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Songs Without Words

The Royal Oak


In the cellar of the Royal Oak, a small space into which twenty-five people or so may squeeze, Simon Kempston and Paul Tasker, generally acknowledged to be two of Scotland’s finest acoustic guitarists, paid due testament to their garnered reputations.

The session was to be split into three segments: the first to feature Simon alone, the second for Paul alone, with the third bringing them together.

Simon is classically trained but put down his classical guitar a long time ago to concentrate on playing acoustic guitar in a more contemporary setting. During Lockdown, however, he picked up his classical guitar again and practiced for hours on end. Along the way he started composing instrumental pieces until he finally had enough material to release an album, which he did earlier this year, under the title, ‘Moonrise over Mostar’.

He opened his set with the classical guitar, playing a couple of tunes from that album, including the tender and luminously beautiful title track. He then moved back to his acoustic guitar to finish with a piece composed for the wedding of two friends.

Paul’s guitar style had a perhaps earthier and more bluesy feel. I thought all his tunes were lovely and played with such technical brilliance.

The third segment showed the two of them to have such sensitivity to each other’s playing and they sounded beautiful together. A highlight was a tune of Paul’s, featuring him on banjo and Simon on classical guitar, a combination you don’t hear every day, but another winner.

Amidst the bustle and the to-ing and fro-ing of taking advantage of as many as possible of the joys that the Festival offers, why not spend an hour of peace and calm in the company of these two consummate musicians and their beautiful songs without words. For all lovers of acoustic guitar music, this is an absolute joy.

Songs With out Words is playing at The Royal Oak

until August 28th (not Tuesdays or Wednesdays)

Details here

Songs Without Words
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