Charlie’s road show is a family affair
In a motorhome full of his nearest and dearest, Charlie Landsborough travels the country performing his unique blend of music and heartfelt storytelling to enthralled audiences.
Sick of slumping into hotel beds at 4am only to be kicked out by the maid a few hours later, Charlie invested in a motorhome that would serve as the tour bus he shares with wife Thelma and son Jamie.
Charlie told the Gazette: “In our motorhome we can sleep in all day if we need to, and have one or two fry-ups.
“We get to see parts of the country that we never would have normally – it’s great fun.
“We get a bit of cabin fever being couped up together for two months at a time, but our relationship with each other is very strong.”
A musician in his own right touring with brother Charlie Jr, Jamie joins his dad’s team to play acoustic guitar on this year’s UK tour.
Merseysider Charlie and his band will perform at the Grove theatre on Friday, October 12 – a theatre he holds in very high regard.
He said: “It’s a lovely theatre with great facilities. It’s wonderful when you’re driving around in a motor home and you get parking like at the Grove.
“I’m looking forward to returning – it’s a fantastic venue.”
Birkenhead-born Charlie’s modesty is endearing.
He said: “I remember when I started I said to myself ‘wouldn’t it be great if this lasts for six months?’, and here I am many years later still plying my trade and doing what I love.
“To go out and play somewhere and have a crowd of people that have paid to sit and listen to you, is a real privelege – it’s a far cry from playing the dockside pubs of Merseyside all those years ago.”
Charlie got his big break after his 1995 appearance on television chat show ‘Kenny Live’ in Ireland led to some unexpected news.
He said: “In music terms I was a bit of a late starter. When I got back from Dublin, my son phoned me to tell me my album was in the Irish charts.
“I was expecting him to tell me it was number 98 or something – which I would have been very happy with – but he told me it was number two.
“The following week it was number one. I’ve a lot to thank the Irish for – I thank them for giving me the life I love.”
Of Charlie’s late rise to stardom, BBC Northern Ireland’s Gerry Anderson said: “Charlie’s like good wine, he matures quietly over a long period of time, when the cork was popped it was well worth the wait.”
A teacher for 14 years before becoming a professional musician, Charlie has also had jobs as a grocer, postman, driver, railway worker – “quite the CV, but none of it is very illustrious” he says – as well as serving time in the army.
The British Country Music hall of famer said: “I saw friends come back from the merchant navy with fancy new clothes and tans, and just thought ‘I want to see the rest of the world’, and get out of Merseyside.
“The navy offices were closed the day I went down so I went next door to the army.
“I wanted to get as far away as possible, so when they asked me if there was anywhere I was interested in travelling to I said Hong Kong – they sent me to Germany!”
But Charlie cherishes his time in Dortmund, he speaks highly of the locals and even learned the language during his time there.
Today, his international connections also include Sweden, where he has a 1,000-strong fan club, and Japan, from where he receives photographs of adoring fans in the post.
Now 70, Charlie is still doing what he loves the most, with the people he loves the most.
Looking ahead to the start of his tour of Australia and New Zealand in May, Charlie said:
“If you’re doing this you’ve got to be doing it with people you love.”
To see Charlie in Dunstable, visit www.grovetheatre.co.uk or call 01582 60 20 80.
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Saturday 18 May 2013
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