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Freshmaneer - Stephen McPhee Music

From our Freshman Sessions, we will be featuring Freshman guitar and ukulele players in our Blogs, to find out more about the Freshmaneers music and their instruments.

We had a little chat to musician/vocalist Stephen McPhee about his music and his Freshman guitar, which we seen in action in the Keane cover video we featured on our The Freshman Sessions

Stephen is based in North East Scotland and we were blown away by his superb cover version of "Somewhere Only We Know".

Stephen's vocal in the video is quite superb, with first class control and quality. His Freshman FA250GAC guitar also sounds superb. We caught up with him to find out more about his music and his beloved Freshman.


Q :How did you get into music ? Stephen: "I grew up listening to whatever my dad listened to, which was varied, to say the least. One day it was Meat Loaf, the next Chris de Burgh, then the next it was the Gaither Vocal Band... an eclectic mix for sure."

Q: Which bands/artists inspired you ? Stephen: "My faith has always had a deep connection to the music I listen to and play. I listened to loads of contemporary Christian music in my teens and loved the guitar sounds in bands such as Hillsong United, so this shaped how I interpret and play music. In terms of chart music, (I know the real musos will laugh at this) I was obsessed with 80s power ballads and the incredible singers from those bands. Steve Perry's vocal ability still blows me away - funnily enough, my dad is a bass so I wanted to be like him as a kid, but as I listened to more and more of these vocalists, I wanted to be able to sing high. I think I'm somewhere in the middle now! Got to give my mum a shout out too, she's a cracking alto".

Q: What's your musical started singing or involved in bands ? Stephen: "I actually started off as a drummer, playing at church from around 12 years old. Picked up a guitar at around 14-15 and taught myself after my dad showed me a few chords. Since then I've stayed involved in church bands, playing in tiny wee churches with 20 old people, to large youth events with 1000 people. Aside from that, I've been the singer, acoustic guitarist and keys player of a wedding band called Phase4 for the last 5 years, as well as doing pubs, acoustic gigs, and small weddings by myself".

Q: What were you doing musically before lockdown etc ? Stephen: "I was playing at weddings 2-3 times a month, whether as the band or just on my own at ceremonies and drinks receptions. I was also playing in church most weeks, either electric or acoustic and singing."

Q: What made you choose the Freshman guitar you own ? Stephen: "I was shopping around for acoustic guitars and wanted one without a scratch plate - I just liked the style. Then I came across Freshman, and when I discovered it was a Scottish company I really wanted one - got to play one and fell in love".

Q: What model is your Freshman guitar ? Stephen: "It's the FA250GAC" Q: Where did you biy it from ? Stephen: "I bought it from Kenny's Music in Aberdeen - fantastic guitar shop". Q: How did you achieve the guitar sound in the Keane cover ? Stephen: "I ran the guitar (and vocals, actually) through a gorgeous AER Domino 2. I mic'd it up and also took a line out to give me more to play with - ran it all through an audio interface into my MacBook. The only effect on it is a touch of reverb on top of the EQ. I like to take a good chunk of the mids out of my EQ - personal preference". Q: What's next for you musically and do you write your own material ? Stephen: "I write my own music, so while I've always been doing that on and off, lockdown gave me the extra time at home to really put some time into it. I write with a few different people and it's definitely something that I want to keep doing more of - doing covers is fun but I'd love to get more of my own stuff out there. Aside from that, I always aim to put more acoustic covers out there but having a 4-year-old and a 1-year-old can be a little noisy around the house".

We're sure Stephen will have a great career in music, the talent is there for sure and he is supported by his trusty Freshman guitar, which sounds fantastic. Stephen's video is below, give it a listen, it'll make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

Be sure to check out our newer models in our 20th Anniversary Series on our new Freshman Direct website and we'll have some new models available online in the next two weeks and we have some great Ex-Demo guitars on just now too, grab a bargain while you can. Additionally, we will have our Personalised Accessories (custom laser engraved) available from next week, just in time for Christmas.


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