Recently heralded as ‘a great lost Scottish talent and one of our finest ever blues players’, Andy Gunn’s inspirational return to the music scene was proclaimed, in his own undeniable style, by the acclaimed 2015 album Miracle of Healing.
Andy’s truly original, intuitive and soulful playing has drawn comparisons to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix. He has shared the stage and billing with some big names too – highlights of his career this far include supporting Buddy Guy at The Queens’ Hall, jamming with Albert Collins and backing Geno Washington at the first Belladrum Festival.
Andy pays tribute to his parents for the gift of his first guitar at an early age, and to his mother’s rock’n’roll collection for leading him to Blues masters like Lightening Hopkins and Muddy Waters. This early development formed a precocious talent – Andy’s first band Jumpin’ the Gunn were signed by Virgin Blues Label, Point Blank, and they travelled to Memphis just as he was leaving school. This early experience gave Andy the enviable opportunity to exchange riffs with Al Green’s rhythm section and Pop Staples, to name a few. Here a progressive talent developed into a prodigious style which led to Andy being ranked as a world class talent.
When Andy returned to Scotland, a new chapter in his career began. He played alongside The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, with members of Gary Moore’s Midnight Blues Band, Martin Stephenson, and toured with 4 times British Blues best harp player Errol Linton. However, The US soon called again and Andy went on a voyage of musical discovery touring New York, Chicago, Memphis, Nashville and New Orleans, jamming with many great musicians, igniting the music scene and sparking the comment ‘damn, I didn’t know they picked cotton in Scotland!’.
However, not everything has been gifted to Andy, and this explains his lost years. When Rob Ellen wrote ‘Andy Gunn is the blues’, he was referring to the deep personal tragedies that have affected Andy’s life and health. Born with haemophilia, as a child, Andy was one of the patients affected by blood products contaminated with Hepatitis C and HIV via the clotting medication Factor 8. For many years, Andy campaigned to bring justice for his fellow victims of the contaminated blood scandal. These protests eventually helped to bring ex gratia payments to the bleeding disorder community.
Andy kept the campaign activities separate from his music, but both were sustained alongside many specialist treatments, which have included overcoming cancer twice. However, his desire to play and the strong support he has received from fellow musicians has resulted in an unstoppable musical energy. With great thanks to Martin Stephenson, the years lost to illness manifested as Miracle of Healing, which was produced during Andy’s second battle against cancer. Here, his intelligent articulation of personal tragedy, wealth of experience and unique talent shows, in Ellen’s words, why ‘Andy is a true guitar great of the old school and a living blues legend of the modern age’.
However, although Andy can articulate the blues like no other, his optimism, style and astounding talent means seeing him perform is an electrifying, uplifting and unforgettable experience. When Blues Britain described Andy’s music as ‘a resounding triumph over adversity’, they were exactly right. The Andy Gunn Band goes from strength to strength, playing gigs throughout Scotland, the North of England, and recently taking the stage at Perth Southern Fried Festival and Belladrum.
In addition to Miracle of Healing, Andy has recorded the albums Flip Flop Kinetics, Bonar Bridge Sessions, and Regional Variations. His fifth album, the highly anticipated ‘Blessed’ with school friend and fellow Jumpin’ the Gunn band member Vikki Kitson, is due to be released in early 2017.