Q & A with Claude Bourbon

Medieval and Spanish blues guitarist Claude Bourbon, originally hailing from Europe and currently touring around the United States, will be performing at the Bullfrog Brewery, 229 W. Fourth St., at 8 p.m. Sept. 16.

Each year, Bourbon plays more than 100 shows around the world. Born in France in the early ’60s, Bourbon grew up in Switzerland and was trained in music. Bourbon has studied all over the world and takes inspiration from music all over the world, such as blues, rock and jazz. Bourbon has mastered the art of fusing together the genres of classical and jazz music, incorporating Eastern, Spanish and Latin influences that are just as popular with the Western world.

Critics have compared him to other remarkable guitarists such as Paco De Lucia, Deep Purple’s Richie Blackmore, Joaquin Rodrigo, J.J. Cale, Monty Python, JS Bach and Stevie Nicks.

His roots are in the blues, but he has inspiration from all over the world.

Many people from the U.K., Europe and U.S. have enjoyed listening to the virtuoso vigorously pluck his fingers over his guitar, and because of this mesmerizing performance, many of the audience have chosen to return time and time again. His sound has been said by the BBC to “instantly creates ambience – from haunting Spanish moods to lyrical, romantic jazz, Claude Bourbon provides both a rich evening of music for lovers, and a real treat for music lovers.”

His latest tour features music being performed from his double CD, “Over the Mountains.”

The Sun-Gazette recently spoke with Bourbon to discuss the French natives upcoming performance at the Bullfrog Brewery and his mesmerizing style of performing music.

SIMONE BROWN: Hello Claude! First off, how did you decide to become immersed in the music profession? Does musicianship run in your family?

CLAUDE BOURBON: No musician in the family … My interest in music comes from my father. He was in charge of the maintenance of the Jukeboxes at the company he works for and has to replace the records in these machines every few month. So, we always had the latest 45 RPM records at home. That was in the early ’70s.

SB: What kind of classical training in music did you have and where did you go for it?

CB: I went to a music school in a town called Fribourg in Switzerland for a few years. That’s where I learned about Renaissance music.

SB: Where else in the world have you studied?

CB: You get influences from all kind of sources when you’re a traveling musician.

SB: What have been your favorite genres of music to study?

CB: Developing your own style is the most important.

SB: What made you decide to stick with the blues genre?

CB: Blues only plays a minor part in my music. I’m mainly interested in Spanish music and Renaissance music. That’s where my ideas come from.

SB: Have you learned to play other instruments than the guitar?

CB: No.

SB: Would you say your heritage has had an impact on your music?

CB: If by heritage you mean where I come from … I’d say yes, my influences are mainly European music.

SB: When you play at the Bullfrog in Williamsport, what songs will you be performing?

CB: A mix of my last three CDs … a mix of songs and instrumentals.

SB: Where else will you be touring for the remainder of this year?

CB: After this U.S.A. tour, which will take me until the end of October, I’ll be touring Germany and Switzerland until Christmas.

SB: Who would you say your biggest musical influences are?

CB: Music from Spain, Germany, England, Ukraine and The U.S.A.

SB: Lastly, what do you have planned for the future of your musical career?

CB: I’ll probably end up playing electric guitar in a rock band.