Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Steve Donnelly and the Soaring Seventies Guitar Solo

Last month's post about guitarist Steve Donnelly [Great Guitarists Never Die--My roomie from uni lives on] was perhaps a little too cryptic even for a blog post. So let me explain, Steve was my first year room mate at the University of Leeds. The day that I arrived at the flat, assigned to me by university housing, Steve was practicing on his Fender Telecaster, feet up on his Marshall amp, surrounded by every cup and mug in the place, all of which contained various amounts of coffee dregs (to his credit, Steve quickly rounded the mugs up and set about washing them).

The point is, he was a dedicated guitarist, even back then, and already very good. He had been playing the pub scene in London for several years and when he told me that Mick Fleetwood had asked him to be in the new line-up it was not hard to believe. But Steve found that being in a band has its downsides, like getting paid in relation to effort. So he does session work, paid for every hour of his time. Over the years he has developed a reputation as the go-to guy for great guitar work, appearing on albums by Bonnie Raitt, Elvis Costello, John Wesley Harding, Nick Lowe, and Sheryl Crow. He was also a member of Suzanne Vega's stage band on the Nine Objects Of Desire tour.

One of Steve's specialties is the soaring seventies guitar solo and so when the late Brian Gibson decided to make a movie that revolves around a mythical seventies super-group, he turned to Steve for the guitar work, and the job of teaching actors to look like they are playing great guitar. The result was Still Crazy, a very enjoyable movie, particularly if you are a fan of Billy Connolly, Jimmy Nail, or the quietly brilliant Bill Nighy. In some reviews I have seen various musicians from Foreigner and Squeeze credited with the music, but there's no doubt Steve created the film's musical centerpiece: Brian's Theme. Check it out on Amazon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

yeh could'nt agree more, as good as the soundtrack is , steve's guitar work in both solo tracks is mesmorizing