Guitar hero Tony Cox to serve up a musical feast

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GUITAR MAESTRO: Tony Cox will break habit and perform covers of South African favourites

Louise Liebenberg

ACOUSTIC guitar fans in the Eastern Cape are in for a special treat as musical legend Tony Cox is heading here for a series of performances to promote his forthcoming album, Padkos. Cox, who lives in Cape Town, will perform at the Little Theatre in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday and at the Legends showcase venue in East London next Friday.

The veteran musician is known for his jaw-dropping guitar skills and infectious sense of humour that, as his many fans will know, transform every live performance of his into a must-see.

Wednesday night’s show will be his first “proper” visit to Port Elizabeth in three years, when he and another South African musical legend, Steve Newman, performed here together.

Padkos, Cox said, was a project unlike any he had produced before. Having built much of his career around the ethos of “original work only”, he said he recently decided to do an album made up virtually entirely of covers.

Not just any old covers, mind you, as these were all South African songs from Cox’s own life journey; songs he grew up with and was inspired by and songs known and loved by many South Africans.

Among the inclusions on the album, which is expected to be finished by early March, are Bright Blue’s Weeping, Jabulani  by PJ Powers and Abdullah Ibrahim’s Mannenberg.

Cox said he would record the album in Joburg “with my old producer, Joe Arthur, who did all three of my Sama award-winning albums”.

The difference is that all of the songs will be performed in the trademark guitar style that has made Cox one of the most well-known and highly-rated musicians both in this country and beyond.

“Car packed to the rafters with gear, on my way out to yet another destination, another show, always padkos packed, such an important ingredient and nothing like scoffing it on the road,” Cox reminisced. “The music was always there. I love so many of these tunes, as do most of my fellow ‘Sefricans’.”

Cox said he got to thinking that padkos was one of the many things South Africans had in common and that this prompted the idea for the album and shows.

The response to the songs has been “brilliant”, he said: “I’ve received several standing ovations in the Cape for Padkos  and it’s been great fun to play these songs in my own style – and see how moved people become when they hear them instrumentally.

“Some have even said to me that they experience a deeper emotional pull when hearing the songs played on guitar.” Cox has another reason to feel nostalgic this month, as he celebrates his 60th birthday today.

Tickets for the show at the Athenaeum in Belmont Terrace on Wednesday at 8pm may be booked at www.quicket.co.za and range from R70 to R100.

Alternatively tickets may also be booked at the Little Theatre box office from 9am to 5pm in the week – call (041)585-1041 for details.

The East London show will be at the Legends showcase venue at 42 Stuart Drive at 8pm next Friday. Tickets at R120 are available at Lee Gold Music on (043)735-1586.