from being just a renaissance music specialty act, critically acclaimed
classical / acoustic steel string guitarist Richard Searles makes
music from a bygone era come alive with fresh inspirations and possibilities.
Back during the golden era of the Medieval and Renaissance music times,
music was made acoustically of course but looking back, that didnt
take away one iota of its grandeur or magic. Searles is quite
happy drawing on those inspirations and he does so with a keen insight
and knowledge as to where music has come and gone over these past
1000 years! While drawing on the musical vibe of the Medieval and
Renaissance eras of music, Searles also blends in a keen insight of
World music, East and West, both ancient and modern. Case in point
is Richard's 2009 CD Magical Creatures, released by
his Earth Dance label in 2009. Searles has a number of instrumental
albums to his credit, including his highly acclaimed 2006 CD, The
Green Man, which featured a blend of instrumental music showcasing
the Searles approach to classical and steel string guitars while accompanied
by string quartet, harpsichord, bagpipe, concertina, acoustic bass
and percussion. A distinctive follow up to the Green Man CD,
2009s Magical Creatures follows the same musical tact
and yields some equally impressive results. This time out on Magical
Creatures, Searles has written and recorded music inspired by
the Medieval encyclopedia of animals known as the book of beasts.
With titles like Dragon, Unicorn, Griffin
and Centaur clearly this album relishes the magic of an
ancient yet familiar world that, while hundreds of years old, is still
a notable branch of the family tree of man. Once again, on Magical
Creatures, Searles turns in a fantastic performance on acoustic
guitars, hammered dulcimer and recorders with able assistance from
Ron Wagner on tabla, dumbek, riq, finger cymbals and percussion.
Acoustc guitar lovers looking for a modern approach to ancient Medieval
music should give Searles a chance to weave his musical magic. You
wont be disappointed. www.EarthDanceMusic.com
was eight when my mother first taught me a few chords on her folk
guitar. I played pretty regularly after that but didn't start seriously
practicing until I was around 14. At that time, I had a much used
'66 Telecaster ($75!) and was doing my best to copy Hendrix licks.
A couple of years later, when a friend started taking classical lessons,
I was impressed enough to follow suit and eventually gave up electric
altogether in favor of classical guitar. I went on to study music
at North Carolina School of the Arts and that's where I first got
into the medieval and renaissance music which has been a big influence
classical guitar is a spruce top made by Robert Mattingly in 1989.
I also use a cedar top by Mattingly and use Savarez yellow card strings
on both. The steel string parts on the album were played on my Lowden
O32c. In the studio, my favorite setup is a pair of AKG 414 microphones
spaced in front of the guitar and going into an Avalon 2022 mic pre.
For live situations where microphones are less realistic, I also have
a Highlander saddle pickup that I plug into a Pendulum SPS-1 preamp.
of the music that has inspired me over the years is actually quite
different from my own style of playing including folks such as Jimi
Hendrix, Carlos Santana, John McLaughlin, Miles Davis, John Coltrane,
Ravi Shankar and Bela Bartok. Influences that are probably more apparent
include David Munrow, Julian Bream, Alex de Grassi and The Romeros.
rest of this year I'll be on tour with Harvest Festival arts &
crafts shows and then it's back in the studio to make some new music.
I have several ideas for future projects in mind including original
music as well as arrangements of early music.