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May 16, 2013

'Guitar Insanity': Big Strum concert back after 4-year hiatus, starring top-shelf ax men

A guitar extravaganza — The Big Big Strum — takes place Saturday in Gloucester.

The concert at the Gloucester House restaurant features top-shelf performers Cliff Goodwin, who performed with Joe Cocker for 14 years, and special guest Jon Butcher of Jon Butcher Axis.

The Big Strum has been a periodic event on Cape Ann over the years; however, with the addition of Butcher, this event is billed “The Big Big Strum” denoting the large number of guitar players.

“It’s going to be guitar insanity,” said Gloucester’s Fly Amero of Orleans fame, another guitarist and organizer. “This will be electric screaming guitars and the audience will be hearing something very unique. It’s been four years since the last The Big Strum event.”

The fourth guitarist is another Gloucester native, David Brown, who before settling back on Cape Ann performed with the Billy Joel Band.

Amero, a member of Orleans, said the backbone of this all-star band is its solid, deep-groove rhythm section featuring drummer Mike Levesque, who played with the David Bowie Band, and Wolf Ginandes on bass.

In an interview this week, Butcher talked about his new home on Cape Ann and the audience he finds here.

“First of all, I have to tell you Gloucester is my adoptive new home,” he said.

After attending journalism school in Grahm Journalism College in Boston, he went west to California where he worked for more than 20 years.

“When I moved back, I was searching for just the right spot and I met Fly Amero and we became the fastest of friends, so I credit him for making Gloucester my new home,” said Butcher, who has performed here over the years. “I have never in my life met such inviting and warm people as I have here on the North Shore. It’s simply remarkable. I also find being close to the ocean like this is intoxicating and liberating — and it’s done wonders for my creativity.”

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