I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Whitesnake Guitarist Bernie Marsen on 24 August, at the age of only 72.
Bernie was a brilliant guitarist, and ‘larger than life’ character, who had performed many times for Eclectic Live Music.
Back in the days of Chiddingfold Club (pre 2000!) his superb band ‘Company of Snakes’ appeared several times. This terrific band comprised all the original members of Whitesnake, but with superb vocals provided by the charismatic Robert Hart, in lieu of David Coverdale.
Bernie was also the guest of Paul Jones at several charity gigs, both at Cranleigh Arts Centre and at G-Live.
Most recently he appeared in the Wilfrid Noyce Centre, Godalming in 2019 (18 May) in `An Audience with Bernie Marsden’.
I was my intention to invite him back to appear at the Borough Hall, but sadly it’s now too late.
He’ll long be remembered for his guitar skills, his music, and his vibrant personality.
Born & raised in Pasadena, California, Guy Tortora is currently based 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. He has gigged across North America and much of Europe. He also performs solo, and in duo or trio format with his regular members of the Guy Tortora Band: bassman Costa Tancredi, or keys player Janos Bajtala. Recently he has formed an acoustic cuo partnership with Ben Tyzack of UK bandSpikedrivers – Guy and Ben have is a short UK tour planned for November 2015.
Guy is a guitar player of some accomplishment and a distinctive songwriter. 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.
Albert Lee is one of the most respected and renowned guitarists in music history, having worked with The Everly Brothers, Eric Clapton, Emmylou Harris and The Crickets over his long and illustrious career. The British-born country-rock artist started his career during the emerging rock ‘n’ roll scene of sixties London, when he swapped bands with the likes of Jimmy Page and Chris Farlowe.
“The ultimate virtuoso. His skill is extraordinary, his ear is extraordinary and he’s gifted on just about every level.”
– Eric Clapton
After moving to the U.S. and assimilating himself into the country music scene, Albert quickly garnered a reputation as one of the fastest guitar players in the business. He recorded a number of solo albums, and won a Grammy in 2002 for his contribution on ‘Foggy Mountain Breakdown’. He continues to tour today, and plays his signature Ernie Ball Music Man Guitar.
“A brilliant guitar player. His sound is unmistakable – often emulated, never equalled.”