NEW RELEASE !Gerry Leonard is a Dublin born guitar player, songwriter and producer now based in upstate New York. As part of the New York scene Leonard’s distinctive ambient style has led to his working with many great artists over the years. A highlight was becoming music director / guitar player for David Bowie on his last year long “Reality” world tour and DVD (2003/2004). Apart from Bowie’s previous two records, “Heathen” (2001) and “Reality” (2003) and the subsequent tours, he is also featured on the penultimate David Bowie record titled “The Next Day” and had two co-writes with David on the album, “Boss of me” and “I’ll take you there”. “The Next Day” came out on March 12 2013. Gerry was honored to be part of the Brit Awards Tribute to David in Feb 2016.Leonard produced and helped co-write the last full album for Suzanne Vega. “Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles” came out in Feb 2014 and has been very well received garnering 4 star reviews from Q and Mojo music magazines. He has also produced and arranged the new album from Suzanne based around the life and works of the author Carson McCullers. This new 10 song album called “Lover Beloved” was released in the fall of 2016.Having just come back from Spain where he worked with Manolo Garcia for 2 months, playing stadium shows in all the major cities in Spain and starting work on Manolo’s new record, Leonard is currently touring with Suzanne Vega promoting the last record and previewing the new “Lover Beloved” material. The current show is a duo show featuring the sublime vocals of Ms Vega and some more “Spooky Ghost” style arrangements of her songs, that are using Leonard’s unique style of looping and ambiences. Highlights include stripped down versions of “Blood makes Noise”, “Tom’s Diner” and “Jacob and the Angel” from the last record. The shows have been receiving standing ovations on the current world tour.
This past year saw the completion of two production projects. Along with the completion of the new Suzanne Vega record “Lover Beloved” scheduled for release in the fall of 2016, Leonard completed a record for Czech Band Vsichni Svati (translates to All Saints). The record ” Jednou to Skončí ” was released in March 2016.
In other works as a producer he has recently worked with up and coming artist Ari Hest. The album “Fireplays” was released in Oct 2012 to great praise and reviews. Other productions include platinum artist Donna Lewis,“In The Pink” released in May 2009, emerging artist Donnie Mortimer “Ten Eventful Years” released September 2010, and the Czech band Czechomor. Their record titled “Mistecko” went gold in May 2011.
Further credits include recording and touring as guitar player and music director for artists such as Rufus Wainwright (“Want One” ,”Want Two” ,“Release the Stars”), Laurie Anderson (“Bright red”), Duncan Sheik (“Humming” ,”Phantom Moon”, ”Daylight” , ”White Limousine”, “Whisperhouse”), Roger Waters (“The Last Mimsey Soundtrack”).
When not touring or recording with these international artists, Leonard heads up his own project, Spookyghost. Under the name Spookyghost, he has recorded two solo albums. The first recording simply called “Spookyghost” was primarily an ambient guitar record, made in his New York apartment in 1998. His second, “The Light Machine” (2002) has been described by David Bowie as “Quite the most beautiful and moving pieces of work I have possessed in a long time.” A third Spookyghost album is currently in the works.
In movie soundtrack his guitar playing is featured in “The Deep End” and “Bee Season” both scored by Peter Nashell and released on Fox Searchlight Pictures. He is featured on the Roger Waters end title song “Hello” written for “The Last Mimsy” on New Line Cinema. He has also completed his first original score for an independent movie called “32A” released to festivals in 2008.
Travelled down to Gateshead (from Glasgow) to see Suzanne Vega at The sage. Totally enthralled by the guitar playing of Gerry Leonard. Had not heard of him prior to this concert but intend to find out more and listen to his spectacular playing. Thanks Gerry and Suzanne for a wonderful evening!
Totally agree, a fabulous performance by both artists. Apologies for the local ‘mucky’ weather
Saw your show with Suzanne Vega in Birmingham 3rd Feb. simply sensational.
Just seen him live with Suzanne Vega. For me he was the real star of the show. Without him Vega would have been OK but not great. His musicianship carried her through so many numbers that would otherwise have just been dull. Without doubt a truly great guitar player. I only wish I’d really listened to him earlier.
I totally agree with what Roger Harris has said and I’m a big Suzanne Vega fan. With just the two of them on stage at the Barbican, London he was astonishing. Ms Vega explained to the sell-out audience that what you heard from Gerry was played live and there was nothing pre-recorded.
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Caught the show in Ostend with Suzanne Vega on Feb 18 – what a masterclass in tasteful guitar playing! Really added a new dimension to several of Suzanne’s songs.
For shame – I didn’t realise you’re the same Gerry whose arrangement of Bowie’s “Loving The Alien” on the Reality Tour CD made it one of my favourite Bowie songs. Respect!
What do you play in guitars ? I remember that you’ve had a Gibson custom shop ES 335 with a bigby, isn’t it ? Now you play on a PRS no ? What do you prefer ?
Just saw Gerry with Suzanne Vega in Singapore. He really reinterpreted Suzanne’s old works. Luka and Left of Centre sounded a shade more melancholic. Gerry was a one man sound machine.
I saw them in Birmingham UK on the day of Tentacles UK release. Suzyv was, of course, sensational. Gerry Leonard’s guitar playing was stratospheric! At times he seemed to be playing an orchestra! Hope she keeps him on board.
I just experienced Gerry play with Suzanne Vega in Sydney, Australia on 20 April 2014. Gerry added an astonishing depth to to the songs that I’ve loved so much for more than 25 years (in some cases). His multi-layered approach to live guitar performance was extraordinary. His musicianship was inspiring and wonderful.
Just saw Gerry play with Suzanne Vega in Sydney, Australia last night (on 20 April 2014). What a treat! Gerry added astonishing depth to songs that I had loved for 25+ years. His multi-layered approach to the music was technically brilliant, and sonically astonishing.
I had the pleasure of sitting front row at the Suzanne Vega concert last night in Philadelphia directly in front of Mr. Leonard. He is one of the most amazing guitar players I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen quite a few! He was masterful, the way he got so many sounds out of his guitar- it was percussion, chorus, and strumming altogether- his playing was so expressive and captivating. He breathed new life into Vega’s songs, and I’m so glad I got to see him up close!
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I think Suzanne needs a bigger, more rockish footprint with a giant PA system or something?
Gerry can fill in with a million watt live stage rig maybe. Love it anyway, just want more!
Thanks for coming to Ithaca! We purchased Spooky Ghost plus Vega’s Tales.. — love them both. I’m also a Rufus & Sheik fan — Phantom Moon and the Want albums are amongst my favorites — & my friend loves Floyd and Bowie. You make great music greater. Come to Moogtober in Ithaca http://www.thehistorycenter.net/thc_events/2014/moogtoberkickoff.php Lately I’ve been listening to Andrew Bird — are you aware of him? http://www.andrewbird.net/news/
Thanks ! We loved playing here.
Just saw you with Ms Vega at The Vilar Center at Beaver Creek Colorado. Bravo! Thank you for showing an old Height-Ashbury burnout that genius lives on!
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Really enjoyed your end-of-tour show in little Saugatuck, Michigan. Very sorry about the heckler. I’ll have you know he was hanged in the town square at noon the next day. Well, not really, but he should have been. Anyway, tremendous performance and do please come back!
I came with my wife to see Suzanne a few weeks ago at the Towne Crier. I’m always up for a show even though I don’t know all that much about anything. Anyway, I enjoyed Suzanne but you totally made my night. I loved the fact that in my 35-years, I’ve never even attempted to wear clothing as amazing as your grey suit that looked inside out even though I’m sure it wasn’t. Furthermore, I’ve never played guitar in my life but I am an artist and watching you play was an inspirational thing. It’s just an honor to see someone who has mastered his craft as you so clearly have. I’m not there yet with mine, but I hope to get there some day and I hope to look as f***ing cool as you if I ever do.
Yes that Suit will be nice when its finished
Thanks for the great review !
bet of luck with your art ! Ghost
What a long way you’ve come Jerry. I always remember you playing guitar in the classroom in Joey’s. Given the feedback here I must delve into your music a bit more. I’m sure its good. Best Wishes Jas.
Wow Its been a long time since anyone mentioned Joey’s …
Best to you James.
I saw Gerry with Suzanne Vega at Gödör Club, Budapest (Hungary) in 2009.
As a drummer, I was dissapointed at first (before the show) that there will be no drummer, no drumset on stage…
After the show I was totally amazed, I’ve never seen such a great-great, tasteful and smart guitar player. He stole the show. I remember, I told to all my musician friends,that I saw a mirracle, mindblowing guitarist.My favouirte guitar player since then.
Keep playing Gerry,wish you all the best!!!
I would be glad if you join my band:)
Attila Labodics from Hungary
Sorry for my bad English…:)
Is there a place I can buy a copy of your Official Bootleg live album?
Not sure if it’s available right now
Thanks for the reply. Lemme know if a copy turns up that I could purchase. Thanks again!
Hi Gerry, really enjoyed your gig with Suzanne Vega at Cadogan Hall on Tuesday night. What a treat! I met you briefly after the show at the signing, and asked you for your recommendation on a steel string guitar for me – not quite a beginner, but not quite an intermediate yet. My classical guitar is not quite cutting it with the rock tunes. Would love to get your thoughts on a make and model for a rich rock sound. Best wishes, Alison
Hi Ally what is your budget ?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy Warhol in The Grand Social last night was perfection.
What a gig eh! Hope you keep showing up at the Festival.
See you next year.
Dear Mr. Gerry Leonard,
I watched a video on Youtube in which you and a name of other musicians who worked with David Bowie over the years discussed various riffs from a number of Bowie’s songs. You mentioned the song “Heathen” and said that it reminded you of some “modern classical” composers. I love that song and I was curious what composers helped inspire that riff?
Thank you for your time,
Listen to Arvo Part or Goreki
Like someone else above, I loved your sound before I knew whose sound it was — “New killer star” and “Loving the alien” from the Reality Tour album are among my favorite Bowie tracks, ever, and “Ashes to ashes” grooves hard for a song that was not really born to be played live; sounds like you get credit for the arrangement. Then I saw Suzanne Vega @ City Winery in NYC the other week, and was blown away by your spare, dead-on playing. Everyone in earshot of me was the same — “that guitarist is amazing.” Sorry but because of the physical resemblance I couldn’t help thinking about Andy Summers — always a favorite for the similar restrained perfection on big spacey tracks like live versions of “So Lonely” or “Tea in the Sahara.” But your sound & sensibility would have been as good or better in the Police’s music I have to think. Will definitely be looking for whatever you’re putting out from now on. Thanks for a great show!
Thanks man !
Great show tonight at Utrecht! Thank you so much for coming over here. I enjoyed it very much!
Saw the show in Saint Louis, back in the year 2004.. That show was amazing, just like you! love your work!!!
Gerry, you’re one of my favorite guitar players of all time. I seem to be able to do most of the solo for White Limousine and not missing any notes. The thing I’m missing is the fluidity. I can’t figure out if the guitar you’re using has a well-set up guitar with a deep-bending tremolo/bridge (like a Jeff Beck Strat), or slide guitar, or both a great tremolo/bridge and also slide. What was your gear and signal chain for this studio recording? Thanks very much.
You know it’s so long ago that we made that record I can’t be sure of the original chain but I know I used a digital tech Whammy Pedal on that solo
Set to a one octave jump
Gerry, thanks for the reply. I was betting on two things: 1.) A tremolo setup that was absolutely spot on, and would make Jeff Beck jealous, or 2.) Some version of the Digitech Whammy Pedal. I’ve tried to recreate the part with slide and without, and never gotten it quite as fluid as the original recording. At least I know it’s not because I’m not playing well enough- it really is a great pedal used to great (and I’d argue) organic effect that someone in my position as a listener could entertain a couple of options on how to get close to the recorded part. Thanks so much. In gratitude and much respect for what you do, and that you cared to respond at all. Very best wishes.
I just watched a Tiny Desk segment featuring Gerry with Susan Vega, Wow! one of the best players I’ve ever seen, Gerry serves the song with total restraint and mastery at the same time, I wish I had discovered him sooner! Mike in Mpls.
Cher Monsieur Léonard, je me rappelle avoir eu le plaisir de vous voir évoluer dans une petite salle de province français ( La Luciole à Alençon). C’était il y a maintenant bien longtemps. Vous étiez ce soir là en compagnie de Mme Suzanne Vega. J’avais adorer le show que vous aviez donné tout deux. Je me souviens que Mme Vega portait sous sa veste un teeshirt qui représentait la pochette de l’album “the man who sold the world ” de David Bowie. Je n’oublierai jamais cette belle soirée. Merci à vous……….
Hi Spooky Ghost!
I have been a fan of yours since I heard you play guitar for David Bowie! I’m a huge fan of his, and when you joined became a fan of yours. I love the style, your breakdown (acoustically) of “Loving The Alien” and later you even gave me time online to ask you questions about your famous boss and your own solo endeavors. I never got to properly say thank you, to a wonderful man. You gave time, friendship and beauty. I thank you Spooky for all your time, I enjoy your guitar still, hope maybe one day we can catch up…stay sweet and again thank you dear Irishman!
I would like to make a comment about the song “Where are we now”. I just don´t know what happens to me, but when I listen to the song from the minute 2:35 to the end I just starts to cry. I mean, it´s strange…it´s something that touches me very, very deep, like a trigger, and I just cannot avoid. I think it´s the mixture of the David´s voice in agony and the timbre of the guitar. Just put me in a very humble place and determines the limits of my own mortality. Thanks.
Thanks John, It was a special moment when DB played it too me for the first time. that guitar line come to me straight away. Beautiful song …
Hi Gerry, we saw the show in Echternach last night… it was great. We were so happy that the concert could finally take place.
Your style playing the guitar is really gorgeous 🎸🤗… Still have a good Tour!!
Greetings from Germany
Thanks We had a great show too !
Tonight I was richly gifted- both from a surprise show ticket & by an amazing performance with you and Suzanne Vega at the Freight. I was amazed by the artistry of your show. Thank you both!
Those mini mesa boogie stacks are precious, and saturating.
Best of luck with the tour~
Thanks for the great review and for coming out to support live music