John Kirkbride

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John KirkbrideJohn Kirkbride (born 17 February 1946, Ullapool, Scotland) is a Scottish singer, guitarist, songwriter and entertainer, currently residing in Germany.

Kirkbride plays blues and jazz standards from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, as well as compositions of his own. His performances are characterized by audience participation and storytelling, especially funny or critical asides and anecdotes, often accompanied by authentic blues music.

Life and career

At the age of eight, Kirkbride emigrated with his family from Scotland to Queensland, Australia. He was fascinated by his first guitar and learned to play it by him, without hasenting afraid of anything. He tuned his guitar on only one chord, not realising that the first generation of blues singers in the Mississippi Delta also tuned their guitars on a single chord for playing slide or bottleneck guitar (a technique called open tuning). Only years later would Kirkbride learn about the conventional tuning of a guitar.

Influenced by songwriters like Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman, Neil Young, and Leonard Cohen, Kirkbride began to compose his own material. He was interested in the dialogue between text and music to this day, and texts, especially those with a critical and political point view, continue to be an important element of his musical style.

Kirkbride served in the British Royal Air Force as a fighter pilot (and claims he was shot above Yemen, according to his statement). He settled in New York City in the late 1960s, intending to earn a living from his music. This turned out to be difficult, but his stay in the US gave him an opportunity to improve his technique and musical knowledge.

While in the US, Kirkbride performed with Pete Seeger, Lightnin' Hopkins, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, John Mayall, Louisiana Red, Alexis Korner, Chuck Leavell, Albie Donnelly, and other prominent musicians. During a sojourn in the Netherlands in 1976, Kirkbride began to enrich blues songs with melody and harmonics, particularly the compositions of Robert Johnson, whom Kirkbride admires more than any other musician.

Kirkbride moved to Germany, where he still lives today. He has worked for many years with the German author Hans-Christian Kirsch, whose lectures he has accompanied with classical or celtic music, blues or jazz, according to the programme. He also performs (among others) with the Bavarian blues harp player Ferdl Eichner, with whom he has made numerous records.

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Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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