Guy Forsyth is one of my all time favorite Austin musicians. I have written about him on this blog before, and Friday night I saw him at another pre SXSW late night show at the Saxon Pub. I can’t count all the different settings I have seen and heard him in, everything from solo, with a tuba, with the Asylum Street Spankers to a pop band setting some 10 years go. This time he was reunited with his old compadre George Rarey, and he played one of the best sets I have ever heard from him.
I won’t repeat Guy Forsyth’s musical history, but suffice to say that he is a multi-instrument man, with a special focus on guitar and harmonica. His bottle-neck slide work and harmonica playing is outstanding, and Friday night we also got a long awaited song with a musical saw. Best of all, his band sounded better than I can remember, much thanks to adding another guitar, and having excellent musicians on bass and drums.
Guy Forsyth’s formula is not necessarily original, but it is effective. He has always been a retro man, finding inspiration in old blues and folk, and many of his bands have been modern versions of what I imagine blues bands from the 30’s. But he has his personal touch on his delivery, and with a strong and characteristic voice, he stands out.
This summer Guy Forsyth will release a new CD, The Pleaser. At Saxon he and the band played some of the songs from this album, and I am already looking forward to hearing it. Luckily for some of us, he also played some of his old songs, since this year is his 20 year anniversary as a recording artist. Songs like Taxi, Mona and the walkabout song Pay To Lose are all great songs, and it was a pleasure to hear them again.
As he did the first time I saw Guy Forsyth with his band at Antone’s some 14 years ago, he did a pit stop at the bar for a drink during Pay To Lose. And as an added bonus, we also got Over The Rainbow played on a musical saw with George Rarey on guitar. The song has been a favorite of mine for many years, and Guy Forsyth’s version is one of the best in all it’s quirkiness.
Guy Forsyth plays regularly at the Saxon Pub and also at other clubs in Austin. He has also played a lot in Europe, and the last time I saw him in Norway, was at the Blues in Hell festival in September, when he played with Carolyn Wonderland and her band. I hope he keeps his current band for a long time and that he comes back to Europe and Norway soon. His live show is great, his playing excellent and the band is tighter than I have heard in a long time.
All pictures are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.
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