STORY BY MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER/For 21st Century Media
It’s been a long and winding quarter century journey with many ups and downs for Acoustic Alchemy that has been filled with critical acclaim, exciting live performances and tragedy. Formed by guitarists Nick Webb and Simon James in London, the two recorded a self-financed, self-produced album in the mid-1980s entitled Acoustic Alchemy. James left the partnership shortly afterward to study flamenco guitar in Spain, leaving Webb to promote the record on his own.
Webb hooked up with rock guitarist named Greg Carmichael and the two assumed the band moniker of the already recorded album. Signed to noted label GRP, the duo released what is considered their debut, Red Dust & Spanish Lace, to overwhelming popularity. Grammy nominations and sold out live shows followed, but then disaster struck.
While writing what would become Positive Thinking in 1997, Webb was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. His condition worsened to the point where he was unable to put in the studio time and appear on any of the tracks. He died in February 1998, and the album was released later that year. Webb’s death left the future of the band in question, but Miles Gilderdale, who was playing in the electric guitar slot at the time, expanded his technical skills and repertoire on acoustic guitar and stepped forward to take the place alongside Carmichael at the front of the band. And it’s been that way ever since.
This Wednesday, the band will perform at the Sellersville Theater in support of Live in London, a two CD live recording which was released earlier this year. It’s Acoustic Alchemy’s first ever double album, featuring songs from their 2011 studio release Roseland, along with classic tracks from the band’s 16 album catalog.
“For a lot of people, instrumental music is just a sound that plays in the background,” said Carmichael in a statement. “But we put a lot into it – not just with this record but with every record we’ve ever made. I’d like to think that after all these years, we’ve learned how to take people on a journey. A lot of our fans have said that we do that for them. As long as they keep coming back, and as long as they want to stay on that journey, we’ll keep doing what we’re doing.”
IF YOU GO
What: Acoustic Alchemy in concert.
When: 8 p.m. Nov. 5.
Where: Sellersville Theater, 24 W Temple Ave. in Sellersville
Info.: Call 215-257-5808 or visit www.st94.com