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Newton Faulkner

Posted in MusicWorld on March 3, 2006

The world has seen many talented singers over the years. It’s had its share of gifted guitarists, too. But when it comes to naming truly great singer-guitarists, the list doesn’t even run into double figures…

Chuck Berry. Eric Clapton. Jimi Hendrix. Stevie Ray Vaughan. Kurt Cobain. These men are renowned not only for pioneering guitar play and changing the way their respective generations regarded and approached the instrument, but also for writing amazing songs and singing them with an unmistakable passion that has helped elevate those songs – and the artists themselves – to legendary status.

Get ready to add Newton Faulkner to that shortlist.

A bold prediction, perhaps, but not a foolish one. Faulkner is a new kind of guitar hero, who caresses the fret board of his rare, custom-made acoustic six-string with a precision and flair that few artists can achieve even through the more forgiving action of an electric axe. Tutored for two years by the late, great Eric Roche at the Academy of Contemporary Music, Faulkner executes a synergy of styles, incorporating hammers, pulls and taps with multiple harmonics, using the guitar as both a melodic and a percussive instrument simultaneously, and varying between classical scales and plagal modes. He frets notes with either hand, his left hand approaching the board from both above and below the neck – making for a playing technique that is as visually engaging as it is aurally pleasing.

And all this on top of instantly memorable vocal lines, ranging from sweet falsettos to full-throated emotion, and occasionally hanging in the balance between rap and scat: hot AND cool, all at once. Small wonder, then, that guitar legend Jimmy Page acknowledges Faulkner as “a star of tomorrow.”

Newton is being championed by some very influential people, including DJ Johnny Walker, who saw Newton perform at Ronnie Scott’s and was so impressed he immediately booked Newton for a session on his Radio 2 drive-time show for that week. After receiving an amazing response to this, Newton was then booked for a live session on the Dermot O’Leary show. Add to this tips from Lesley Douglas (Head of BBC Radio 2 & 6music) in “Music Week,” The Independent On Sunday (as one to watch in 2006) and the “Record of the Day” industry website, and one can easily understand why Newton’s Full Fat EP is such a highly anticipated release for a new UK artist.

The Full Fat EP will be released March 27, 2006.