Strum guys have all the luck

Guitar men: Paul Lakin and John Bailey
Guitar men: Paul Lakin and John Bailey
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Later this summer guitar virtuosos John Bailey and Paul Lakin plan to stage a concert performance unlike anything Preston has seen before. SIAN PHILLIPS spoke with the musical friends.

I think it is unlike anything Preston has seen before” the words of John Bailey on the concert he and a fellow guitar virtuoso are planning for St Michael’s Church in Ashton this July.

John and Paul Lakin plan to amaze listeners with a “beautiful”, “unique” performance on Friday, July 4.

John, 28, a former student at UCLan, picked up his first guitar at the age of eight and in the past decade has specialised in jazz and classical.

At 32, Paul who lives in Ashton, was inspired by a Julian Bream recital he attended as a teenager, and says he has been “hooked” ever since.

The talented pair decided to join forces after meeting through a mutual friend.

John explained: “I always knew Paul was a good classical player which is why we decided to do this project together.”

A teacher at the University of Liverpool and freelance musician, John says he thrives under pressure which is why he and Paul insisted the concert had to happen this summer.

John said: “I don’t like projects to take a long time to get together, so we’d already discussed recitals and time scales before we had a rehearsal.

“I think it’s a good way to work when you put pressure on yourself. There needs to be solid ideas from the outset I think. This way you can’t procrastinate and have to get things moving.”

The guitarists hope the concert will demonstrate the depth and range of Preston’s musical talents.

Deliberately setting out to test their own skills, the friends have put together pieces they describe as “extremely challenging and rare”.

“Paul’s set of music features some more well known compositions from the repertoire. They are all challenging pieces but more consonant than John’s set.”

The concert is set to include music from artists the pair originally found inspiration.

They explained: “The beautiful lyrical music of Villa Lobos, Bach, Weiss, Mangore and Tarrega are featured. John’s set features 3 pieces , Britten’s Nocturnal, Leo Brouwer’s Decameron Negro and Malcolm Arnold’s Fantasy for guitar.”

John added: “They are among the most challenging pieces in the guitar repertoire due to their unusual musical content.”

Tickets cost £7.50 from, and directly from The Music Cellar on Fox St, Preston Town Centre.