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Sublime journey through time with a man and his guitar

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 03, 2013

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Pete Berryman's new show, Six String Adventures, is one of those gems you don't really expect to find in a cold church hall in Lostwithiel on a freezing Saturday night when most people are staying in to watch X Factor, writes Pauline Sheppard.

Over the years Pete (pictured) has played with some of the greats in folk music and has travelled the world with his guitar, so he has plenty of stories. However, these aren't the usual tales told while re-tuning guitars in folk clubs. In Six String Adventures Pete has honed the words. His stories are tight, paced, and poetic.

We lie in a bunk aboard Greenpeace boat Fri, watching the wooden planks in the hull move in and out with the pressure of the waves as she rides out an ocean storm. We stand on a volcanic island as it shakes. We have nowhere to run as armed forces charge into a gig in Africa. We witness the recording of a world famous folk song, which almost wasn't sung that day.

There are explosions in quiet Cornish woods, piranha fish in a hotel where someone has to stay on after a gig to protect Roger Daltrey. flying foxes, benders, coconuts, Cadillacs and a Rolls Royce in his catalogue of adventures.

Then again, how do you explain to a Dutch policeman that you have no documents for the moped you are riding and that it was given to you in Trieste by two girls who had finished using it and were flying out of Europe, and had similarly got it from a boy somewhere in Yugoslavia? For a brief, naive and beautiful time in the late sixties and early seventies, life was like that on the road.

Guitarist, composer, singer, songwriter Pete Berryman arrived on the acoustic music scene in the 1960s with the Famous Jug Band which also featured Clive Palmer of the Incredible String Band. At this time he also recorded with Ralph McTell, Wizz Jones and Al Stewart and in 1971 his influential LP with John James , Sky In My Pie, was released. Since then he has collaborated with many notable musicians, worked in theatre and film, and played as far afield as Hokitika and Abidjan.

Interweaving the stories is a subtle and beautiful musical journey through wonderful homages to such greats as Wizz Jones, Davy Graham, Ralph McTell, Diz Disley and a particularly lovely Nuages by Django Reinhardt. And this is not to mention Pete's own beautiful songs and compositions.

A sublime evening, it was entertaining, funny and poignant – social history told in words and music.

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