published Friday, March 11th, 2011

Acoustic trio deploys 18 strings Tuesday at Rhythm & Brews

Despite growing up thousands of miles apart, the members of the California Guitar Trio share a 20-year bond formed through a mutual appreciation for different styles of music.

Paul Richards (Utah), Bert Lams (Belgium) and Hideyo Moriya (Japan) formed the trio in 1991 after meeting through Guitar Craft, a course run in the English countryside by former King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp.

After their 18-month stint in Fripp’s League of Crafty Guitarists, Richards said, the trio’s musical chemistry was already well established in 1990 when Lams invited him and Moriya to join him in Los Angeles.

“We had already gone out and done some touring with Robert playing in that context for a couple of years,” Richards said during a phone interview as he made his way out of Boston on a tour that will include a stop at Rhythm & Brews on Tuesday.

Each of the group’s members had a different introduction to the six-string.


  • What: California Guitar Trio.

  • When: 8 p.m. Tuesday.

  • Where: Rhythm & Brews, 221 Market St.

  • Admission: $15.

  • Phone: 267-4644.

  • Venue website:

  • Related links at


1991-99 “The California Guitar Trio,” “Yamanashi Blues,” “Invitation,” “Pathways,” “An Opening Act: Live on Tour With King Crimson.”

2000-10 “Rocks the West,” “10 Christmas Songs,” “CG3+2,” “Whitewater,” “Highlights,” “Echoes,” “Andromeda”

Richards grew up teaching himself to play by listening to rock groups such as Rush and Led Zeppelin, later gravitating to jazz. Lams was a student of classical traditions at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels. Moriya was an avid fan of surf rock artists such as The Ventures.

Those varied backgrounds interweave in the California Guitar Trio, yielding original compositions borrowing stylistic elements of everything from psychedelic rock to flamenco.

Richards said the trio’s aim live is to burst preconceptions about music by performing disparate pieces one after the other, such as following a cover of a Queen or Pink Floyd song with a classical sonata.

In addition to pulling heavily from their recently released, all-original album “Andromeda,” Richards said their set lists raise eyebrows even as they’re opening minds.

“That’s one of the things that makes our live shows unique,” he said. “When we go into rock clubs and play Bach, it has a very special feel to it. Doing something that’s not normally done in a setting where it’s not normally played is kind of a challenge for us that we enjoy.”

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...

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