Nov 14 2018
If I Can Do It, Anyone Can Do It
Tom Doughty is an accomplished lap slide guitarist, singer and songwriter. He has four critically acclaimed albums to his name, seamlessly blending pop, jazz, folk, and world music influences.
Tom began playing as a child and was largely self-taught, playing by ear and following other guitar players with early influences including Renbourn and Jansch, Martin Carthy, Nic Jones, Big Bill Broonzy and Led Zeppelin.
In 1974, Tom was injured in a road traffic accident which left him paralysed from the chest downwards and with impairments that also affected his fingers and prevented him from playing music. He recalls the frustration of creating music in his head but not being able to hear it in the air. In his own words “I was alive and life went on. An experience like being reborn, I commenced the rest of my life as a disabled person and started to get on with it.”.
Once he was home from the hospital, his family adapted a guitar for him to play on his knee and he improvised a slide on his finger and began to practice. In 1999, he took the plunge into full-time musicianship taking early retirement from a social work job.
Since then, with persistence and hard work Tom has developed his own truly unique way of approaching and playing his instrument, he’s written and released four albums, toured nationally and internationally and teaches lap slide teacher.
“My disability forces me to be a more creative and resourceful musician. I think out of the box and, if anything, my disability strengthens my musicianship. When I play the guitar well, the experience feels emotional, sensual, technical, controlled yet spontaneous”.
Commencing early in 2019, Tom will be undertaking a UK wide tour to each of the 12 Spinal Injuries Centres at London, Aylesbury, Salisbury, Cardiff, Oswestry, Southport, Sheffield, Wakefield, Middlesborough, Glasgow, Dublin and Belfast. The tour is funded primarily through the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester and will be in partnership with Korg UK, The British Paraorchestra, Creative United (Take it away) and Music For All.
Between February and September 2019, Tom will spend a day at each centre bringing guitars and equipment for up to 10 participants to teach. There will also be a local concert which could be public or private depending upon the wishes of each hospital. A second guitar and equipment will be donated to each centre, and Tom has recorded several instructional videos which will be permanently accessible through the internet.
This initiative will be the second such tour as Tom carried out something similar in 2012 which was funded by Arts Council England.
You can see Tom performing at Bridgewater Hall, 25 January 2019.
With thanks to Alan White and the information provided in his interview with Tom.
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