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"Strings that Nimble Leap" is a major recording project for charity. It comprises 43 tracks involving 52 musicians, all playing Fylde guitars, or in some cases, mandolin, bouzouki, acoustic bass or ukulele.
Most of the tracks are specially recorded, and many have been specially written for this project.
The charities we have in mind are MIND, because mental illness affects so many people that we know. Also Help Musicians UK, so that we can help musicians in the UK . Yes, I know, nearly another joke. And the Woodland Trust, the reasons for that choice should be obvious.
The whole project has taken nine months, I'd no idea how it would work out when I first started, but I soon realised that I couldn't possibly fit everything on to one CD, and I couldn’t decide who to leave out!
There was a simple solution-there are two CDs.
I still had to make some hard decisions, and I could not face the idea of three CDs. I did consider issuing a new cd each year for a while, but quite honestly, I need to get back to making guitars.
The CDs are in sleeves inside a 128-page book with 53 photographs. Each track and each relationship with the artist is explained. Plus, notes on style, recording techniques and tunings.
The paper, printing and binding are the very highest quality. Basically, it’s a "proper" book with CDs inside. A few of the tracks have been taken (with permission) from old recordings, tweaked and re-mastered as necessary. All the rest are full studio, professional recordings. The track order is mostly chronological, tracing the history of my relationships with the artist, but sometimes I have had to move things around in order to make it all fit, and to avoid major clashes of style or dynamics. It makes sense to me at least.
Eric Bibb; David Buckingham; Adam Bulley and Chas MacKenzie; Hugh Burns; Charlotte Carrivick; Clive Carroll; Martin Carthy; Phil Cool; Graham Coxon; Barbara Dickson; Chris Difford and Boo Hewerdine; Troy Donockley; John Doyle; Dave Pegg and Chris Leslie, Fairport Convention; Archie Fisher; Antonio Forcione; Bob Fox and Stu Luckley; Peter Howarth, Frontm3n; Vin Garbutt; Gordon Giltrap; Lisa Hannigan; Remi Harris; Toby Hay; Megan Henwood; Hobson & Lees; Nick Hooper; Andy Irvine; John James; Nic Jones; Birelli Lagrene and Adam Palma; Jez Lowe; David Mead; Will McNicol and Luke Selby; Elliott Morris; Ken Nicol; Henry Olsen; Tristan Seume; Martin Simpson; John Smith; Ben Walker; Billy Watman; Innes Watson and Chris While.
Plus Seonaid Aitken; Patsy Reed; Alice Allen; Pete Lincoln; Mick Wilson; Roy Dodds; Chris Laurence; Manuel Nietro and Issidro Suerez.
How oft, when thou, my music, music play'st,
Upon that blessed wood whose motion sounds
With thy sweet fingers, when thou gently sway'st
The wiry concord that mine ear confounds,
Do I envy those jacks that nimble leap
To kiss the tender inward of thy hand