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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Celtic Finger-Style Guitarist Christopher Dean Releases New Track 'The Pikeman's March'

By Stevie Connor.

Christopher Dean - Celtic and Folk, Finger-style and Flat-pick master guitarist on 6 and 12 string - has released a new single with an accompanying video. The track 'The Pikeman's March', also known as 'The Halting,' is an old traditional Irish instrumental. It features Christopher Dean on Lead Guitar & Bass, Arvel Bird on Fiddle, Jim Soldi on Rhythm Guitars and Keith Jones on Bodhran (Celtic hand drum)

After playing in several Jr. High and High School bands in California, Chris started his professional career in 1966 as a full time performing musician in Tucson, Arizona. The Night Sounds were a four piece band specializing in rock and R&B. Chris performed with that group through the beginning of 1968. During that time they released two singles, were the opening act for the rock groups "The Doors" and "The Rascals", and toured the south west extensively. Chris then performed with another R&B group, The Rick Durham Band, which was touring out of Littlerock, AR. He spent 4 months on the road working with that group. During that period he had the opportunity to open for the "Rolling Stones" in Los Angeles at a concert MC'd by the legendary DJ, "Wolfman Jack".

After serving in the Army, Chris returned to Tucson. At that time he became content to play finger-style guitar recreationally for his own enjoyment. After about seven years, Chris became active in performing again. This time playing bluegrass music on a 5-string banjo.

Chris and his wife, Ann, relocated to Southern California in 1980. In 1981 Chris started a bluegrass band with mandolinist Peter Lauderbach. (Pete can be heard on Chris' second album, "The Gael"). He also began teaching the 5 string banjo and guitar at a local music store. Chris became interested in, and involved with banjo competition. In 1983 Chris won First Place in Intermediate Bluegrass Banjo, and in 1985 First Place in Advanced Bluegrass Banjo. Both at the Julian Bluegrass Festival (The New Expressions' Guitar, Banjo and Fiddle Contest). During those years, that festival would generally draw an audience of approximately 6,000 Bluegrass fans.

For the next 10 years Chris performed only occasionally. His efforts were concentrated towards the study of Scottish and Irish music . In January 1996 Chris started performing Scottish and Irish traditional and contemporary folk music on solo fingerstyle guitar. His performances began as an occasional gig at a record store or wedding, and escalated to being booked as the opening act for the Celtic group "Skyedance". Since then, Chris has toured extensively and performed at a variety of venues, including shows with Dan Crary, Alasdair Fraser, Men of Worth, The Wicked Tinkers, Skyedance, Brian Baynes, etc. Over the last several years Chris has added American traditional and contemporary folk music to his shows, as well as adding 12 string guitar.

With the encouragement of friends Jimmy Keigher and Donnie MacDonnald (Men of Worth), Scottish singer/songwriter Dougie MacLean, guitarist/recording artist Edgar Cruz, and Johnny Cash/Ricky Skaggs guitarist Jim Soldi, Chris released his first solo album of Celtic instrumental music, "Highland Heritage", in September 2000 on the Cairney Hill Music label. His second album, "The Gael", was released in June 2002. Chris' third album "Celtic Journey" was released January 16, 2006. A single, "Last of the Mohicans/The Gael", off of his fourth album was released for mp3 distribution in December 2010. The fourth album, "Shenandoah" was released in August 2013.Chris' music has also been released on multiple compilation albums in Italy, the U.S., and Japan.

On this recording is Nashville-based Arvel Bird, whose “Celtic Indian” brand is a reflection of his mixed-blood American Indian and Celtic heritages -- With his violin, fiddle, Native flutes and Irish whistles, Arvel weaves a powerful tapestry of music and stories. From music festivals to concert halls, audiences get a glimpse into his Native American heart and Scottish soul.

Also appearing here is well known guitarist Jim Soldi who spent a decade in Nashville playing with Johnny Cash, and in the Ricky Skaggs band as well. His family has owned and operated Valley Music in El Cajon, and his dad was a well known country swing musician back in the day. For about the past year and a half Jim and some members of his band "Back To The Garden" have been backing up Richie Furay (Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member, Buffalo Springfield, Poco, Souther-Hillman-Furay Band.) They have been pretty active on both the east and west coast, theater performances.

Last, but not least playing Bodhran on this recording is Keith Jones. Keith is not your everyday drummer. He has almost five decades of experience and an incredibly diverse drumming language. Keith graduated from Hollywood's Percussion Institute of Technology (MI), and he won the CCMA Rising Drummer Award. He has lead drum clinics and seminars around the country and at his studio in Rancho Cucamonga California.

He has played every style imaginable, from Rock & Roll, Jazz, Celtic to Country, performing with such greats as Joe Houston, John Mayall, Mick Taylor, Gary Allan, Philip Claypool, Wicked Tinkers, New Frontier, Reuben Howe, ESG and many others. Keith has traveled the world playing to crowds of a few hundred to hundreds of thousands of people. You may have heard him on the radio or have seen him on TV on shows such as the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Arrested Development, George Lopez, The Shield, and many TV commercials or morning shows.

When Keith performs he does it with fervour, and his enthusiasm spills over into every one of his performances. His high energy is infectiousand his drumming, intoxicating. Keith proudly endorses Chicago Drums, Vic Firth Drumsticks, Aquarian Drumheads, Bosphorus Cymbals, DrumClip, MagnaKey, PureSound Percussion, Mountain Rhythm, H3 Drum Science, and Countryman Microphones.

Keith's personal philosophy is "always listen and be influenced by music and by your heroes. Be open minded and reach for the stars. Persevere, practice, and always strive to improve. You can never stop learning. There is a place for everyone in this business".



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