“Richard Kitson has quietly emerged as one of the best guitarists of his generation, one who marries blues and folk styles into a fresh new sound". Folk Radio UK
"There is a strength to Kitson's writing that gives you the feeling that his songs will have the potential to survive the long march into becoming traditional". FATEA
"When I grow up I want to play guitar like Richard Kitson". Otis Gibbs
"His inventive finger-picking and slide guitar work underlines a quality of musicianship others can only hope to aspire to". The Plug, Sheffield.
These are just a few things that have been said about Folk/Blues singer, songwriter and guitarist Richard Kitson. After over a decade of live performances and the release of his debut studio album Home and Dry in 2010 Kitson is finally receiving the acclaim that many believe is long overdue.
Kitson began performing at an early age, playing harmonica in school talent competitions and singing in his local church choir. As a teenager he was first influenced by the harmonica playing of Sonny Boy Williamson before pestering his parents for a guitar after hearing Bob Dylan for the first time at the age of fourteen. At Barnsley College in 1998, Kitson joined a punk band called Strawberry Jack who were famous on the towns gigging circuit as the band that was banned from playing most music venues. After this early apprenticeship Kitson played in various blues based bands but never felt totally comfortable as a band front man.
Kitson's solo acoustic career began in 2001 at a gig at the famous Grapes music venue in Sheffield. His first band Strawberry Jack had split up, giving Kitson an opportunity to perform the more folk based acoustic songs he had been writing since he was fifteen. Completely self taught, Kitson regards his early acoustic gigs as an education and ever since he has been honing his guitar and song writing skills on the stage.
2006 saw the biggest development in Kitsons guitar playing style. He had been listening to Big Bill Broonzy, Robert Johnson, Mississipi John Hurt and Irish guitar legend Rory Gallagher and became entranced by their fingerstyle acoustic guitar playing. However, it was upon hearing 60's folk/blues icons Bert Jansch, Davy Graham, John Renbourn and John Martyn for the first time that really shook Kitson to the bone. Kitson has said of these four legends, "I was just getting to grips with the delta and country blues fingerstyle playing, thinking I'd reached a comfortable place in my playing. That was until I heard Bert Jansch who then turned me on to Davy Graham, John Renbourn and John Martyn. It was like the guitar was completely unfamiliar to me, a foreign object in my hands. I basically started learning all over again, trying to play like them".
Kitson's live sets are an opportunity to see a true song-writing talent in an intimate setting. Kitson doesn't say much on stage but he instantly puts the audience at ease with his often self-deprecating Yorkshire wit, leaving his songs and his guitar playing to do the real talking.