Tributes have been paid to John Renbourn, whose death was announced yesterday [March 26, 2015].
Fairport Convention‘s Simon Nicol told Uncut, “Another light has gone out. John made a uniquely important contribution to guitar music and I first became aware of his playing when I picked up the guitar in my early teens. John influenced more people than he ever knew and he knew a lot of people. He was much-loved and will be much-missed.”
Meanwhile, online David Crosby hailed him as “a great musician”.
Other friends and fans including Gordon Giltrap, Riley Walker, Cerys Matthews, Andy Votel and Lauren Laverne also offered their condolences.
I'm still numb from the news that my old friend John Renbourn has passed away.
— Gordon Giltrap (@GORDONGILTRAP) March 26, 2015
Peace John Renbourn my main dude
— Ryley walker (@ryleywalker) March 26, 2015
So sorry and sad to hear of John Renbourn's passing. A loving, lovely man. RIP John, it was an honour and pleasure meeting you.
— Cerys Matthews (@cerysmatthews) March 26, 2015
RIP John Renbourn.
— Andy Votel (@AndyVotel) March 26, 2015
While several novelists including Ian Rankin and Jonathan Coe also paid tribute.
Ach, and now John Renbourn has died. What a guitarist…
— Ian Rankin (@Beathhigh) March 26, 2015
The news of Renbourn’s death was made public by Glasgow venue, The Ferry, where Renbourn, 70, had beem scheduled to play on Wednesday, March 25 as part of a UK tour with fellow musician, Wizz Jones.
Writing on their Facebook page, The Ferry said, “RIP John Renbourn. As his chosen Glasgow venue in recent years we are sad to announce the passing of our friend John Renbourn. All at The Ferry missed you last night, John!”
Speaking to Uncut, a member of staff at The Ferry confirmed Renbourn had failed to turn up for the March 25 show. “He didn’t show. nobody knew where he was. Wizz Jones was in the dark about what had happened. He did the show on his own. We tried to contact him. Wizz Jones called his agent [manager] this morning. He didn’t know what was happening so he called the police local to where he lived [Hawick, Scotland]. They went round to his house and found that he had died.”
Renbourn’s manager Dave Smith, who worked with him for 25 years, confirmed the news of his client’s passing to Uncut. It is believed the guitarist died from natural causes.
Renbourn enjoyed a wide-ranging career, as a solo artist, as a collaborator and also as a member of Pentangle.
Born in Marylebone in 1944, he became involved with the London folk scene in the early 1960s, where he met Bert Jansch. The two men recorded Bert And John in 1966.
Renbourn became a founding member of Pentangle the following year, along with Jansch, Danny Thompson, Jacqui McShee and Terry Cox.
The band’s first American tour included performances at the Newport Folk Festival and Fillmore West with the Grateful Dead.
This line-up of Pentangle stayed together until 1973, recording five albums: 1968’s The Pentangle and Sweet Child, 1969’s Basket Of Light, 1970’s Cruel Sister and 1971’s Reflection.
Renbourn also worked as a solo artist in tandem with his commitments in Pentangle.
He released his first, self-titled album in 1965.
During the 1980s, he received Grammy nominations for 1981’s Live In America with the John Renbourn Group, and Wheel Of Fortune, his 1983 collaboration with the Incredible String Band’s Robin Williamson.
His last studio album was 2011’s Palermo Snow.
Renbourn also released books and video lessons for aspiring guitarists, beginning with Guitar Pieces in 1972, and ran a series of guitar workshops. This year’s workshop was due to take place in Spain during September.