... guess who has to play guitar?... In May my dear friend Esther got married and invited my girlfriend and me to the wedding in Philadelphia. (I must say that I offered to play after she had invited me - she didn't invite us expecting me to play...)
We met Esther whilst she was studying at UPENN at the same time as my girlfriend. A friend of hers was in a band that was touring from west coast to east coast (L.A. - N.Y.) and they needed a guitarist for the last few shows. I was planning to visit my girlfriend around this time and extended my dates so that I could also play in the last few shows in Pennsylvania and New York. Although Esther lives in Philadelphia, she is from Algeciras in southern Spain, not far from Seville, where I studied and still spend a lot of time so we have met up quite a few times in both Seville and Algeciras.
Being Spanish, Esther knows her Spanish guitar music and so requested some quite specific pieces along with a selection of Sevillanas, a folk dance from southern Spain danced in couples.
The wedding took place a beautiful setting by the river in a state park in Philadelphia. We then had canopés and drinks by the river and the wedding breakfast was held in an open-air restaurant overlooking the river. After the wedding breakfast we hopped on a quirky old bus from the 1950s and headed back into central Philly for a few drinks around the corner from Esther and Norman's house.
I had a recording project in Salt Lake City with some musicians that I worked with on the Zorro project in 2012 so I travelled there first to record and then had a week gap before Esther's wedding so I spent a week in Los Angeles as I had never been there before and wanted to see some iconic studios such as Sound City and visit some famous music venues such as The Baked Potato in Burbank and The Troubadour. I also managed a visit to Guitar Guitar in North Hollywood, possibly the biggest guitar store I have ever been to. I then headed to Philadelphia for the wedding and later spent a few days in New York where I played an impromptu gig with Susana Raye at The Bitter End. Susana is an up and coming artist who is the student of a friend of mine, Jon Geist, who has a studio on 54th street, Manhattan. Jon recently bought a long cream leather couch from a Psychiatrist who had a practice in the same block and this couch became my bed for two nights in New York - I must say I felt fantastic after two nights on the Psychiatrist's couch!
All in all a fantastic trip and I look forward to being back in the U.S. in January 2014!
In case you're wondering about the "scribbles" on my guitar, these are the autographs of The Gipsy Kings from when I played with them in London for the press night of their new musical Zorro.
* I feel the need to point out that I am a good friend of the Bride and would not normally post such personal pictures of a client's wedding day on my blog, as you will see if you read my other posts.