February 3, 2013

Circa 1992

If I remember correctly, it was my 6th birthday in 1992 in my hometown of Hull that I first got given a battered old acoustic guitar by my Nan. Two weeks before, I’d seen Slash on the TV and long curly hair, a top hat and a bottle of Jack Daniels looked too cool to be true!

As much as I love the feeling of home that Hull gives me, it wasn’t the best place to walk around looking like something out of a scene in Spinal Tap, especially when I was a teenager.

People to jam with in short supply, and the fact that I didn’t fit in at school, I decided that education was a waste of my time (hell, I’d probably be a lawyer or something by now if I went). There was an abandoned music room at the school I went to with a battered up nylon string classical guitar and an out of tune piano in.

Taking the too-cool-for-school approach, I’d leave my house each morning, say goodbye to my Mum and Dad then walk to school and sit all day in the music room and play guitar for 7 hours on the classical guitar. When the school bell went, I’d go deliver newspapers to fund strings and guitar magazines, head off home and play guitar again for another 4 hours on my Les Paul copy.

This went on for most of the duration of school in my teenage years. I had a lot of explaining to do to my parents when I finished school and didn’t have any exam results to speak of (but hey, I was a pretty good player – Note to anyone in the position I was in… That is not a very good excuse to tell your parents, apparently). I scraped into music college on my audition alone because I didn’t have anywhere near the qualifications but to me, it was worth it because I loved, and still love the guitar.

Fast forward a decade, 3 record deals, several tours and a million other musical experiences on the way and I still get that same feeling each and every time I see, play or think of the guitar. That feeling of strings on top of a maple or rosewood fretboard underneath my fingers is something I cannot explain.

But perhaps even more importantly than all of that, is YOU, the listener, that makes every failed tour, money spent and friendships neglected for several hours a day practicing that makes all of it matter.

I look forward to all of the difficult, ugly and always worthwhile experiences to come on this musical journey. Here’s to hoping you will be a part of that journey.

Thank you for being a listener and for making it all matter!

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Lovely track ace,who are your influences,i can hear Satch ,Vai in your playing,but a lot of your own feeling.

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Hey Gary.

Thanks a lot for the comment, it always means a lot!

I have a lot of influences. When I first started I learnt every Slash song, then afterwards moved on to guitarists such as Vai and Satch (as you rightly can hear their influence in my playing). After that I got in to Mr. Big in a ‘big’ way and got into the whole alternate picking thing. I also like to just listen to music in general, I get a lot of inspiration from none guitar players and even singers. The slow bend that I put into the 2nd phrase in Beyond was based on a vocal melody I’d heard on some hip-hop track when I was at Pizza Hut with my daughter – I have no idea what track it was, but it just caught my ear.

I have a tendency to babble, so hope I didn’t go into too much detail!

Thanks again Gary!
Ace

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Awesome track, Vai is my favorite Guitarist and if that is the sound you were going for..You “Aced” it! I’m looking forward to hearing more of you sound.

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Hey Tom!

I love Vai too! He’s such a great, great guy. I was speaking to him not so long ago about composition and he approaches things so differently than anyone else, he’s great to listen to.

Beyond has that E Lydian vibe to the track, which probably hints to Vai. The rest of the album is going to express the sound I have in my head, so I hope it lives up to your expectations!

Thanks for the kind comments!
Ace

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Ace track Ace! Lovely fluid lines, stunning articulation, wicked chops and underlaid with feeling, soul and emotion! Respect dude!

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Seb, thanks for taking the time to send me such a great comment! It’s awesome that you picked up on the articulation and stuff :)
Cheers again!
Ace

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Hey Ace, just shared the link to ‘Beyond’ on facebook, hope it gets you a couple more listeners. Gave it a few more plays tonight- Great melody, lovely phrasing throughout. Each of the lead parts are kickass, high impact in only a few bars, arrangement builds to a strong close. Great production too. All best.

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Hey Mark!
Cheers for the comment, it’s really humbling and overwhelming to hear that people are taking the time to listen to my music, never mind listening to it through and through. It was a conscious thing to keep it melody based throughout, but then build to a bit of craziness to satisfy the arrangement (as well as my ego – joking lol).
Thanks again Mark!
Ace

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Hey Ace, Greetings from Australia!! As per the previous comments I also love Vai and Satch and really dug on your track.You have a real command of the instrument and fantastic phrasing and a sense of melody.Very accessable man.Keep it up.
Might see ya one day down under !! Cheers!!

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Hey Kent (cool name)!
It blows me away that people all around the world are listening to my music! I did spend a month in Australia a couple of years back. I was in Brisbane, then moved around a little. I don’t know if that’s anywhere near where you are. I’ll for sure be coming over to tour once the album is out! I look forward to meeting you!
Ace

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hello mate,i must say that it is a blinding track,if that song is like that i cant wait to hear the rest of the album.I dont how u do it but u do, up there with the best( Satch,Vai,Frank Marino and the rest).Keep up the good work an i hope to see you soon

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Hey Simon!
Just even seeing my name in your comment alongside my heroes is something I just can’t get my head around!
Thanks a lot for the amazing words!
Ace

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Reminds me of Satch, and thats a good thing. Just dont pigeon hole yourself experment. But your a great player. Good luck in all you do. God Bless.

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Hey Evanisko68 (your parents were mean, naming you with a 68 in your name haha)
Thanks a lot for the great comment. The album is going to be experimenting like crazy, I hope I don’t let ya down!
Cheers again 68,
Ace

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Loved the song! Can’t wait to see what else is on the album… I will be first in line in Atlanta.

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TheDoctor – Thanks so much! If I get to Atlanta, we should grab a beer!

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Hello Ace,
Loved the song, I can hear your influences Vai and Satch in your playing, You have a real command of your guitar. Great melody,lovely phrasing throughout the song.

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Gary, thanks so much, it means a lot when people appreciate the melody and phrasing :)

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Hello Ace,

I really enjoyed that track, thank you.
I am a fan of Vai, Joe Satriani, and of course Jack Thamaratt, all of whom I think you are in that same league with, or at least fast heading that way.
I think your playing has the same elements of controlled melody to it.
I love Flying in a Blue Dream by JS. I try to play like that but always fail when it picks up the pace, so I’ll never be much more than an admiring listener of people like yourself, although that’s the next best thing to being the player I think!

Good luck with all of this it’s well deserved..

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Hey Dave,
It’s still really, really weird for me when people put my name in the same sentence as people I grew up admiring – I don’t think any amount of my albums/years will change that in my head. The whole Flying in a Blue Dream album is great, especially the talking/feedback intro on the title track, then kicking in with that gorgeous melody!
Picking up the pace isn’t everything, as long as you have soul, you’re good to go ;)
Thanks again Dave!
Ace

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Fantastic!! I hear a great influence from Satch in you. This is not a bad thing as your fluid playing with your own mind set makes it great. Really enjoyed the track and can’t wait for a full disc (please release also on vinyl) cheers!

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Hey Todd.
I was toying with the idea of doing a limited run of vinyls, so I might just do that! It’s funny, everybody always wants vinyl, but what about poor old cassette tapes? They are lost to music history I think (alongside the MiniDisc) haha.
Take care Todd!
Ace

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Loving your playing and commitment, something which I don’t think the xfactor generation understand they have no idea about playing to 5 people in a shitty bar somewhere and playing like its a stadium and having to work hard to gain followers. for them they go onto a show cry about their dead pet rabbit and boom they are playing arenas. I really hope it all pans out for you buddy !!

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I know that feeling all too well! To be fair though, next on my list is the dead rabbit trick… Hmm, not sure I can use it now you’ve exposed the master secret ;)

Thanks a lot man :)
Ace

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great first release, really liked it. i put a comment on FBk. – “look out Satriani & Vai, new player in town”. shared it too.

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Hey Steven!
Really glad you liked the track! You’re a star mate, it really helps when people spread the world!
Cheers again Steven!
Ace

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Ace, clearly you have an advanced skill set. My ears hear Satch, which, although beautiful and skilled, leads me to suggest you steer in a new direction where all we hear is “Ace”. Would be very interested to hear something acoustic, maybe even stand alone without other instruments. The days of Vai/Satch/Gilbert are moving to closure I think, a new angle on virtuoso guitar is ready for prime time.

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Hey David,
Cheers for the comment. Beyond is by far the most Satch/Vai track on the album and I’ve gone more in the direction I can see/hear in my head – hopefully that will show when it’s released. The rest of the instrumentation (drums, bass, etc) on the album is more advanced and modern in the playing style and mix, and that really is making a huge difference to the sound.
Thanks again man!
Ace

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Downloaded the track last night and I enjoyed enough to let it keep repeating while I did some work. Never got tired of it. I hear the same influences that you and the other responders mention. Seems to me the best guitarists sound fluid where the sound emanates from them in a way that disconnects the listener from the guitarist and the guitar and becomes all about the music. David Gilmour, Joe Bonamassa, Gary Moore, Vinnie Moore, Jeff Beck, to name a few, all play with feeling, and of course Satch and Vai; I think you have that. Great playing , I cannot wait to hear more.

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Hey there Kim!
Thanks so much for the comment!
“Seems to me the best guitarists sound fluid where the sound emanates from them in a way that disconnects the listener from the guitarist and the guitar and becomes all about the music.” is a beautiful way of explaining things!
Thanks again Kim!
Ace

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Glad you sent this track and your lifes’ journey story. Sounds oh so familiar. Yes I love the guitar also. Had that taste of lights, live bands, but hey none of them played what I wanted to do, so now I do what you do, go your own way. Sounds like from what you learn in life, none of the lessons in school could ever match that. The music is sweet. I love to listen to a track like this over and over. Each time some other subtle difference pops out at me. I really enjoyed it and thanks for the copy. Maybe get to jam one day. Peace.

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