Q&A Scene: Guitarists’ Special ~ Nick Charles

Tell us about your new single/ album/ tour?

My latest album is called “The River Flows” and I’ve been touring all over the country, the US and New Zealand now for about 18 months…and still going!

But I’m always tempted to add that independent artists get such limited mainstream exposure that our whole catalogue could be considered new to the majority of the population in a sense.

I’m trying my best to add to my ongoing musical narrative and I guess I’ve never been interested in doing something “different” just to be different.

How long have you been playing guitar?

Can you believe I started in 1970! Although I didn’t become a full time muso until the mid-eighties. I’m still learning daily!

Why did you first start playing?

I was both a blues fanatic , a Creedence devotee and a Beatle tragic – what hope did I have? I wanted to play music from a very young age but due to the family collapse and a tyrannical stepmother who didn’t approve, I had to wait until I was 15 and moved back to my mother and sisters where there was music everywhere. My mother was mad for Ray Charles. At that point in time I devoured everything musical.

Which guitarist most influenced your playing?

There are so many but one that always comes to the fore is Big Bill Broonzy. I do however really respond to great rhythm so John Lennon meant a hell of a lot as did Tom Fogarty.

Describe your favourite guitar. 

My new Maton “Traditional” made by Andy in the custom shop is sublime, plays like a dream and sounds incredible. Not to mention a beautiful sunburst!

How do you prepare for a show?

If I can I like to run through a few tunes beforehand- that’s great but it’s not always possible at a quick change festival or a bar/club environment. So basically it depends on the situation.

A positive moment of focus and a good beginning is critical to every show but you need to have done the yards before you get there that’s for sure. Make sure all your gear works, you look professional and you’re positive.

Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.

I have trouble forgetting playing for a millionaire real-estate mogul at his dinner party in a Melbourne penthouse. None of his staff were allowed to speak unless spoken to and he interrupted every song/tune I played by ringing a bell and pontificating!

I was hoping for the revolution to start.

What, or who, inspires you?

So many things in the arts and outside the arts too – BB King’s intensity and passion, Phil and Don harmonizing, my partner’s grandson playing ragtime piano, a Hans Heysen landscape, Dylan singing “Masters of War”, the Illiad and on and on…

Which song do you wish you wrote?

How about “The Long and Winding Road” for starters followed by everything on Dylan’s 2nd, 3rd and 4thalbums. “Bridge over Troubled Waters” isn’t too bad either.

How would you describe your sound in food form and why?

I like pretty basic fare, nourishing and inwardly satisfying. I can’t stand too much flourish and the basic elements need to do it for me – pretty much the way I like music.

What’s next for you?

I’m writing music for my next album of course, but in a sense it’s all about making a living and not compromising the art, and -as I mentioned earlier- continuing to develop my contribution.

What’s your scene?

I’m not really a scene type although my favourite record shop in Prahran where I grew up was called “Now Scene” – one day I was walking past (I was about 15) and I heard Peter Green singing “Hell Hound on My Trail”. Wow.

My scene involves getting back home from a great gig and vegging out in front of a good series. A good cup of tea is pretty good too. Of course if the show has had dramas, well, I just stress out like every other musician. We’re a precious lot.

The live music scene in Melbourne in the 70s was extraordinary and I saw thousands of shows of all styles. These days I see most of the musical talent at festivals and on the road.

Performing on average 150 shows a year across the world, Nick Charles is known internationally as “Australia’s virtuoso of acoustic roots and blues”. His 30 year career has seen him accumulate every conceivable accolade including Port Fairy Artist of the Year 2014. He’s toured with artists including John Hammond, Guy Clarke, Ralph McTell, Robyn Ford and BB King touring the US 12 times in recent years. This is dazzling fingerpicking roots magic and a lifetime’s stories and songs from the world’s musical highways. In the words of Bruce Elder from the Sydney Morning Herald “he plays guitar like an angel!”

Catch Nick at the Melbourne Guitar Show at 12:00pm on Saturday 4th August at Caulfield Racecourse – EXCLUSIVELY ACOUSTIC STAGE – Level 1 Escalator East Tickets are on sale NOW!

Online ticket prices when pre-ordered:: Adult day pass $20, adult weekend pass $30, family day pass $35, concession day pass $10, concession weekend pass $15, premium ticket** $40




Australian Music Association announced the 2018 return of the Melbourne Guitar Show, set to rock Caulfield Racecourse on August 4 and 5 – and this year, it’ll be bigger than ever.

Proudly presented by Triple M and Australian Musician, the lineup boasts an impressive haul of both local and international artists, and featuring amongst the bunch is none other than UK guitar legend Albert Lee.

In addition to some killer performances from the artists on this massive lineup, #MGS2018 will also hold a monster exhibition that will feature a gigantic variety of electric and acoustic guitars, effects pedals, amps and more state-of-the-art guitar technology, both home-grown and from around the world.  It will continue to be Australia’s biggest guitar pop-up shop, and that’s not all.  The Melbourne Guitar Show will host information seminars, demonstrations, and live performances from Australia’s most talented guitarists.

This year will be extra special as the Melbourne Guitar Show welcomes UK guitar legend Albert Lee.  Lee’s work with The Everly Brothers, Eric Clapton, Emmylou Harris and The Crickets is renowned within the music world and cemented his place as one of the most respected and renowned guitarists in history.  Speaking on Lee’s talent, Eric Clapton enthuses, “(He is) the ultimate virtuoso.  His skill is extraordinary and he’s gifted on just about every level,” while Emmylou Harris says, “(Albert Lee) is a brilliant guitar player…his sound is unmistakable, never qualled.”  The British-born country-rock artist started his long and illustrious career during the emerging rock ‘n’ roll scene of ‘60s London, when he played in bands with the likes of Jimmy Page and Chris Farlowe.  He has received countless accolades for his work, and has been named Guitar Player Magazine’s Best Country Guitarist five times in a row.

The first lineup announcement for #MGS2018 is a big one.  Joining Albert Lee is Daniel Champagne, a prolific young guitar virtuoso with the world at his feet, and Jeff Lang, who has been described by Rolling Stone as “Australia’s best roots music artisan.”  Melbourne Guitar Show favourites Nick Charles and Shannon Bourne will also be returning this year, alongside some seriously talented women Fiona Boyes, Alison Ferrier, Cat Canteri, Nat Allison and upcoming punk rockers Rackett.  Not to mention a whole host of additional artists are set to be announced over the coming weeks.

Drawing over 5,500 guitar lovers and enthusiasts to last year’s exhibit, the Melbourne Guitar Show is growing year on year and is gearing up for the biggest event yet.  The voice of the Australian music products industry, the Australian Music Association (AMA) will be teaming up with australianmusician.com.au and presenting sponsors Triple M, 3PBS and Aon to present this year’s guitar-centric weekend.  At last year’s MGS, punters not only enjoyed scheduled performances and demos from the awesome artists on the lineup, but also witnessed surprise on-stand appearances from some of Australia’s finest artists, including Ian Moss, Darren Middleton (Powderfinger), Paul Dempsey, Oscar Dawson and Ali Barter.  Both the promoters of the show and the exhibitors are constantly wrangling acts right up until the very last minute – and who will be joining the all-star jam this year? Come on down and find out!

Thrilled to present #MGS2018 once again, AMA executive officer and MGS organiser, Rob Walker says, After an awesome show last year, we’re looking forward to continuing the tradition the show is creating.  We’re very pleased to present Albert Lee on his 75th birthday tour, as well as the usual host of wonderful players we present.”

Not only will the 2018 MGS provide a hands-on chance to see, hear and play a broad range of the world’s favourite brands, it will also see exhibitors offering great show deals, plus an opportunity to get close to some hand-crafted, locally made instruments and epic guitar and gear collections.  Describing the exciting developments, Rob continues, “Our exhibition welcomes back some big names this year and the learning opportunities are plentiful.  If you’re in the market for guitars and gear, great live music from some of the best players. the Melbourne Guitar Show is the place to be.”

The first artist line up announcement includes: Albert Lee, Daniel Champagne, Jeff Lang, Nick Charles, Shannon Bourne, Fiona Boyes, James Ryan, Phil Manning, Nat Allison, Brett Kingman, Alison Ferrier, Cat Canteri, Scott Darlow, Rackett, Van Larkins, Justin Bernasconi, Rohan Stevenson, and more to be announced over the coming weeks.

The Melbourne Guitar Show will be held at Caulfield Racecourse on August 4 and 5.

Tickets are on sale NOW!

Online ticket prices when pre-ordered:: Adult day pass $20, adult weekend pass $30, family day pass $35, concession day pass $10, concession weekend pass $15, premium ticket** $40




WEBSITE                 FACEBOOK              #MGS2018            TWITTER                 INSTAGRAM

About Mary Boukouvalas 1576 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.