Guitar legend strumming back to see old friends

Duane Eddy
Duane Eddy

DUANE EDDY is happy to be back on familiar ground as he prepares for his first UK tour in more than 20 years.

The Grammy Award-winning King of Twang may live in Nashville, Tennessee, but he’s quick to tell anyone who’ll listen that Sheffield has become his second home.

Eddy, now 74, recorded an album at the city’s Yellow Arch Studios and returned to Sheffield last summer to promote the critcally-acclaimed Road Trip with a handful of dates, including the Yoyal Festival Hall, Glastonbury and a warm-up gig at the Greystones.

Eddy and wife Deed flew into the UK at the weekend and, following a couple of days in London, they are now settled back in Sheffield as the base for the tour, which kicks off in Market Harborough on Saturday, heads to the Royal College of Music in Manchester on Sunday and arrives at Sheffield’s Leadmill on Monday.

That’s a fairly demanding opening for a man who released his first album back in 1958 and is reckoned to be the world’s biggest-selling rock n roll instrumental artist with more than 100 million records sold.

“I’d play every night if I could,” laughs Eddy. “At least I would if I didn’t think I would keel over!

“I’ve played a few shows back in the US recently but this is a proper tour, something I haven’t done for some time. The last one in the UK was in 1991 with Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard.

“And it really does feel like coming home, which is why I’m so excited about playing at the Leadmill.”

So what is it about Sheffield in particular and the UK in general that has made Eddy feel so welcome?

“It’s the people, I guess. I probably have as many friends over here as I do back in Nashville because a lot of the people who come to see my shows actually end up being friends. They come and talk to me afterwards and we keep in touch. That’s a nice place to be.

“And Deed and I really do love Sheffield and everything about it. We’re staying in the city centre again and there’s lots of people and places we want to catch up with and, if we have time, we’ll be back out into the Peak District whenever we can.

“We’re scheduled to be over here for a month but I’d love to stay longer. We’ll have to see how things go.”

Road Trip was co-produced by Sheffield’s Richard Hawley and Colin Elliot and Eddy will again be backed on the tour by Elliot and the rest of Hawley’s regular band - guitarist Shez Sheridan, Jon Trier on keyboards and drummer Dean Beresford.

“They are one of the best bands you could ever wish to work with,” says Eddy. “It’s always a real pleasure to play with them.”

The shows will see a mixture of tracks from Road Trip and his earlier work, including Cannonball, Rebel Rouser, Peter Gunn and Shazam

He said: “The old stuff is generally why people come along and if they like the new songs as well, then that’s wonderful.”

Among Eddy’s recent shows in the US was a MusiCares event in Los Angeles two days before the Grammys when he joined a line-up including Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Neil Young, James Taylor, Tony Bennett, Alicia Keys and Norah Jones in a tribute to Sir Paul McCartney.

There’s also talk of a 40-date tour in the offing but, for now at least, there’s no place like home for Duane Eddy.

Tickets for next Monday’s Leadmill show (14+) are £20 and available from www.leadmill.co.uk