Rock legend Gordon Giltrap plays a uniquely intimate show in a sleepy Lancashire village in just two weeks time – and it’s all thanks to the dream of a small group of local fans.
The genre crossing acoustic guitar hero will arrive to play a show in St Joseph’s Parish Hall, Hoghton, after a gang of former school friends decided to live out a childhood fantasy and book him for a show.
Giltrap, whose style encompasses folk, blues, folk rock, pop, classical and rock, began to learn the guitar aged 12.
Having never had any formal lessons, just a huge natural talent, he developed his own style and technique which helped to make his name when he began playing on the London folk scene, alongside the likes of Bert Jansch, John Renbourn and Mike Oldfield.
Aged 18, he signed to Transatlantic, at first as a folk artist. Then he turned more instrumental, releasing the album, Visionary, inspired by William Blake, in 1976. This record, his first big success, was when friends Francis Lawson and Brendan Cook became fans.
Francis says: “We had just left school, and one of the guys brings along this album by someone called Gordon Giltrap. He played it to all of us and it was instant.”
Francis and Brendan, known as Fran and Bren, became Giltrap fans, and with the advent of the internet, Fran joined Giltrap’s website and posted on his fan forum, asking how he communicated his songs to his band without reading or writing music.
He was stunned to get a reply and even more stunned when it said: “It’s complicated – tell you what, I’ll ring you and explain.” Fran says: “He was the nicest bloke you could wish to meet. They say you should never meet your heroes but he was wonderful.”
Next time they saw him in concert, Giltrap instructed them from the stage to come and say hello after.
Fran says: “He actually said then, ‘If you ever get a venue, I’d be delighted to come and play for you.’
Years later, they are finally making it happen, having hired out the intimate 90 seat hall for Saturday June 29.
Almost 70 seats have been sold and a handful of tickets remain, priced at £10, from F A B Promotions, C/O Cadley Post Office, 109a Black Bull Lane, Fulwood, or call 01772 717162 between 9am and 5.30am, Monday to Friday. Payment is by cheque or cash.
And the gig will be a reunion too. Fran said: “The great thing is I have got all of those guys who were in the room that first day I heard Gordon – and they are all coming to the gig!
“Although we have seen each other since, we have never been all together at the same time since that day in 1976!”