Old Bridge Music

Still Getting Away With It

Still Getting Away With It


The mischievously-titled Still Getting Away With It is the fourth solo CD from Chris Newman, the UKs premier flat-picking guitarist: a celebration of his 40-year career and a warm and witty invitation into his rich and adventurous musical world.


Conceived as a musical autobiography, and a perfect showcase for his extraordinary skills as guitarist, mandolinist, composer and arranger, it comprises eighteen tracks, ten of which are originals. Balancing finger-busting wizardry(The Scotsman) with tender lyricism, it crosses boundaries with consummate ease, exploring genres from English, Scottish, Irish, Swedish, American and Québecois traditional, to country, ragtime, latin, African, swing and modern jazz while creating a seamless and uplifting whole.


Scroll down for Reviews and Tracklist.

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The mischievously-titled Still Getting Away With It is the fourth solo CD from Chris Newman, the UKs premier flat-picking guitarist: a celebration of his 40-year career and a warm and witty invitation into his rich and adventurous musical world.

Conceived as a musical autobiography, and a perfect showcase for his extraordinary skills as guitarist, mandolinist, composer and arranger, it comprises eighteen tracks, ten of which are originals. Balancing finger-busting wizardry(The Scotsman) with tender lyricism, it crosses boundaries with consummate ease, exploring genres from English, Scottish, Irish, Swedish, American and Québecois traditional, to country, ragtime, latin, African, swing and modern jazz while creating a seamless and uplifting whole. Still Getting Away With It balances virtuosity with lyricism and ranges from the dark and hypnotic Pear Drops and Fourteen Pounds via the haunting Air on a Shoestring, the smoky Moaninand the tender Closing Time to the helter-skelter Not Likely! and the joyfully effervescent Québec Reels. Its a delightfully eclectic platform for such a singular talent and a very personal statement: the front cover features Chris as a five-year-old playing the guitar in his grandmothers garden!

Click to read Chris’ biography.


Chris Newman acoustic and electric guitar; mandolin; octave mandolin; fretted and fretless bass; electric double bass; keyboards; Arty McGlynn acoustic and electric guitar; Simon Mayor mandolin; Nollaig Casey violins; ire Ní Chathasaigh harp; Paul Buckley guitar on track 8; Mark Newman guitar on track 8; Davy Stuart – fiddle on track 15; Roy Whyke drums and percussion.


1. Pear Drops and Fourteen Pounds 2. Buddy, Can You Spare a Tune? 3. Just a Drop to Steady Myself 4. Torrevieja 5. Temptation Rag 6. The Humours of Kiltyclogher/ Gusty’s Frolics 7. The High Life 8. Moanin’ 9. Québec Reels 10. Air on a Shoestring 11. E major 6/8 12. Around the Houses 13. Three Degrees of Separation 14. The Silver Spire/ Cattle in the Cane 15. Cardrona Spring 16. Barndances: My Fiddle/ If there were no Women in the World/ The Blue Heather 17. Not Likely! 18. Closing Time

Review Extracts

“A superb guitarist, partner of the doyenne of Irish harp players Maire Ni Chathasaigh and a former member of Boys of the Lough, Chris Newman has always been musically omnivorous, and reveals the astonishing variety of his repertoire, style and technique in these 18 tracks.

With studio guests that include guitar star Arty McGlynn, fiddler Nollaig Casey, mandolin maestro Simon Mayor, and Maire on harp, this is a joy- filled romp through blues, back- porch pickin’, Quebec reels, Django swing jazz chordings, bluegrass, African high-life, ragtime, Irish jigs and beyond, and is a must-buy for any guitar player.”

* * * * SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY, 7 November, 2010, Norman Chalmers


“Amazing… I love Chris’s playing: great soul and a wonderful feel for all his music… One of our greatest musicians”

Mike Harding, BBC RADIO 2


“A seriously gaping abyss of 12 years since his last solo album, Chris Newman returns triumphant with a concise exercise in the art of acoustic guitar playing. As usual a wide variety of styles are showcased here, from ragtime and swing guitar to Irish airs, Québecois tunes, Swedish polkas, country and African crossover.

Luckily for me, I love all of these guitar styles, and I’m fully conscious that I’m in the presence of greatness here – 18 instrumental tracks (10 of which are self-penned and a further five his arrangements of traditional tunes), and all of them chosen with care and relish by one of the top guitarists of his ilk anywhere. The supporting cast ain’t bad either, including Simon Mayor, Arty McGlynn, Máire Ní Chathasaigh (of course) and her sister Nollaig Casey, as well Chris’s own brother Mark (also a fine guitarist). Even his electric contributions on Stratocaster belong on the same radar as the acoustic majority (the track Moanin’ is sublime).

Temptation Rag (or Temptation Bag if you were to believe everything the electronic files tell you) is easily my personal fave, but that owes more to the style that I like to play (or attempt to) than anything else. I could have singled out any of these tracks as they all have a particular charm and collectively demonstrate this artiste’s musical wizardry in the most succinct fashion. Lettin’ your fingers do the talkin’ again, Chris. A cracker.”

THE LIVING TRADITION, January-February 2011 – Grem Devlin


“Chris Newman is not only a really nice bloke but also one of my favourite ‘folk’ guitarists along with Simon Nicol, Frank Simon (ex-Bully Wee), Ken Nicol, Arty McGlynn and Tony McManus now that you ask… so, it goes without saying that I always expect great things and of course, Chris never fails to deliver.

Forty years? Is that really how long he’s been plying his trade? Well, it would appear so from the information gleaned from the press notes and getting down to the nitty-gritty from the exquisite delicacy of the self- composed opening track “Pear Drops And Fourteen Pounds” (written to celebrate his earliest paid gigs) you can feel comfortable in the knowledge that here is a master-craftsman at the peak of his abilities. Surrounding himself with an equally talented bunch of musicians including partner Maire Ni Chathasaigh (harp), his brother Mark on guitar, Nollaig Casey (violin), Arty McGlynn (guitars) and Simon Mayor on mandolin the music presented is nothing short of astonishing! Virtuosity abounds from the fingers of Newman and as you go through the album you will be left breathless by the beauty of it all. With ten of his own compositions running alongside traditional numbers including “The Humours Of Kiltyclogher/ Gusty’s Frolics” and the often utilised “Silver Spire” leading into the major/minor American country tune “The Cattle In The Cane” the quality of Newman’s digital dexterity are never in question. For those budding guitarists amongst you I couldn’t recommend an album more highly. Sit down (you’ll need to) listen and above all enjoy.”

* * * * MAVERICK, January 2011 – Pete Fyfe


“The English acoustic guitarist and mandolinist, Chris Newman, may be more widely known for his collaborations with harpist Máire Ní Chathasaigh, but this solo recording will further secure his reputation for precision- engineered, lovingly crafted tunes.

Newman’s chosen title, Still Getting Away With It, might suggest some duping of the listener, but nothing could be further from the truth. Mixing his own, often mischievously titled, compositions such as Pear Drops and Fourteen Pounds and Air on a Shoestring with multiply jointed Québecois reels and Bluegrass borrowings, Newman occasionally allows virtuoso playing to overshadow the heart of the tunes.

Still, going head to head with The Mandoliquents’ Simon Mayer, Ní Chathasaidh, Arty McGlynn, Nollaig Casey and others, Newman’s party animal instincts are never far away.

Playful and incredibly dextrous.”* * * THE IRISH TIMES, 22/4/2011 – Siobhán Long


“First coming to some sort of public notice with The Pigsty Hill Light Orchestra (who I’m going to mention in every issue of R2 until their recordings are reissued) and now best known for his acclaimed work with Máire Ní Chathasaigh, Chris Newman has established himself as one of the real English masters of the acoustic guitar.

Although consisting of new recordings, this collection is conceived as a musical autobiography, charting the journey from the serious young five-year old on the front cover to the slightly more mature artist on the rear, via the hairy bloke who appears throughout the booklet. And what a captivating journey it is, taking in traditional music from all corners of the British Isles and beyond – country blues, swing, ragtime, Latin, jazz and African styles.

What holds it all together is the exuberance of Newman’s dazzling playing, which displays the sort of fingerwork that would leave you open-mouthed if you weren’t too busy smiling. This is a genuinely uplifting album of some of the most remarkable – yet accessible – guitar playing you’re going to hear all year.”

* * * * * ROCK n REEL, Jan-Feb 2011 – Oz Hardwick


“Subtle and mature acoustic fusion.

Taking the time out from his duo with Irish harper Máire Ní Chathasaigh and their quartet with Arty McGlynn and Nollaig Casey (who guest among others), this is only the fourth solo album in 40 years for English-born performer, arranger and composer Chris Newman. Playing beautiful acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin and bass, he generously plies his unshakable technique to over an hour’s worth of sumptuous instrumental performances encompassing English, Irish, American, Canadian, Swedish and African styles.

With a background in folk, jazz and even comedy, this consummate and confident stylist contributes ten original compositions to the album’s 18 tracks, which include Swedish polska and Northumbrian hornpipe influences on ‘Three Degrees of Separation’, ‘Québec Reels’ (taught to him by the Québecois band La Bottine Souriante) and the somewhat kitsch but pleasing homage to Costa Bravan hotel bands, ‘Torrevieja’. In addition, ‘The High Life’, which was fine-tuned with the help of Sierra Leone’s Abdul Tee-Jay’s Rokoto band, is the summation of Newman’s lifelong interest in East African guitar bands and perhaps the album highlight.

With such an exuberant range, the album does at times lose focus in its somewhat erratic shifts in direction. Nonetheless, the occasionally curious pacing, coupled with the restraint and reserve shown in performance, will mean that listeners will enjoy what is ultimately a rewarding set of mature and deeply personal music.”

* * * SONGLINES, March 2011– Jon Mitchell


“Qui ne connait Chris Newman, le brillant guitariste et mandoliniste anglais? Tout récemment, nous vous présentons le cd qu’il a enregistré avec la harpiste Máire Ní Chathasaigh. Le voici à présent qui célèbre ses 40 ans de carrière avec quelques excellents musiciens. De la musique anglaise, écossaise et irlandaise surtout, mais aussi québécoise, américaine, un rag, un blues, un ou deux jazz…

Il a joué avec Boys of the Lough, avec Stéphane Grappelli, Diz Disley. Son premier cd solo date de 1981, et c’est en 85 qu’il a décidé de tourner le dos au business pour revenir à ses racines folk. C’est donc une vaste expérience et beaucoups d’influences, mais aussi un sens de la composition, qui l’amènent à traverser les genres de manière très naturelle. Capable d’une énergie incisive (“Not likley”) tout comme d’une douceur enivrante (“Air on a shoestring”, “Closing time”), ce virtuose nous livre là une perle de plus.”

LE CANARD FOLK, (Belgium), Janvier 2011


“Hyllad gitarrist spelar nyskrivet Chris Newman har kallats mästare på akustisk gitarr, säkert flera gånger, och han brukar få lysande kritik inte minst för sina soloskivor. Nu var det ett tag sedan, ”Fretwork” utkom 1998. ”Still getting away with it”, Newmans fjärde soloalbum, var dock värt att vänta på, och speltiden är över en timme.

18 stycken ryms totalt, varav hälften nyskrivna. Det mesta låter varmt och melodiskt, lättsmält men också raffinerat. Impulser hörs från många håll – England, Skottland, Irland, Nordamerika och även Sverige. Den keltiska menyn blandas med country, ragtime, swing och afrikansk musik. Ändå låter det inte splittrat. Newman rör sig ledigt över alla fält, och han är onekligen i gott musikaliskt sällskap.”

HALLANDSPOSTEN (Sweden), 12 januari 2011


“Let’s get it straight from the start: this is a great album by one of the foremost exponents of the acoustic guitar. Newman, whose varied career spans 40 years, has played with Boys of the Lough, Diz Disley, Stephane Grappelli and even wrote the tune for and produced Fred Wedlock’s The Oldest Swinger in Town, which reached number four in the charts. For the last 23 years he has been best known as half of a duo with Máire Ní Chathasaigh.

In this celebratory album, he shows off his eclectic virtuosity on various guitars and mandolin with 18 stunning tunes sets, including 10 of his own. He starts with Pear Drops and Fourteen Pounds, the payment for a couple of early gigs. Every subsequent track captivates and all somehow get better each time they’re heard. It ends too soon with a breakneck 12-bar blues, Not Likely! followed by the reflective Closing Time.

Stellar guests: Nollaig Casey, Paul Buckley, Simon Mayor, Arty McGlynn, Davy Stuart, Roy Whyke, his brother Mark and Máire Ní Chathasaigh enhance the mix often taking the lead while Newman, not so quietly, sits back. Definitely more than getting away with it.”

TAPLAS (Wales), December 2010/ January 2011– Iain Campbell


“Guitar maestro Chris Newman shows off his talents in an 18-track album of instrumentals that will be of interest to anyone who plays, has ever played, or would like to play this instrument. The guitar was almost exclusively the instrument of choice in the early days of the folk revival, and a number of musicians developed their skills to a virtuoso level. Whilst the range of musical instruments available has become huge in comparison to those pioneering days, the guitar remains a versatile tool in the performer’s armoury.

Chris’s repertoire is broad, although there is a smooth, controlled approach throughout the the album, with plenty of examples of his precise, yet relaxed technique that allows the music to swing. Pieces range from self- penned works that often have a soft-rock feel, through to the more jazzy Temptation Rag (well known as a mandolin player’s test piece after Dave Swarbrick and Martin Carthy recorded it), Not Likely and the classic Moanin’.On then to some cleverly played Irish reels – and of course a Quebecoise set!

The copious notes in the booklet that accompanies the CD tell a fascinating story of Chris’s playing over the years, with photographic evidence of his work with Diz Disley, Stephan Grappeli and Pigsty Hill Light Orchestra. He was also a member of Boys of the Lough for three years and his experience in playing Irish music on the guitar is displayed on a jig duet with Arty McGlynn, who joins a number of excellent guest musicians on the very impressive collection.”

SHREDS AND PATCHES (UK). Issue 50 Autumn/Winter 2010/11– Neil Brookes


“This CD (and its title) is a nod to Chris Newman’s 40-year career as a fine guitarist, mandolinist and composer. It’s structured as a musical biography in which Newman charts the musical styles and personalities that have shaped his playing.

There’s a fine swing to Newman’s playing, as you’d expect from someone influenced by Diz Disley, and who’s played alongside Stéphane Grappelli. He brings this panache to a number of musical styles. Here there are rags and straightforward 12-bar romps (Not Likely! is a Grappelli-ish number with Simon Mayor). His swing jazz sits happily with traditional Irish, Quebecois and American tunes, and his own pieces also show the influence of West African, Spanish and Scandinavian music.

He not only revisits pieces from his past, but welcomes aboard some wonderful guest musicians of the calibre of Mayor, brother Mark, Nollaig Casey, Arty McGlynn, and long-time partner Máire Ní Chathasaigh. This isn’t the kind of CD I’d normally reach for, but Newman’s playing has quality stamped all over it. At its best it has an exuberant joy that is a delight.”

FOLK LONDON, December 2010 – Paul Cowdell