- 18 Jun 20
Joan Armatrading shares her reflections on Rory Gallagher, as part of our special 25th anniversary tribute to the legendary Irish guitarist.
As a guitarist, I'm always drawn to other guitarists – and because I play rhythm and lead guitar, I'm also drawn to guitarists who do the same.
I first heard about Rory Gallagher in the late '70s. There are many things I liked about him, but what I liked the most was that he was a musician who was interested in being the best player he could be.
He was a great, great guitarist like Leslie West and Muddy Waters – a guitarist who was looking at rhythm, solo and slide guitar playing. That's what had an impact on me.
Some people who play guitar either play rhythm or lead. He was interested in the full spectrum of the guitar, and in the end I think he completely mastered his instrument.
He had wonderful sounds, rich full tones, and when he played a solo you felt as if you were in the solo. There was no fumbling about. There was no searching for the right notes. The right notes with there under his fingers
Rory Gallagher was one of the best rock/blues players, up there with all the greatest players you can think of: Jimmy Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Mark Knopfler. Rory really knew how to sell a guitar part. When he played, he wanted to draw you into to the music. He made sure he had expression, real meaning and depth in his playing.
Watch him play 'Shadow Play' live in 1979. This will certainly give you a sense of his power playing, his energy and his great connection with his audience:
The special Rory Gallagher 25th Anniversary Issue of Hot Press is out today – featuring reflections on Rory's legacy from President Michael D. Higgins, Imelda May, Johnny Marr, Mumford & Sons, Mick Fleetwood, Steve Van Zandt, Slash and many more. Pick up your copy in shops now, or order online below: