Few guitarists have toured the live circuit quite like acoustic guitar maestro John Renbourn.
Since the early 1960s, Renbourn has been performing as a classical-cum-folk-cum-rhythm and blues guitarist, blending a cacophony of sounds and influences to create what has become one of the most signature styles in guitar playing.
And this week, the sexagenarian performs at the Greystones in Sheffield.
“It will be a case of playing the songs I can remember,” he laughs.
But his modesty overlooks two major achievements this year - the publishing of a collected works of Renbourn’s guitar compositions and his very own signature guitar, which has been produced by the esteemed Martin Guitars.
“It still feels surreal to me,” says Renbourn. “The songs are being published by Faber & Faber and it’s a collection of high-brow guitar solos that I’ve written over the years. A lot of work has gone into it and it’s a huge privilege - Faber & Faber publish works by the likes of Benjamin Britten.”
The John Renbourn guitar - which costs $5,499 to buy - was produced with input from John himself.
“I did exchange a lot of emails with the Martin design man when they were making the guitar. They asked me what I would like on a guitar and I just wanted really nice wood and for it not to be too elaborate. The finished product is made with really beautiful wood.”
These accolades, both from Martin Guitars and Faber & Faber, are well-earned.
Renbourn’s intricate finger-work has appeared on some of most hailed albums, such as Bert and John - a collaboration with guitarist contemporary Bert Jansch. Renbourn also starred in the jazz-folk fusion band Pentangle, alongside Jacqui McShee, bassist Danny Thompson and Bert Jansch.
But now Renbourn has to mine his memory for this week’s set in Sheffield.
Renbourn’s memory bank will be played out in full at the Greystones, Greystones Road on Thursday August 15 at 8pm.