Gig: Guy Tortora – Lawrence Studio, Grand Theatre, Blackpool – 23 Oct 2009
Posted on: Saturday, Oct 17, 2009
Lawrence Studio, Grand Theatre, Blackpool
Born and raised in Pasadena, California, Guy Tortora is now settled in London, in the UK.
What he does as a songwriter and performer is what people like to call Americana these days — a hard term to define as it seems to mean different things depending on who you’re talking to. But if to you it means original songs, well constructed and well performed, in some of the various musical idioms that originated in the USA — blues, jazz, folk and roots — and also interpreting the work of other writers in these genres with depth and feeling, then you should check out his work if you haven’t already.
Over the last few years he has laid claim to a unique niche on the Blues ‘n’ Roots scene in the UK and European Continent, from small clubs and theatres to festivals. His two recent solo albums received a warm welcome in the Blues ‘n’ Roots reviews, a third album was released in 2008 to great acclaim from reviewers and audiences alike. When travelling light, he performs in stripped down acoustic mode either on his own, or accompanied by bass or keyboards. At many UK gigs he appears with the Guy Tortora Band, his own four-piece outfit of accomplished musicians from the UK and Europe. With this band he has performed live with artists as diverse as Eric Clapton, Pee Wee Ellis, John Cleary and Eric Bibb.
Guy is a guitar player of some accomplishment. On both acoustic and electric guitars he plays finger style, and is a fine bottleneck and slide player. His playing is not the flashy guitar-slinger style beloved of bluesrockers everywhere, but understated, and leaves room for the songs to make an impact, whether his own or the “covers” he performs that include many old standards and traditional tunes as well as songs by more recent American writers such as Eric Bibb or Kreig Viesselman.