Lancashire-born, Devon-based musician Phillip Henry plays Southbourne’s Tuppenny Barn on October 27 (01243 377780; www.tuppennybarn.co.uk) on the back of a new solo album.
Phillip’s celebrated partnership with singer-songwriter, fiddle and banjo player Hannah Martin has been fruitful through five studio and live albums. Now renamed Edgelarks, Phillip and Hannah plan to release a new duo album in 2019.
But now it is Phillip’s turn to stand centre-stage with True North, a solo album which marks a decade of travels to all points of the compass with a guitar or two in tow
It was a stay near Kolkata ten years ago that spawned the album, as Phil explains.
“Ten years ago I set off on a solo journey to Kolkata. I was going to study under the slide guitar master Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya. Prior to this I had moved out to the Devon countryside, living in a variety of tents and caravans, dedicating myself to exploring the real essence of slide guitar.
“I have always been interested in the slide guitar as a solo instrument. These arrangements aim to highlight the special ability of the slide guitar to sing to the soul; its vocal quality combined with the guitar’s depth of range and chordal nature lend its sound to unaccompanied settings of both instrumentals and songs. I have used the pieces on this record to explore the many facets of the instrument and the range of its capabilities.”
Phillip added: “The tracks are recorded live in the studio, though I get a little assistance in realising some of the arrangements from a foot-powered shruti box, foot percussion, and on Reverence, a hand fan with feathers attached to create a drone on the sympathetic strings.
“I returned from my Indian travels with the Chaturangui, a remarkable 22-string instrument designed by my teacher Debashish. This marked the beginning of a decade of travels with slide guitars - from Japan to South Africa, the USA to Australia, Canada to the Netherlands, France, Germany and Belgium. Not to mention thousands of miles rambling the roads of the British Isles. Many miles, many friends and a lot of music. True North is made to commemorate this anniversary, using the idea of one person with one instrument to bring together influences and pieces from these ten years on the road.”