The artists who already know exactly who Alister Atkin is reads like a Who’s Who of the music scene: Richard Hawley, Elbow, Kathryn Williams, Kate Walsh, Ronan Keating, Graham Coxon… They all know Alister as the master craftsman who handbuilt their beautiful guitars. That Alister’s famous Atkin Guitars stem from a love of the music they create is no surprise, but that Alister is himself a musician and performer has been a well-kept secret to date.
While studying guitar making at The London School of Furniture, Alister was quietly also moonlighting as a performer. 'While in London I remember watching Richard Thompson, Paul Brady and Crosby, Stills and Nash all in the same week. I even saw John Denver's last UK performance at the Royal Albert Hall. Myself and my friends Craig McEvoy and Brendan O'Brien started gigging in small venues all around town. It was brilliant time.'
Returning to his hometown of Canterbury he established and built up a guitar making business of such reputation that his name became synonymous with fine acoustic guitars, and major artists started finding their way to his door to request custom-built instruments. Meanwhile Alister continued to perform on small stages in the area and built up close working relationships with some of the finest musicians in the region, who were quick to recognize his talent.
In 2010 a chance invitation from Geoffrey Richardson (Penguin Café Orchestra, The Paul Brady Band, Caravan) to perform a one off show with him at Broadstairs Folk Week, proved the catalyst to finally take his own music more seriously. It’s no surprise that major names in music were lining up to provide guest performances for the resulting debut album, which includes contributions from Kathryn Williams, Chris Difford (Squeeze), BBC Folk Award winners Brendan Power and Tim Edey, and of course PRESS RELEASE Geoffrey Richardson. Difford and Richardson also contributed the co-written track ‘The Power Of Now’.
‘In Time…’ is otherwise written entirely by Atkin, and features ten songs of transatlantic love and loss, generations gone by and more, creating a soundscape around them which is led by his beautifully subtle guitar work – and yes he does play an Atkin guitar. The opening track 'Tom' asks the question why Alister's Grandfather, a Fighter Pilot in the Second World War came to take his own life a few years after the war had ended, leaving behind a wife and 2 children. 'Soulmates in Time' inspired by Ben Okri's 'The Famished Road' was written in Cape Town while searching for the Hotel where Alister's Father had died 17 years earlier. The Song , like the book explores the idea that some of us may live many lives and meet again and again. Tinged with an Americana feel, it is nevertheless a record that at heart is English through and through. Produced and mixed by Lee Russell (Ezio, Kate Walsh, Paul Carrack), the end result justifies the long journey that has brought Alister Atkin out of the background of the music scene and finally finds him centre-stage.