a mini-album, 'The Long Weekend'. After its demise, I intended to record some of the music I had been writing which was unsuitable for Chasing Unicorns, but with the exception of a few pieces on 'See Inlay for Details', nothing came of the project. I now have some involvement with Busk-It, a jam-session band.

Details of my recorded material are available below.

The Long Weekend

See Inlay for Details


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