Like many people, Jonathan’s musical journey really began whilst in his early teens. He had already developed a keen taste for the varied and timeless music of the Beatles but with the aggression and dark angst of many a teenager soon started experimenting with stronger, more aggressive music in the forms of rock and heavy metal. An auspicious start for someone playing the acoustic music he has become known for but it still forms an integral part of his musical landscape.
“When I was a kid I used to love my dad’s old Beatles records and would play them endlessly. It was really through listening to their later material that I moved on to start listening to bands such as Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Megadeth and a whole raft of other hard rock and heavy metal. For a young lad, the music was so powerful and intense…mesmerising and dark. As I grew, naturally, I took on influences from many classical and traditional sources but to this day, I still maintain a huge passion for rock.”
In his early 20s, Jonathan relocated for a number of years to Somerset in the Southwest of the UK. This was quite a rural area and provided his first insight into folk and Celtic style music.
“Whilst living in Somerset, I took lessons from the renowned guitarist and tutor Tom Toomey. At that time Tom had just released a Celtic folk album “Iron on Stone” with Simon Swarbrick, Roger Frost and John Burton and it was through him that I was introduced to some of the traditional pieces played on guitar. Many of these tunes shared the intricate melodies or ominous, dark flowing passages of the music I already enjoyed so it was easy to immerse myself in the music further.”
In 2001, Jonathan moved away from Somerset to study guitar music and performance at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, Surrey and then continued with further studies at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music in Brighton, Sussex emerging from both with “Distinction” honours.
“Before that time, music had always been a hobby not a living but I hated working in an office – and I’m not sure the office like me working there! Lol! I made the decision about what I wanted to do – and that was to play guitar. Studying at the academies enabled me to gain qualifications to stand me in better stead for gaining teaching work. I was quite realistic about the fact that I wasn’t just going to go into the world and say, “Hey, I’m a guitarist” and expect work to fall at my feet.”
Since this time, Jonathan has continued teaching and playing both in rock and acoustic styles.
“It was in 2009 I decided to try and create something further from my acoustic playing. I’d initially been inspired by my tutor Tom’s work and had thought to create something in that vein. As I started working with the music though, I found it very difficult to remain within the confines of the traditional styles and soon found myself integrating aspects from classical, blues, rock and even heavy metal music.”