Will McNicol

Too good to miss Will McNicol at The Minster Church of St Andrew, Plymouth

What a pity this thoroughly-entertaining recital could be enjoyed only by those lucky enough to be in the city centre around lunchtime, as it was really too good to miss.

Highly-talented young performer Will McNicol has not only successfully bridged the gap between classical-guitar playing and modern steel-string technique, but has created a unique repertoire to encompass this – from original compositions to second- and third-generation takes on existing standards.

Will had put together a most effective and varied programme that reflected his life-travels to date. From the wistfully Celtic charm of Emma, the intriguing Music Box Waltz, The Wake Up, Oscar’s Philosophy, and the uncannily evocative Harare – where he combined the instrumental sound of the indigenous Mbira with jungle noises – he took his audience on a musical tour from Scotland to Africa, calling by the Americas on the way, distinguished by a particularly idiomatic rendition of Willie Brown’s Mississippi Blues

True he had some assistance from a few electronic gizmos that enabled him to produce multi-track layered textures on the hoof, but his ability to generate and combine all this was almost an art in itself, especially when adding a little hand-produced percussion to the mix – the ultimate one-man-band.

But if there was one thing that stood out even more than his highly-polished delivery, it was Will’s obvious delight and simple sincerity in sharing his gifts with his listeners.


Philip Buttall

Philip Buttall

Philip R Buttall was the Classical Music Writer at Plymouth Herald from 1997-2017. He is a sought-after piano teacher, composer and arranger, and online concert and CD reviewer. Further information and contact details are available at www.philiprbuttall.co.uk
Philip Buttall