Acoustic calm under unsettled skies!

It was my great pleasure to once again visit my local venue Millbridge Court in Farnham and entertain wedding guests throughout the afternoon in glorious surroundings.

Sophie and Alex were married in the stunning garden at the end of the grounds, and I played acoustic versions of 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered', my own song 'Wire & Wood', and 'Here Comes The Sun'. The ceremony was beautiful.

Afterwards, the skies turned less settled, but that didn't put us off celebrating in the garden, and videographer Richard Van Wyke of Creative Capture Media caught this take of 'Dock of The Bay.'

And if you are wondering why I keep looking up, it's at those ominous drops of rain and dark clouds, that stayed away just long enough for us all to have a fantastic afternoon.

 

 

 

 

Tristan Macay
Filling the wedding dance floor with one man and a guitar!

When asked to play acoustic covers for weddings, a lot couples ask me if I really can fill their dance floor on my own.

The simple answer is yes! And its no fluke, I've done it many hundreds of times, including for the weddings of family and friends, and gigantic parties for the likes of Virgin Holidays and Canary Wharf. I've played on boats, beaches, in country mansions and outdoors in the Tuscan sun.

How exactly does it work?

The first key thing is: once I start, I do not stop! By playing straight through an hour or 90 minute dance set the energy stays on the dance floor, where it belongs.

The right song choices are essential. This means reading your audience and guauging the songs that will get guests dancing and singing, and most importantly keep them there. 

I've been using a loop pedal since 2006, after I saw KT Tunstall using one on Later With...Jools. Pretty soon I was coming up with original twists on classics like Billie Jean and Superstitious, versions that have certainly stood the test of time and are still in my sets today. With a loop pedal, you can add bass and drums to live performances, and layer up guitar solos on top. Its great fun! You can see my early loop pedal busking work on YouTube.

Between the right song choices, nearly a decade of experience playing weddings all over the world, a great sound system and the loop pedal you have a magical combination! 

Totally different to a wedding band, its a really unique way to celebrate your evening.

 A packed dance floor at my friend's marquee wedding in 2016.

A packed dance floor at my friend's marquee wedding in 2016.

Tristan Macay
My Top Ten Romantic Wedding Songs

I've arranged acoustic versions for couples and clients of everything from Right Said Fred's 'Deeply Dippy' to 'Sweet Child Of Mine'.

Whatever you want for your wedding ceremony or first dance, with the right arrangement it will truly unforgettable! 

However, here are my favourite songs to play for those really romantic moments of the day, in no particular order:

  1. At Last - Etta James
  2. Stand By Me - Ben. E. King
  3. Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles   (See my cover video)
  4. Thinking Out Loud - Ed Sheeran   (See my cover video)
  5. Let's Stay Together - Al Green   (See my cover video)
  6. My Girl - The Temptations
  7. One Day Like This - Elbow   (Hear me playing this on BBC Radio 2)
  8. A Change Is Gonna Come - Sam Cooke
  9. Just The Way You Are - Bruno Mars
  10. Better Together - Jack Johnson
Tristan Macay
Why acoustic music brings timeless magic to a wedding.

Just think about the success of Radio 1's Live Lounge, or MTV's incredible Unplugged concerts.

There is always something engaging and fascinating about acoustic arrangements of classic and contemporary songs. And of course, they don't have to be originally written for guitar and voice. In fact, some of the most popular songs I perform in my sets are very much band arrangements - Stevie Wonder's Superstition for example, or Michael Jackson's Billie Jean.

The invention of the modern loop pedal a decade ago meant that now guitarists could layer up live 'bands' without any of the nastiness or inflexibility of recorded backing tracks. Its a technique I was exploring way back in my busking days, where many of my favourite looped arrangements found their origins. Many artists including Ed Sheeran, Foy Vance and Damien Rice use loop pedals to bring an incredible visual element and range to their performances.

Of course, it's not just old songs. Great contemporary tracks can be given the acoustic makeover, just like my loop pedal version of Pharrell's Happy:

Acoustic versions like this always have a timeless quality, and the loop pedal means that the song can be as long or as short as I like, and I can build the track as I go, in front of the audience.

Between these loop-pedal 'band' versions and traditional one man and a guitar covers, live acoustic music brings magic to a wedding, creating an unforgettable atmosphere, from laid back afternoon sessions to floor-filling dance sets.

Tristan Macay