Dave Goodman at Em Knollestüffje

Goodman3If there’s anything possibly better than going to a good concert it’s going to a pub and discovering there’s one happening by accident.  John Harrison did just that in Bad Godesberg this week when his thirst for a pint took him to Em Knollestüffje and the talented Dave Goodman.

I was just popping out in search of a quick lenten alchohol free wheat beer with Steve Perry when we chanced upon a small welcoming local pub. There was a surprise in store, “There’s some live music on here tonight”, says Steve and sure enough there was, “A fellow Canadian” he added, as if an afterthought.  Dave Goodman turned out to be his name.

If you’ve ever heard Dave Goodman play the guitar, it certainly has nothing to do with afterthoughts. We were treated to one of the best renderings of Robert Johnson’s “Come on in my kitchen” that I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard a fair few. He started off by asking the audience if they would prefer some of his Blues or his Celtic material, so I presumed correctly as it turned out, that we were in in for a treat, and sure enough we were. Dave’s limited edition Yamaha AC4K, which appears to be his guitar of choice, tuned to open G, comes to life as he slides the bottle neck over the strings in a way that Robert Johnson himself would have approved.As the evening progressed if you imagine something like Davey Graham meets Michael Chapman meets Martin Simpson via Bert Jansch, then you’ll have some idea where Dave Goodman is at.

He dedicates one of his own compositions, a song written about an old friend of his and also played with a bottleneck, somewhat tongue in cheek to Dieter Bohlen.who is German TV’s equivalent to the UK & USA’s TV’s Simon Cowell. Dave Goodman actually appeared last year in Germany’s Supertalent 2013 and I think Dieter Bohlen and the rest of the panel were genuinely pleasantly surprised to have some real super talent to appraise for a change.There is certainly a gaping chasm of difference between someone of mediocre talent, over greedy for instant overnight success covering someone else’s already famous song, to someone of genuine talent who has hand crafted a song themselves and spent years on the road paying their dues and honing a song to their own personal perfection in terms of their own vocal and musical performance. I am not a great fan of overblown TV talent shows promising overnight fame but I am now a fan of Dave Goodman’s guitar skills and his songwriting and singing talents shown so well in songs such as “For Jimmy”.It somehow re-instates one’s faith in human nature and social justice, and good unpretentious live music.


To move from an open G tuning, so well suited to bottleneck Blues style, to DADGAD tuning you only have to tune the 5th string back up 2 semitones and the 2nd string down 2 semitones but the difference in sound is phenomenal and the guitar literally sounds like a completely different instrument and so well suited now to playing Celtic style music. It is no wonder that a new generation of guitarist singer/songwriters, like Sarah McQuaid and Simon Kempston are using DADGAD tuning almost exclusively to allow them to write new songs whilst allowing a traditional Celtic backdrop to them.. Dave shows tonight that he certainly knows his way around the fretboard equally well in this tuning.

A smile comes to my face as he changes guitar to the new Yamaha “F” series.which is a pure acoustic series and does not have a jack socket to plug it in. Not a problem for Dave, and he gives us a wonderful swinging blues interspersed with jazz chords which hail back from his early days as a jazz guitarist and he follows by giving us a unique unplugged version of Jimi Hendrix’s “The wind cries Mary”, this time all in standard tuning.

We are not yet out of the unusual guitar tuning woods yet and after Dave has played a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Not Dark Yet” I was a little lost, but it was one of Dave’s own tunings which he just calls his “Not Dark Yet” tuning where he partially capoes the first five strings only of an open G tuning on the second fret and then tunes the sixth string right down to a very low uncapoed A thus giving AAEAC#E which allowed for some wonderful rich bass chords.


We were treated to a first public premiere of Dave’s own song “For my brother” and also “She’s gone” which will be on his new CD. For a well deserved encore Dave puts on a smaller Yamaha APX black cutaway semi-acoustic and presents us with one of his own songs which he hasn’t aired in a while, “Hypnotised” a song which he declares feels like I wrote “a million years ago”. If that be the case, it is a song which has certainly weathered the realms of time well and you can find a version of it, with its catchy melody on YouTube, where he is very adequately accompanied by the excellent British Blues harp player Steve Baker. Dave goes walk about and takes this guitar outside with him so that the people sitting smoking out on the terrace can also experience some live music. As he returns into the room one can clearly see the €1199 price tag on the top of the fretboard on this one!.

In case you were wondering, and Steve Perry certainly was, and thought we’d inadvertently stumbled into a guitar auction when he first saw all the guitars lined up at the back of the stage, Don’t worry Dave Goodman hasn’t gone down with a case of the Joe Bonamassas and felt a compelling urge to change his guitar after each song. The evening was actually presented by Yamaha acoustic guitars in combination with Bill Baum’s music shop in the Plittersdorferstrasse in Bad Godesberg where all the guitars I have mentioned are available for perusal and purchase. I can confirm they are excellent guitars, although I certainly can’t promise that you’ll be able to play them as well as Dave Goodman can! The second guitar I ever owned was a Yamaha acoustic jumbo guitar, which I bought for a little over thirty pounds, which was a lot of money in those days, and it was at least 20 times better than the seven string Russian acoustic guitar that I’d bought in Moscow for one pound nineteen and nine pence a few years earlier.

Many thanks to Yamaha and Baums Musikladen for putting on a rare evening of truly astounding guitar virtuoso for a few very fortunate people who were there to enjoy it. A great thanks to Dave Goodman and you’re more than welcome to take one of the new Yamaha F series guitars for a walk around Folk Club Bonn on the first Friday of any month Dave!

Check out his music here:

Try and catch him live and you won’t be disappointed, and if you catch him with Steve Baker on harp you’ll be in for a double treat.

9 thoughts on “Dave Goodman at Em Knollestüffje

  1. Dear Yi,
    the venue is indeed wonderful, partly because so many different and diverse people have communally pulled together on the same rope.and embraced a common cause. Partly because it is purely acoustic and unplugged, and partly because it is altruistic in the true spirit of all music, and of all music of the soul.

    A Floor Spot, which is literally, some one person from the floor coming out of the audience to perform his or her two or three songs. We have since introduced an “Annette” after a lady of the very same name, who thought, incorrectly, as it happened, that one song would suffice. Then we have “featured artists” who play a set of five or six songs and only occaisionaly these days a “Special Guest” who would play two 20-30 minutes sets in an evening. Dave would certainly be in the latter category.

    We also very much like to encourage “newbies” as well and when your son is ready please do bring him along to sing and play, or just play, whichever he wishes, and you may recite your poetry too.

    We once had a wonderful recital about a solitary stone in Palestine:

    Ein Stein aus dem Heiligen Land erzählt
    von Raid Sabbah

    It’s on the Folk Club Blog some where.

    We are a venue totally open to all kinds of unamplified performing arts.

    So we would welcome both of you equally, should you wish to visit us.

    If you came when Dave Goodman was also performing at the Folk Club Bonn, it would be joy all round.! There aren’t that many venues where one can play acoustic guitars to a listening and attentive audience of up to 100 people totally without microphones and amplication. The Folk Club Bonn is one!

    We don’t even have to ask people to be quieter and huddle around, they do it naturally now, and when you think about it, that’s what people have been doing since time immemorial, except for something that began in the past eighty or ninety years or so after electric amplification was invented. Then it became acceptaböe to talk over the music and ultimately gave rise to trite Muzak in lifts and other public places.

    We didn’t invent or re-invent it, we just re-discovered the natural musical, cultural edifice that is live acoustic music.

    We call it, for want of a much better word, a “folk club”.

    It doesn’t really matter how it is denominated, it is simply important that such a place exists, and flourishes and hopefully nurtures similar places by example.

    It’s just a simple musical humanistic experiment.

    Hopefully your son will one day pick up the baton and run with it !

    There is a very old saying,

    “If wishes were horses, then the devil would ride!”

    so please let your son carry the baton on foot, and do not force him too much, or against his will.


    John Harrison

  2. Well certainly today, being Mother’s Day, is an apt day to praise your mothering skills Yi!

    This e-mail address was meant for people who wish to perform, like your son hopefully one day:
    playrequestfolkclubbonn AT gmail.com
    We don’t actually have an e-mail address for people to send requests for musicians they would like to hear perform at the folk club in Bonn. However, Steve Perry fields the incomings at that address and you may use either English or German of Portuguese or Spanish or French to write to hime there.
    Steve was also with me that evening in Bad Godesberg and I know he has had some subsequent correspondene with Dave Goodman with a view to him hopefully playing at Folk Club Bonn next year.

    I’ll certainly keep you posted and please continue to encourage your son to play music Yi.


    John Harrison

    • Hi John and Steve,
      Thank you both for the clarification. I will certainly let my son know about this possibility. How very kind of you, John, to think of him as a potential performer. He’s been on stage before but only reluctantly as a solo act. That may change with a bit more practice and when his voice returns. Dave’s workshop was a great inspiration. I’ve also asked him to compose some music to accompany my poetry–need to be creative in looking for challenges to keep the motivation up. But music is my muse so I’m pretty tireless when it comes to cheering him on.
      Thanks again! I look forward to one day having a special reason to visit the Bonn Folk Club.
      Warmest regards,

      • Dear Yi,
        at the Folk Club Bonn there is a lot of mutual respect and we like to think of all the audience as potential performers and by the same token the live audience may also choose to demote the performers to potential audience. We have no raised stage and no amplifiers, so without the benefit of a raised amphitheater, we are more or less on the limit of what is feasible for a good listening audience of 80-100 people and a totally unplugged performance.
        One of the unexpected side effects of the Folk Club Bonn has been to unite people under the same roof for a whole evening with a total disregard for ageism. Your son, for example, would no longer qualify as being our youngest solo performer, but if he gets a move on he may still be under the top five! We might also have an octogenarian performing on the same evening, which is truly remarkable musical humanism.
        If your poetry is only half as eloquent as your prose, then you will be setting your son quite a musical challenge. You would certainly both be made very welcome any time in the future at the Folk Club Bonn Yi and our lack of hard and fast rules mean that you would also be able to recite your poetry, even without musical accompaniment if needs be.


        John Harrison

      • Thank you so much John!
        I am working on him. It will take some work. How long would he need to play? I assume just a few songs will do it. The venue sounds wonderful. I much prefer to do my poetry without mic anyway–not good with sound equipment. And unplugged music has a immediacy that I just love. But I am also a newbie… Just to warn you.
        Thank you again. You’ll surely hear from us again.

        Schöne Grüße

  3. Hello Yi,
    Actually what John Harrison, who wrote the article and the comment you refer to, meant I think was your sending a request for your son to play at Bonn Folk Club.

    Dave is also welcome to send a request though – I am sure He would be a welcome special guest! There is a link to the Bonn Folk Club website on the opening page of this website.

  4. I can just imagine it! What luck to encounter Dave by chance! I saw him just last weekend in Böblingen where he was giving a guitar workshop I had registered my son for. The concert he gave Saturday night was just indescribably good. Worth the trip down for me just for those two hours. His guitar skills are that of a true virtuoso, with breadth and depth and many surprises. But his voice is no less incredible! He has learned to use it with such sensitivity, it’s colour and dynamics perfectly expressing the feelings he conveys with the lyrics and everything harmonizing together… just sublime! I could have listened for the whole night! To round it all off, Dave is also the consummate entertainer, who has charm, humour and conveys a genuine generosity on stage. I had the privilege to chat with Dave a bit. We hail from the same part of the woods (west coast Canada) and moved to German also around the same time. Such a great musician and human being! I so look forward to the next opportunity to see him playing live again! An unforgettable experience! Thanks for your lovely post above.
    p.s. Dave is also an excellent workshop leader. My son (13 years old) had a great time and cannot wait to get his hands on a slider now!

    • Sorry for the delay in replying Yi!

      It is sadly not often that people comment. When they do comment it is rarely with your eloquence. I am very pleased for your son, to have such a loving mother, which I believe is also the default setting for mothers, but to have a mother willing to buy him a bottleneck and to pay for him to attend workshops by this particular guitar hero Dave Goodman! Hats off for that!
      Please send his play request to:
      playrequestfolkclubbonn AT gmail.com
      He may have his first stage and live audience experience with us and gladly so!



      • I can put in a play request for Dave? Wow, I didn’t know that. Should I make the request in German? Are there any other requirements for the request? Would love to help bring Dave anywhere within my driving radius or just spread the word about him and his music. Thanks for your appreciative reply and for recognizing me as a mother.

        Schöne Grüße

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