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Featured Artists

Mandolin.org.uk
Richard Crouch
Featured Artist

Image: Richard CrouchAbout Richard Crouch

Richard Crouch grew up in Gosport on the South coast. He started playing electric guitar when he was eleven, attending a six week evening class at his school. He played in his older brother’s bands for a few years. At 15 he had a number of lessons from a jazz guitarist who also introduced him to classical guitar.

1986, when he lived in Bedford, he joined  folk trio Tryfan, his introduction to folk music, which is when he bought his Manson Magpie guitar that he used for his first mandolin CD. One of the trio played mandolin. That was the first time he remembers seeing a mandolin. He had a go with it but it felt small and limited and he wasn't tempted to try to learn to play one. He did acquire an old violin though which he messed around with.

When Richard moved back to the Portsmouth area he took up the violin more seriously in his early thirties, having classical lessons, playing in a local orchestra and local folk bands. At this time he bought a mandolin. It seemed a logical thing to do, being the left hand of the guitar and the right hand of the fiddle. His first one was a Fender Japanese (or Korean) f-hole model which after a year or two he changed for a Pickard, English hand made mandolin which he bought from a friend.

In 1992 he went on an informal musical trip through Galicia and into North Portugal, having managed to arrange three months off work. This was with Jerry’s Beaver Hat, a Portsmouth trio who were professional musicians (guitar,fiddle,accordion). In Portugal he met his wife who also played guitar and sang.

Over the next few years Richard and his wife lived in France, Portugal and Italy working on large campsites and partly earning money as a duo. She is a linguist and sang foreign songs which were ideally suited to the mandolin which featured quite often in their set - the Russian and Greek music particularly.

Image: Paul Shippey Cherry MandolinAbout five years ago he bought his current mandolin in a campervan awning on the coast of North Cornwall. His friend who had it made for her by Paul Shippey was convinced by Richard to sell it.  The back and sides are made from cherry wood with very attractive grain and has matured to a beautiful rich, mellow colour. This matched his affection for his Manson guitar hence the name of the track My Two Loves on the album which was played on those two instruments. In fact most of the album features the Manson and the Shippey.

He plays in a local band, Reaversrant playing a mixture of folk/celtic based music in the Southampton/Portsmouth area.

Music

Richard has recorded a CD (available soon) of his own songs and one of traditional songs and wanted to try an instrumental album. At the beginning of February he had about six tunes that he had composed over the years, not enough for a whole CD so he had to get busy composing more. As he started recording he came up with new ideas. The whole thing was produced over a period of around two weeks, evenings and weekends.

Influences

Richard doesn’t really have a favourite style of music. The O Carolan tunes and the Playford repertoire mixed with bluegrass and classical guitar pieces would cover it. Mandolinists would be, Simon Mayor, Dave Swarbrick, Adam Steffey and Chris Thile.

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