British guitar master to strut his stuff at Riga Jazz Festival

Take note – story published 9 years ago

Bristol-bred 24-year-old guitarist Mike Dawes dropped in at Latvian Public Radio’s Pieci youth channel studios Wednesday morning for a chat with its music programmer Toms Grēviņš. He performs Thursday evening at the Rigas Ritmi 2014 jazz festival’s Congress Hall venue.

Among the highlights of his interview and performance:

Dawes talks about how his version of the “world’s ultimate breakup song” helped him launch a jaw- and name-dropping global career.

Despite devoting much more of his spare time to the guitar-playing craft since the age of 12, the self-described “country boy” advises young players not to exceed just a couple hours of practice a day and not “miss out on so much life” or go beyond “where your brain stops working.”

His switch at age 18 from electric to acoustic guitar came under the influences of the late Michael Hedges and fellow Bristolian Eric Roche.

He isn’t exactly sure what “descriptive tags” to attach to his music but really enjoys jazz audiences.

He sees a bright future in the guitar-playing world for fingerstyle and greatly values the personal achievement in “learning a craft, sticking at it.”

He gigs around the world with renowned fellow British percussive-guitar stylist Newton Faulkner, veteran art-rockers the Moody Blues and their frontman Justin Hayward, for whom he gets to open.

He’s developed a tuition app for guitar players on the iOS platform and insists the niche program “is not pricey.”

He likes to hold workshops and invites attending guitarists to “preferably” bring their instruments.

He plays the first composition he ever wrote and allows it to be named “Boogie shrimp” for today in honor of Grēviņš’ misheard blooper.

No, he isn’t an illusionist.

He just makes his multi-instrumental sounding music by “layer-building from individual parts.”



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