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Acoustic Alchemy

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London, United Kingdom (1981 – present)

Acoustic Alchemy is a British and band formed in London, England in the early 1980s (c. 1981), originally fronted by acoustic guitarists Nick Webb and Simon James. The band is currently fronted by Greg Carmichael and Miles Gilderdale.

During the 1980s, there was little grateful audience for this form of music in the UK, and the big players in the genre were all American. The pioneering sound of two duelling acoustic guitars - Simon James on nylon and Nick Webb on steel - was a fresh touch on the genre, and hence the immediate success of the band, backed up by a double bass, percussion, and occasionally string quartet The Violettes. In the mid-1980s, James left the band; he would go on to form Kymaera, a similar, albeit more Latin oriented band. Webb then went on to discover Greg Carmichael, who became James’ immediate successor.

The new pair got work playing as an in-flight band on Virgin Atlantic flights to and from the United States - after sending some demo material to Nashville-based label MCA, the band was called six weeks later to record their first album. The pair had literally played their way to America, and in 1987 released their debut album, “Red Dust and Spanish Lace”. The project saw them joining forces with other like-minded musicians such as Mario Argandoña on percussion and Bert Smaak on drums. The album was recorded at the Hansa Haus Studios, in Bonn, Germany. This was where they met sound engineer Klaus Genuit, who has worked on many of the band’s albums.

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