In most instances, three guitars on any given stage might not be such a good idea (I’m looking at you, Molly Hatchet), but this is clearly not the case as far as the California Guitar Trio is concerned.
It’s been nearly a quarter century since Paul Richards, Bert Lams and Hideyo Moriya met at one of Robert Fripp’s intensive Guitar Craft courses in England and were individually drafted to join the King Crimson founder’s League of Crafty Guitarists. When Fripp mothballed the League, Richards, Lams and Moriya soldiered on, relocating to Los Angeles and naming their freshly formed instrumental guitare a trois after their new home state.
Over the past two decades, CGT has become a singular musical force, impossibly uniting fans of World, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Surf and Bluegrass under one unlikely banner. To that end, the Trio has visited stages around the globe and linked their unique talents with a dizzying and diverse cross section of their peer group, including King Crimson, Taj Mahal, David Sylvain, Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman, Leftover Salmon and many others. CGT’s music has become a favorite soundtrack on CNN and ESPN, figured prominently in Olympic coverage and was the wake-up music of choice for the crew of the Space Shuttle Endeavor.
For a band that has nearly reinvented the idea of originality — how many groups have covered Beethoven and Bach then followed that with a cross-pollination of Stan Jones’ “Ghost Riders in the Sky” and the Doors’ “Riders on the Storm”? — it’s difficult to imagine the Trio exploring new terrain. But the group did just that last year with the release of Andromeda, CGT’s first album of material written entirely by the Trio’s members.
The California Guitar Trio’s current circuit is billed as its “20th Anniversary Tour.” Given the threesome’s blazing originality and boundless musical energy and curiosity, another 20 years of their magnificent creativity seems blissfully inevitable.
California Guitar Trio plays Molly Malone's in Covington March 19.