Born & raised in Pasadena, California, Guy Tortora is now settled in London, in the UK. He was began playing guitar from the age of 11, and started playing and performing in bands from junior high and high school days in Pasadena, and later around Southern California, soaking up the rich influences of the incredible music scene there in the 60's and 70's when he also travelled widely across the USA and Canada.
What he does as a songwriter and performer is what people like to call Americana these days -- a hard term to define as it seems to mean different things depending on who you're talking to. But if to you it means original songs, well constructed and well performed, in some of the various musical idioms that originated in the USA -- blues, jazz, folk and roots -- and also interpreting the work of other writers in these genres with depth and feeling, then you should check out his work if you haven't already.
Over the last few years he has laid claim to a unique niche on the Blues 'n' Roots scene in the UK and European Continent, from small clubs and theatres to festivals. His two recent solo albums received a warm welcome in the Blues 'n' Roots reviews, a third album was released in 2008 to great acclaim from reviewers and audiences alike. When travelling light, he performs in stripped down acoustic mode either on his own, or accompanied by bass or keyboards. At many UK gigs he appears with the Guy Tortora Band, his own four-piece outfit of accomplished musicians from the UK and Europe. With this band he has performed live with artists as diverse as Eric Clapton, Pee Wee Ellis, John Cleary and Eric Bibb. He has also performed with Paul Jones, host of BBC Radio 2's Rhythm and Blues show, and recorded live sessions for Radio 2 and numerous local stations in the UK and Europe.
Guy is a guitar player of some accomplishment and a talented songwriter. On both acoustic and electric guitars he plays finger style, and is a fine bottleneck and slide player. His playing is not the flashy guitar-slinger style beloved of bluesrockers everywhere, but understated, and leaves room for the songs to make an impact, whether those written from his own unique point of view or the "covers" he performs that include many old standards and traditional tunes as well as songs by more recent American writers such as Eric Bibb or Kreig Viesselman.
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Photo by Geoffrey Arnoldy:Photo by F. Tortora:
Paul Jones -- BBC Radio 2: "Excellent songwriting -- Subtle, beautiful . . . and lovely slide guitar!”
Blues Matters! (UK): "The new CD from the excellent Guy Tortora shines out in the January gloom. Make a resolution to buy (Living on Credit), it is more than worth the price . . . every track stands out."
Americana-UK: "As much understated soul as anyone has a right to expect. Tortora is something of an undiscovered treasure"
Rootstown (Belgium): "Each song glows with a patina that dates from 7 decades ago. Tortora could be Alvin Youngblood Hart & Rainer’s cousin."
Maverick (UK): "Tortora is the epitome of a working musician. He displays an easy and comfortable way with a blend of country, blues and even the odd hint of jazz. One of those musicians who, for some reason, seem to fly under the radar of fame, they go about their business with skill and dedication, coaxing and caressing the most out of [each song] . . . there is a real depth of feeling to Tortora's music.”
Blues & Co Magazine (France): ” A magic atmosphere on every track! Sait tout faire: écrire, compose, chanter, arranger, jouer et rêver.”
Great American Songwriting Competition(2013): Cotton Was King - "(We were) . . . knocked out by the quality of the clever poetics tied together perfectly with the phenomenal hok phrase. It's always refreshing to hear great stuff like this."
Indie Music Review(USA): “Far too often, blues albums end up being hot-to-trot guitar slingers showing off their stuff. But Living On Credit focuses on great songs that are well sung.”
Rootstime (Belgium): “Broad Spectrum Blues!”
Blues and Rhythm—the Gospel Truth (UK): “Bold and sensitive, full of grace and feeling”
Bookings: Please visit the Contacts page for details