Folk-baroque fingerstyle guitarist Laurence Juber was the guitarist with Paul McCartney’s Wings for three years, with whom he won a Grammy. The man has also recorded over two dozen solo albums, and he’s at Boulevard this week so the CCN asked him about all of that and more…
When did you start playing and performing?
I started playing guitar in November 1963 – it was my 11th birthday present and I have never put the instrument down. I played my first gigs at age 13 for a local bandleader at weddings. I was in a series of pop and rock bands as a teenager, but my ambition was to become a studio musician, so I stayed in school, graduating in music from London University. Recording and performing with the UK’s National Youth Jazz Orchestra helped launch a full-time career
as a session player. In 1978 I was plucked out of the studio world to play guitar with Paul McCartney.
Describe your sound…
As a teenager. I was captivated by what’s known in the UK as the ‘Folk-Baroque’ – fingerstyle acoustic guitar with influences of blues, jazz, ragtime, folk…I refer to it as ‘borderline everything.’ As an instrumental soloist, I work to make the melody sing with its own voice, with an accompaniment that combines, harmony, bass and rhythm into a fully self-sufficient texture. I pluck with bare fingers on my right hand – not using nails or fingerpicks — which provides a full range of expression.
What are your career highlights so far…
As a studio guitarist in London, I played on the soundtrack of The Spy Who Loved Me. I spent three years as Paul McCartney’s lead guitarist in Wings, with whom I won a Grammy. Since moving to L.A. in the early 80’s, I’ve played guitar on multiple award-winning movie and TV soundtracks, including Dirty Dancing, Pocahontas, Good Will Hunting, Home Improvement, Roseanne. Voted Guitarist of the Year by Fingerstyle Guitar magazine. Having the venerable C.F. Martin company produce a number of editions of my signature guitar. As a composer, I’ve written music for movies, TV, theater and video games.
Do you have any recorded music available?
I’ve recorded more than two dozen solo albums including four of arrangements of Beatles tunes, as well as tunes from the ‘Great American Songbook’ and many of my own compositions. The latest, ’Select Blends’ is a ‘virtually live’ album, drawn from my live-streamed ’Tea Time With LJ’ sessions during COVID lockdown. I’m also featured on collaborations with British folk-rocker Al Stewart and studio recordings with Harry Styles, Dan Hicks and many others.
Have you performed at Boulevard before? Any memories?
I have performed at Boulevard a number of times. There are few local venues that are ideal for performing on solo acoustic guitar and Boulevard is a perfect listening room. The owner, Gary Mandell, a guitarist himself, is most supportive.
What can we expect from the set this time?
My playing fuses folk, jazz, blues, pop and classical styles, creating a multi-faceted performance that belies the use of only one instrument. The repertoire runs the gamut from
Beatles and Hendrix to Gershwin, along with many of my originals and most popular arrangements. It’s an entertaining show, not a classical-style recital – I engage with the audience, tell some stories etc.
What else do you have coming up?
When the pandemic shut down much of the live music business, I pivoted to production and composing and cut back on travel to spend more time in the studio. I’ve increased my activities on electric guitar and am performing fewer of my solo acoustic shows. While you may see me in various ensembles around town, this concert at Boulevard is a rare opportunity for a solo show.
Laurence Juber can be found at laurencejuber.com. He performs on Saturday, Nov. 5 at Boulevard Music. More info on the show at boulevardmusic.com.
Elsewhere this week
Culver City’s music venues have a full calendar of entertainment over the next four weeks. For the Cinema Bar, that includes the Hot Club of Los Angeles (every Monday), Open Mic Night every Wednesday, the Everglades, Jetpack, the Mike Livingston Trio, Dennis Spencer, Stoop Down, Bruce Ray White, and more. For more information, go to thecinemabar.com.
The Culver Hotel will be hosting the likes of Sylvia & the Rhythm Boys and and Scotty Bramer. Go to culverhotel.com for more info.