A Guitar’s Story – Gordon Quinton, Solo Guitar

A Guitar's Story cd cover






Gordon received the 2013 Instrumental Artist/Group of the Year award by Newfoundland and Labrador’s music industry association, MusicNL, for his recording, A Guitar’s Story.







From the album notes:

The Guitar:  
     I remember walking by a store with my mother when I was three or four years old.  A small, plastic, yellow toy guitar in the window caught my eye and drew me to it.  I loved the look of it and I cried till she bought it for me.  It called to me!  I learned my first chords on a real guitar when I was about twelve years old.  My brother Doug’s friend, Roy King, came to our house with a beautiful, old Sunburst Gibson Archtop.  He showed us some guitar chords and how to use them to play songs.  It was magic.  I loved the sound, the feel and the look of this beautiful instrument and wanted one of my own.  I saved my money for about a year and finally, when I had the $12.98 that it cost, saved, I ordered my guitar from the Eaton’s catalogue.  It came in the mail after a few weeks and I was in heaven.  It was black and yellow and had a painting of a palm beach scene on it.  I spent countless hours in our old woodshed back home in Windsor, Newfoundland playing and figuring out chords.
     Over the years, I’ve played and owned many guitars and continue to be amazed at the lovely sounds that can be produced by this wonderful companion.
This CD is a collection of tunes, new and old, that I have put together and represents a sound and style that I developed over the years.  It is my guitar’s story!


  1. The Rolling Train Breakdown  (Gordon Quinton) (3:03) While growing up in Windsor in central Newfoundland, I spent many hours watching the trains go by.  This guitar piece evokes memories of a train thundering full speed ahead on the way to the paper mill in nearby Grand Falls on a hot summer afternoon.
  2. A Sailor’s Jig  (Gordon Quinton) (1:20) For my grandfather William Stephen Quinton and all the other sailors of long ago.
  3. The Dawning of the Day  (On Raglan Road)  (Traditional) (4:47) A tender melody from the 17th century by Irish harper Thomas Cannelloni.  The tune was later used by the Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh for his moving love poem “Raglan Road”.
  4. Boys of Blue Hill/Harvest Home  (Traditional) (1:59) These are two hornpipes that work well as a medley and are fun pieces to play.  An older version of “Harvest Home” is known as “The Cork Hornpipe”. 
  5. Haystack Lament  (Gordon Quinton) (4:41) Sad feelings upon leaving after a visit to this magical place, my parents’ home in Placentia Bay, remembering stories of a thriving and vibrant community before Resettlement.  To get the tonal range I needed for this piece, the guitar was tuned to a low C tuning:  C-G-D-G-A-D.
  6. The Merry Maiden Polka  (Traditional) (2:04) Doc Williams and the Border Riders recorded this tune in the 1950s.  I’ve always liked its happy, festive sound.
  7. Seamus O’Brien/Far Away in Australia  (Traditional) (2:31) Two lovely old-time waltzes that I always enjoy playing.
  8. House of the Rising Sun  (Traditional) (2:40) As a teenager, I played a cover version of this Animals hit in my first rock and roll band. The haunting mood of this widely interpreted folk song always appealed to me.
  9. A Night of Shimmering Stars  (Gordon Quinton) (4:42) In the late 1990s, I was invited to perform at the newly organized Cape St. Mary’s concert series by Delf Hohmann and Fyzee Shuhood.  When we arrived at the bird sanctuary on a sultry August evening, we were greeted by the most unbelievable night sky I have ever seen.  The sky was filled with millions of sparkling, shimmering stars that you could almost reach and touch.  It brought to mind Vincent van Gogh’s impressionistic painting Starry Night.  This composition honours both that unforgettable night at the Cape and the passionate Dutch artist.
  10. Quito’s Tune  (Gordon Quinton) (3:21) A tribute to our magnificent cat Quito.  We rescued him after he was abandoned in a winter snowstorm.  I use a combination of dark and light chord sections to show his journey from a very bleak beginning to a life of joy and fun in a loving home.
  11. The Little Burnt Potato/Smash the Window  (Traditional) (1:58) A jig medley of tunes I heard on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television shows a number of years ago.  Maritime fiddler Don Messer often played “The Little Burnt Potato” on his Don Messer’s Jubilee program.  Ray Walsh and his band performed “Smash the Window” on All Around the Circle out of St. John’s.
  12. O’Carolan’s #179  (Turlough O’Carolan) (2:59) I first heard this Turlough O’Carolan (1670-1738) piece wonderfully played on a recording by American guitarist El McMeen.  It’s one of my favourite O’Carolan compositions.
  13. Amazing Grace  (Traditional) (2:55) As a child, I noticed that many of the old hymns which I heard in church had very beautiful melodies.  “Amazing Grace” is still one of my favourites.  The words were written in the late 1700s by the English poet and clergyman John Newton.  In 1835, the American composer William Walker set it to music based on a traditional melody.
  14. The Maid Behind the Bar/Sally Gardens  (Traditional) (1:47) I learned “The Maid Behind the Bar” from the album Souvenirs and Memories by Newfoundland accordion player Wilf Doyle.  This guitar’s story ends with my interpretation of the delightful, rollicking Irish reel “Sally Gardens”.

Total Playing Time:  41:21

For Waldemar, Neville and Howard

This compact disc was digitally recorded and engineered by Craig Young during sessions in March, April and May 2012 at his studio in Paradise, Newfoundland.  In order to maintain a direct and spontaneous vibe, each tune was recorded live from the floor of the studio.  Complete takes were captured with no editing or overdubbing.

All selections solo, acoustic guitar by Gordon Quinton
Produced by Gordon Quinton and Craig Young
Recorded at Craig Young’s Studio, Paradise, NL
All selections arranged by Gordon Quinton for solo guitar
Original compositions and original arrangements published by Woodnight Music, St. John’s, NL (SOCAN)
Cover concept and layout by Gordon Quinton and Patti Fulton
Early photograph of Gordon by Wanda Quinton; photograph of Main Street, Windsor, and of Patti and Quito by Gordon Quinton; all other photographs by Patti Fulton
Illustration and graphic artwork by Patti Fulton
Graphics by Lillian Fidler Design Limited, St. John’s, NL
CD mastering by Michael Dominici, Music House Mastering, Mount Sinai, NY, USA
Manufacturing by Music Manufacturing Services, Toronto, ON

I’d like to thank:
Patti, for her love and constant encouragement
Quito, our wonderful feline companion; he has been beautiful beyond words and has so greatly inspired and enriched our lives
Craig and Norma Young, for opening up their home and studio to me
Craig, for his love of the guitar and his enthusiastic interest in this recording project.  Thanks for your insight and patience in helping me get the sounds, textures and colours that I wanted.  I really enjoyed hanging out with you and loved our many “guitar talks” over coffee in your kitchen.
Thank you to Michael Dominici, Lillian Fidler, and Robert Buck and all at Music Manufacturing Services for their fine contributions to this recording. 
My gratitude to everyone who has influenced and supported my lifelong musical adventure!

Woodnight Records, wnmcd-005

Copyright © 2012 Gordon Quinton/Woodnight Music.  All rights reserved.  Any unauthorized duplication, exhibition or distribution of this recording or any part thereof is strictly prohibited and is a violation of applicable laws. Made in Canada. 

A Guitar’s Story Samples