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Friday, May 23, 2014


Tony Cox is a Guitar Genius! (Review by Keith Millar)

Genius is much over-used word. But on this occasion, I can think of no more appropriate way to describe the artistry of acoustic guitar legend, Tony Cox, than to say that he is a Guitar Genius!

Cox is currently appearing at the Catalina Theatre at Wilson’s Wharf promoting and performing music from his latest album, Padkos.
Padkos. Now there is an evocative South African word. It brings to mind family road trips in years gone by, when as long as Mom had packed sufficient padkos to last the journey, and there was plenty of good music to listen to, all was well with the world.

It was memories such as this which inspired Cox when it came to compiling his new album. However Padkos is a project quite unlike any Cox has produced in the past. He has built his reputation around performing and recording original works, with only one or two rare deviations. On this occasion, he decided to do an album almost entirely of cover versions of iconic South African tunes. All songs and melodies which are loved not only by Cox himself but also by many South Africans from all cultural backgrounds.

The music is performed in the inimitable style which has led to Cox being considered one of the foremost guitarists in this country and beyond. Included are Johnny Clegg and Jaluka’s Impi, Bright Blue’s Weeping, Swinging Safari by Bert Kaempfert - a German composer, but a quintessential African tune, PJ Powers’ Jabulani and Zambesi by Nico Carstens.

There are also a few original numbers on the programme including the title track, Padkos, which is a three chord foot-stomper, Long Walk To Nkandla – which is played on a booming and resonant baritone guitar, the moody Invisible and his memorable tune with a lovely background story Slap Chips.

The majority of the items on the programme are instrumentals with Cox providing vocals on a few occasions. He also keeps the audience entertained with his laidback and friendly chatter between numbers. Every song has a story.

Tony Cox is a master of the finger-picking style of guitar playing. He is immensely talented and skilled. His music moves from a gentle whisper to a roar of passion and covers every nuance in between. To hear him perform is an emotional experience which will leave you feeling happy and invigorated.

If you enjoy guitar music performed at its very best you don’t want to miss this show – and you will want to get the CD as well.

Tony Cox performs at the Catalina Theatre at Wilsons’ Wharf until June 1 with shows from Thursday to Saturday at 20h00 and on Sunday at 18h00. Booking is at Computicket or phone 0861 915 8000. – Keith Millar