Glastonbury warm-up in city pub for guitar hero

Duane Eddy at Yellow Arch Studios

Duane Eddy at Yellow Arch Studios

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GUITAR legend Duane Eddy will warm up for his first Glastonbury appearance with an intimate gig for just 100 in a Sheffield pub.

Nashville-based Eddy will play The Greystones on Friday, June 24, two days before he takes to the West Holts Stage at one of the the world’s biggest music festivals.

The show forges yet another link with the city for a musician who has sold in excess of 100 million albums and topped an NME popularity poll ahead of Elvis back in 1960.

Eddy, now 73, who is managed by Grindle-ford-based Graham Wrench, spent some time in Sheffield late last year when he was in the UK to collect the Icon Award from MOJO magazine and recorded his first album in 25 years at the city’s Yellow Arch Studios.

Road Trip is a collaboration with Richard Hawley and his band. Hawley co-produced the album with Colin Elliot and also co-wrote a number of the tracks with one of his lifelong heroes, while guitarist Shez Sheridan and keyboard player Jon Trier also have substantial credits on the writing side. Drummer Dean Beresford and Eddy’s regular sax player Ron Dziubla complete the album line-up

Speaking from Tennessee this week, Eddy said: “I’m looking forward to being back in Sheffield. I had such a wonderful time over there last year and putting the album together was a joy. We went into the studio with nothing and wrote and recorded all 11 tracks in 11 days. We worked eight hours a day and I was exhausted at the end of it but it was just a pleasure.

“Those guys in the band are something special, all stars in their own right. I told them it must have been like working with The Beatles because they all brought something to the party.

“Richard (Hawley) was the driving force and it was wonderful to work with him. I’d listened to his music long before I ever met him and used to hear a song and think there was a perfect place for me to play a bit of guitar.’’

So how does he rate the finished article? “It’s exceeded all my expectations. The material is all new but it’s unmistakably me. And if I say it myself, there’s some pretty decent playing here and there.

“The whole experience was something I treasure. As well as getting to work with the guys, I fell in love with Yellow Arch. It’s a real musician’s studio and was just like going back to Phoenix in the old days.’’

Hawley agrees. “I’m so proud of the album,’’ he says. “It was a labour of love in every sense and I couldn’t be happier with the way it has turned out. I’d have been pleased if it had taken six months but to do the whole thing from scratch in 11 days was phenomenal.

“I’ve always had huge respect for the lads in the band and the people I work with but doing this album took it to another level. I said to everyone ‘if you’ve got any pieces of the music now is the time’ and they came through. Having that time restraint forces you to make decisions and it worked. The musicianship is world class.

“I wanted to revisit some of the landscapes and spaces from Duane’s past but it’s not done in a sentimental way, it’s a proper album.’’

Road Trip may indeed be the inimitable Eddy sound, but the local influence comes through. Who would have thought that Eddy would record Mexborough Ferry Boat Halt, based on when Shez Sheridan’s grandfather used to work on the railways, or Jon Trier’s Bleaklow Air. Then there’s opener The Attack of the Duck Billed Platypus, another Trier composition. Hawley said: “Duane had been reading an article in about the duck billed platypus and I said it had been discovered relatively recently that they had a lethal spur. Duane thought it amazing something so calm could have a sting in the tail, so we stuck with it.’’

Eddy admits he never expected to record another album. “I certainly never imagined I’d be playing Glastonbury,’’ he said. “And I get back to Sheffield, so life’s pretty good.’’

l Tickets, priced £30, for this all-standing gig will be on sale at The Greystones from Saturday at 12noon. They are also now on sale online at http://www.wegottickets.com/event/122292

lRoad Trip is released on Graham Wrench’s newly-launched Sheffield label Mad Monkey Records on June 20.