I came across the music of Toby Hay’s earlier this week on bandcamp with his ep, simply titled ‘Guitar I (the stairwell sessions)’. His playing has a lovely quality that stretches from traditionally inspired tunes to a more experimental sound that is closer to American Primitivism.
The only description for his album was “Recorded on the evening of the first of December 2012 on some stairs in Leeds.” His website was equally bare of information, as was his facebook page…so we got in touch….but first, here he is playing a little ‘ditty’ inspired by home which we found out is in rural Mid Wales:
I’m 22, and live in rural Mid Wales. Been playing guitar for a while, but only realised last year that this kind of solo guitar music was an actual ‘thing’. I played in bands and collaborated with other musicians, and I thought that was what my music was always going to be.
I was in Paris for a few days May 2012, and a friend over there suggested I came along to this gig he was going to. I did, and it turned out to be James Blackshaw. I hadn’t heard of him at this point, like I hadn’t heard of any other instrumental steel string guitarists.
Anyway, this was the moment I realised instrumental guitar music really was a ‘thing’. A ‘thing’ that people would pay money to go and see, and then sit quietly and watch. It sounds crazy, but it was sort of a revelation.
I suddenly realised that the music I had been making on my own for the past few years with just my acoustic guitar, was what I really wanted to do, and could do. I no longer felt the need to involve anyone else.
I recorded my first ep last December on my brothers staircase in Leeds. I am now currently working on my second ep, which I will record at home in Wales and release soon.