Scotland’s own guitar virtuoso debuts an all new show exploring in trio format, various stringed instruments. Following 2018’s sold-out run of From T-Bone to Trucks, a musical theatre piece on electric blues, Andy Gunn transposes his renowned abilities onto ukulele, classical, steel and cigar box guitars among others. With warm vocals and a heartfelt playing style he offers an eclectic mix of blues, soul and songwriter material woven together in an intuitive way to bring each song and instrument alive at this years Fringe. Andy spoke with The Fountain about the show and his plans for the Fringe.
TF: You are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, how exciting?
Aye, it should be good! The response to From T-Bone To Trucks last year was fantastic – there’s nothing like putting on a show that shows off the world’s best blues music and honours the greats that inspired me back in the day.
I’m looking forward to bringing a new show to Edinburgh as well, I’ll be having fun with a whole load of instruments and bringing them alive for audiences at Fingers and Thumbs.
TF: Fingers and Thumbs certainly sounds interesting, is it close to Mary Shelly’s story?
I have no idea who Mary Shelly is, as Albert King said I didn’t learn how to read, didn’t learn how to write, my whole life has been one big fight. But she’s welcome to come along to the show! Ha seriously though, it’s a really cool show I’ve developed all around various stringed instruments like Classical, National Steel, 12 String, Cigar Box, Portuguese guitars and Ukulele for example.
TF: And what drove the project, where did your influences lie?
I’ve been living in Portugal recently and I was coming back to do my other show ‘From T-Bone To Trucks’ and I thought well if I’m coming back to Scotland to do those maybe I should put something else on. I’ve been collecting various instruments over the years like the ones above and I got to thinking about how your skills translate onto different instruments, as once you learn how to play one instrument it makes it easier to learn the next one.
This is even true with the Portuguese guitar, although I’d say that one had the steepest learning curve due to the unusual tuning, which is based around a major pentatonic scale, something that Scottish and Celtic music often uses. As a result, the Portuguese guitar lends itself surprisingly well to playing jigs and reels. Although I’m not a traditional musician I have adapted a folk song to show how the instrument can be played in this way.
TF: What are your plans for the Fringe, having been before are there any tips or musts you would offer to first-time performers?
I’m going to see my buddies and family, work on my tan a bit more – it’s nice to see the sun out here in Bonnie Scotland – and see some shows for myself. Guaranteed there will be loads of great stuff on so I’m looking forward to being entertained at the biggest arts festival in the world!
Advice for first time performers? Well, I’d say bed by midnight every night, ration your coffee intake to one a day, make sure you get plenty steamed vegetables and chia seeds! But really… just relax, it’ll never work out exactly like you plan, just go with the flow, prepare as much as you can and try to enjoy the experience. Audiences pick up on that, if your heart’s in the right place, you won’t go far wrong.
TF: And what are your future plans beyond The Fringe?
I really love the shows I’ve developed, and I think they would travel well so who know – I’d love to take them on the road and entertain people across Britain and Europe if I could. Personally, I’m like freewheelin’ Bob Dylan or steady rollin’ Bob Margolin: they call me the breeze, ain’t no change in the weather, ain’t no change in me, I’ve just gone walkabout seeing where the universe takes me.