It's impossible to just name one in isolation, but the players that have really 'turned me on' over the years have been Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch, Mark Knopfler, James Burton, Roy Buchanan and Derek Trucks. But, after saying that, my idol was always Buddy Holly, and the way he played was truly the greatest influence on me. It's the music that you love when you are young that is the most enduring, and the way Buddy played had everything I aspired to as a guitarist. I have met Maria Elena Holly a couple of times over the years. What an honour to be in her presence.
'When The saints Go Marching In'. Every kid with a guitar learnt it in my day, in the 'hot' style, and I started playing it in the mid '50's as soon as I had my first guitar when I was ten. You only need to know four chords to play it - G, G7, C and D7 - all of which are probably the first chords 'would be' guitar players learn anyway. I got a little group together around that time in my home town of Swindon, and it was our 'go to' favorite. It's a gift of a song for anyone wanting to understand rhythm, strumming and foot tapping music. Also, all the people we played to seemed to know at least the first verse, and they would sing along - it has such joy in it. The second song I learnt was 'Oh My Darling Clementine'. After that, I dived into Rock and Roll and Country style songs and I was on my way.
Now I tour with my Cherry Red Gibson 335, a Sunburst ’59 re-issue Gibson 335, my original 1965 Telecaster, and a white Squire Stratocaster. I have a few acoustic guitars on the road at any one time. With the Moodies I carry my original Collings, a beautiful James Olsen, a black Guild from the 90’s and my Guild 12 string (which, when I took it out of it’s case one day, had mysteriously developed hundreds of hairline cracks all over the front of the guitar – probably from severe temperature changes in a truck). I also carry a PRS acoustic, but I haven’t found a song for it to play yet. On my solo tour I brought out my ‘home’ Collings, my Taylor 12 string and my Tom Anderson electric as well as all the above. My 1955 Martin D28 almost made it (it did do the Blue Jays tour in 1975) but at the last minute I decided it would be happiest at home or in the studio with Alberto. If I could choose only one guitar to be with me it would be my cherry red Gibson 335. It’s been with me so long, it always delivers and I love it so much.