Cape Town Folk ‘n Acoustic Festival 2011: Guy Buttery goes vinyl

Cape Town Folk ‘n Acoustic Music Festival 2011: Award-winning fingerstyle guitarist Guy Buttery co-headlines the inaugural Cape Town Folk ‘n Acoustic Music Festival – to celebrate a new take on the legendary folk gatherings, and to launch his new limited release vinyl record.

This article by Evan Milton first appeared in the Cape Argus “Good Weekend” of 2011/ 12/04.

Guy Buttery: Cape Town Folk Fest - and a new vinyl LP

Guy Buttery, South African Music Award winning acoustic guitarist, is unmitigatedly enthusiastic about his inclusion on the bill for the Sedgwick’s Old Brown Sherry / Marshall Music Cape Town Folk and Acoustic Music Festival. “You know my vibe,” he says by telephone from his Durban birthplace. “I grew up on Tony Cox and Steve Newman and Syd Kitchen. I always played their music in my home, and I have played live with them a bunch of times. I would always hear about these legendary folk festivals of the ’60s and ’70s, but I never experienced them. Even chatting to Dave Marks (“Master Jack”, “Hey Mister”, Durban-based musician and producer, and founder of 3rd Ear Music), he’d talk about thousands of people coming to the folk clubs they had back then.”
“That’s a complete non-reality for me,” continues Buttery, who has played extensively across South Africa, and abroad, and won the Standard Bank Golden Ovation Award for the best performance at the 2010 Grahamstown National Arts Festival. “That massive support for acoustic and folk music is something that I’ve never had. But for someone who’s been into this music since I was a wee lad, it’s exciting to be part of something that is growing again, from strength to strength. This is the first Cape Town Folk and Acoustic Festival, with plans for many more and, even plans to one-day bring in other musicians from other countries.”
But history and nostalgia are not the only reason for Buttery’s happiness. “Real Wired Music are putting the show together, and I love them to bits. Every production I’ve done with them – from the days of the Levi’s Vintage Sundays shows – has always been highly organised and with great sound. And then there’s the line-up… Maybe it’s because they’re a whole bunch of my friends, but I think the line-up is pretty awesome. People like Farryl (Purkiss), Gary (Thomas), Andy (James), James (van Minnen) and John Ellis – it’s awesome to be part of a festival where you have some kind of history with the other musicians. Backstage, there are going to be lots of cool jams.”
The happiness turns to unashamed glee, though, when talk moves to his new album, “To Disappear in Place”, a limited edition release produced only on vinyl, and available only at gigs or on order directly from the artist. Each album comes in a beautifully detailed sleeve and is pressed on 180 gramme vinyl, and is hand-numbered by Buttery himself.
“I’ve been a vinyl junkie since my early teens,” he explains. “I was born in the early ’80s, so I kind-of missed the record-player generation. But, being a die-hard Tananas fan, I found a 12-inch big cardboard-covered version of a CD that I already had. I was completely mystified, thinking, ‘What is that?’ Obviously I’d heard of records, but I’d never really thought about listening to one or owning one. But that Tananas album was it; after that I found some old Led Zeppelin records, and then some other guitar players that I really liked. I became this obsessive hoarder of all the good vinyl I could find. Then I got into the rare LPs, the limited edition releases, the 180 gramme pressings, the audiophile stuff…”
Initially, “To Disappear in Place” was conceived as a 7-inch record, with recordings left over from the sessions for Buttery’s “Fox Hill Lane” CD, which went on to win the 2010 South African Music Award for “Best Instrumental Album”. Buttery’s long-standing friend, Steve Hawes of Erased Records. “Initially, we thought, ‘Why not put out a 7-inch single of B-sides; stuff that we had on file and on archive – things that did not make it onto the album. Particularly the stuff that we did with Chris Letcher, and all these arrangement ideas that he had. There were pieces that, for me, were better than what went onto ‘Fox Hill Lane’ , but we had to finish that album in time to launch in Grahamstown. In hindsight, I could see that all the ‘Fox Hill’ material worked really well as a whole, but it was great to look at the old material again. Then we thought we might have enough for a 10-inch EP. Finally, we realised that, actually, we had a full-length album.”
The new record is a ten-track masterpiece of out-takes, remakes, live recordings and demo’s. It features three pieces by Chris Letcher and a demo version of the title track, featuring UK singer-songwriter Piers Faccini. Also included are collaborations with legendary KwaZulu-Natal singer and guitarist Madala Kunene, and Buttery’s long-time friend and inspiration, Tony Cox. The album was mastered in Holland especially for vinyl playback.
“The nature of what I do is always quite niche,” says Buttery. “To marginalise it even more into the vinyl world is a bit of a risk, but there’s been a very encouraging response from collectors. People are into something more tangible and tactile – they want to see the artwork and read the liner notes and hold it and just experience it all. Then there’s the ritual of taking the album out and putting it on the turntable. In a Zen kind of way, that helps us slow down in the day. Instead of just spooling through an iPod – and that’s something I’m guilty of too – when you take the LP out of its sleeve, and warm up the valve amp, and put the needle into the groove. It slows us down and brings us back to what music appreciation should be about. It helps us digest the music further.”
Guy Buttery plays the inaugural Cape Town Folk ‘n Acoustic Music Festival alongside Steve Newman, Ard Matthews, Farryl Purkiss, Machineri, Christine Weir and Julie Blundell, John Ellis (Tree63), Gavin Minter (Wired To The Floor), Rory Eliot (Plush), Brian Finch, Andrew James, Gary Thomas, Natasha Meister, Jack Mantis and more (Saturday 10 December, Cape Town International Convention Centre, 7pm; tickets R180 from or R200 at the door; R5 will be donated to the Cape of Hood Hope SPCA). More on and at Please also bring a fluffy toy to spread the season of cheer to all – the toys collected will be donated to children at The Warehouse and Al Noor Orphanage. Hand-numbered copies of the “To Disappear in Place” limited release vinyl can be ordered from or
*Photo by Leon Wolmarans
* Tickets for the 2013 Cape Town Folk ‘n Acoustic Music Festival are available at
This article by Evan Milton first appeared in the Cape Argus “Good Weekend” of 2011/ 12/04.