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Guitar Festival - Day Three

In the twenty-eight years since he started recording, Alex de Grassi (All Saints, 8pm, £12/£10) has built himself up the reputation of being just about the best finger-picking steel string guitarist in the United States. So it is quite a big coup for the Lewes Guitar Festival for him to be travelling to England just to play in Lewes. De Grassi, the grandson of an Italian immigrant classical violinist, recently released his ninth studio album, The Water Garden, a solo guitar tour-de-force, as are his classic albums Turning: Turning Back, Slow Circle and Southern Exposure. The inspiration for the music was the rain which was pouring down in the weeks he was writing the music for the album. “It grafted itself to my subconsciousness,” he says. “I thought wow, all this sounds like water music.”

The evening concert at Pelham House at 5.15 features the Oxford-based duo Luis D’Agostino and Pete Oxley, who play jazz standards and Argentinian tangos. Like all good duos the two mens’ very different styles act as a foil for one another: D’Agostino is a former rock musician, Oxley applies a more analytical approach. Today’s free concert in the castle garden features William Elliott Whitmore (1pm), fresh from a tour supporting the Pogues. The singer-songwriter has the reputation of having a fine gravelly voice which is usually compared with that of Tom Waits. DL

William Elliott Whitmore: the drinking manís Tom Waits
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