Gavin, His Guitar and a Sackful of Dreams

Gavin Thomas, clutching a bulging sack full of CD’s and a guitar strode into the Radio Woking, Fiery Bird Studio to pre-record this show. That meant he was walking about a school confidently holding a guitar. As we passed through the groups of fine young citizens of the future a frisson of excitement ensued – musicians are to this generation what a cat in the playground used to be to us….something is going on. I walked behind looking like someone’s Mum whose been called in to see the Head of Year, (reprising an often played role, handed down to me by my Mum, no method acting there – mentioning no names ahem….) If I had my wits about me I could’ve committed an elaborate heist on Thursday night and had an alibi – ‘not me guv’nor I was on the radio!’

Gavin, (pictured with another hero of local music station manager Justin Coll) for the uninitiated is one of the heroes of local music in Surrey. Not just here but all over the country in a variety of locations, there are music nights open to everyone, either a pittance or free to enter and where you can see live music at its roots, way before people get to play a ‘venue’ of any size. They open up to the beginner, the nervous, to the tired, professional touring musician wanting to reconnect with audiences and the experienced trying out new material. The Fiery Bird Show is committed to being part of this by not just showcasing musicians, writers, film makers or whoever but the people who put their time, effort and money to make these things happen and give people the confidence, platform and feedback to take steps with their creativity that would otherwise be cut off from them. That there is a strength of different promoters, networks, outlets, festivals often run by musicians taking time away from their own work to support each other gives an optimism about the future of grassroots music, however it still relies on people having the wherewithal to do that, so when contemporary music is finally recognised for the cultural contribution it makes it can even be embedded further, with people like Gavin consistently putting his efforts into this it helps it all stay alive.

In the show we hear about his work, making a leap from working in the publishing industry to opening a successful bar in St Johns, Beavers, expanding to opening another Beavers in Jefferies Passage in Guildford (stuffs fist in mouth on air so as not to let out childish sniggering) and then on to running music nights and gigging himself.

In recent years, Gavin has set up charitable events, not only do they raise money for various charities, give an otherwise very hard to reach platform for unsigned artists, demonstrate how corporate social responsibility can really make a difference when done well with the sponsors who support them, but also show how much can get done when organisations and people collaborate together for common good.

From One Summer’s Day, One Spring Afternoon in other locations and now this Saturday One Winter’s Night happening again at Yvonne Arnaud (paying tribute to James Barber, much loved Yvonne Arnaud Director who sadly recently died and who was instrumental in making these nights at the theatre happen) Gavin has put together a line up of local original artists to raise money for various good causes. With entire proceeds from ticket sales going to charity this event is going to be shared between the Teenage & Young Adult Cancer Unit – Royal Surrey Hospital and the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice

We used the c word a lot during this show but no one should ever underestimate the value of collaboration, more people using more skills to make more good things happen – can only be a good thing after all.

Find out more about One Winter’s Night, Gavin’s GT Sessions, his own gigs and other news coming up and listen again here and here (! It’s a 2 parter like Game of Thrones or something else on Netflix or somewhere!) to the show where he talks about all his work.

If you don’t understand about clicking on words of different colours to take you down an internet rabbit hole there are old fashioned links below

Part One:

Part Two:


1. Heroes – David Bowie

2. Wood For The Trees – Harry Miller

3. Yawn – Argonaut

4. High Hopes – Gavin Thomas

5. Our Weapon – Beau Sejour

6. Sail Away – Marcus Coyne

7. Heaven – Brett Dennen

8. Watching The Detectives – Elvis Costello

9. Black Dog – Telephone Road

10. White Noise – Bemis

11.Tall and Strong – Road West feat Portland (raising money for CLIC Sergeant)

12. Ohio – Goldrush

13. Flawless – Zach Johnson

14. Undertow – Gavin Thomas (live)

15. Take Me to The Sun – Harry Baker