Jacques Stotzem and Rory Gallagher : the road from an acoustic cover to a tribute album

Note : la version française de ce billet se trouve ici …

What comes right after the huge success of an album?

For a passionate musician like Jacques Stotzem, this question never has raised. If the success of the first album “Catch the Spirit” has deeply changed his life as a musician, it did not happen overnight or by chance.

As a big fan of Hendrix or U2 he plays arrangements of their songs at each concert. The audience does never fail to show enthusiasm for these acoustic arrangements of rock masterpieces. Why not arrange a few more and release an album capturing the soul of rock on an acoustic guitar?

Here comes « Catch the Spirit”.

CatchTheSpirit

On this album, Jacques Stotzem captures the spirit and melodies of classic-rock songs with his personal flair as a soloist and his inimitable style. With his precise and respectful arrangements, the  Belgian guitarist has reached a success exceeding the sphere of guitar lovers. It has reached rock fans and large audiences, with the enthusiastic support of Classic 21, a radio station devoted to classic-rock, that was excited by the bold arrangements of these Rock pieces.

The album ranked fourth in the Belgian Ultratop and stayed in the Top for forty-one weeks, it has also hit 32# in the international Ultratop, an amazing result for a single musician playing instrumental acoustic guitar.

lonely-roadThe tour that followed the release of this album was fabulous and has inspired the album Lonely Road. This album of original compositions was recorded  during the year of the « Catch the Spirit”-promotion tour. It brings together life impressions of a solo musician on the road, always on the lonely road between yesterday’s concert and the next one.

But with abundant musical material to hand and an audience asking for more, the idea of a second Catch the Spirit quickly emerged.

Huge success again!

CatchTheSpiritIIWhen you are busy making a cover album with acoustic arrangements of rock-guitar legends, it seems obvious to arrange pieces of Rory Gallagher.

The first album Catch the Spirit presented an acoustic arrangement of his song Moonchild. This piece will be the trigger for the next album.

But let’s step back in time.

 1977, an overwhelming encounter with Rory

We are in 1977, near Liège and the young Jacques Stotzem discovers Rory Gallagher on stage at the Sports Arena in Grivegnée (spelled wrongly « Greveniers » on the original ticket). The melodic genius mixed/together with the onstage energy of Rory Gallagher had carried away the young Stotzem who at that time knew already that his life would be dedicated to the guitar. And while he was an acoustic guitarist, his influences had always remained rooted in the classic rock, with musicians like Jimi Hendrix or bands like Led Zeppelin.

20 years later, an appointment for a tribute

As Jimi Hendrix’s arrangement on his acoustic guitar had attracted the benevolent attention of Hendrix’s fans, the arrangement of « Moonchild » drew the attention of the Rory Gallagher Fan club, that was preparing a special edition of its annual festival to celebrate Rory Gallagher’s legacy.

Rory-PosterContacts between the artist and the organizers quickly lead to an invitation to play at the tribute festival for the 20th anniversary of Rory Gallagher’s death.

But a few pieces are not enough to play at a tribute festival, there is a need for a slightly expanded repertoire of arrangements of Rory’s songs. Still on the road for the promotional tour of « Catch the Spirit II », Jacques took his guitar and worked hard to provide a full repertoire dedicated to Rory Gallagher. As the number of arranged songs was slowly growing, a tribute album obviously seemed to be the next step to go.

Big Challenge

Finding rock pieces that can be arranged on an acoustic guitar and performing them alone on a guitar is a challenge. All pieces do not easily convert to solo acoustic guitar.  It takes a lot of talent and work to  make something better than simply harmonizing chords on a recognizable melody and create a piece that has a life of its own, beyond its existing fame, without betraying the spirit and energy of the original,.
Tapping into the discography of a single artist and releasing a set of pieces arranged on acoustic guitar as a coherent album is also a challenge. Getting to discover and enjoy the music of Rory Gallagher, the acoustic guitar and the music of Jacques Stotzem on a single album seemed impossible.

But nothing is impossible to Jacques Stotzem, here comes his new CD, « To Rory », an acoustic tribute to Rory Gallagher.

CD Stotzem ToRory

CD Stotzem ToRory

All albums of Jacques Stotzem are available here : Acoustic Music Records.

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