John McGrath

Guitarist, Sound-artist, PhD & Author

John McGrath is an Irish guitarist, composer and author based in London. His music explores the boundaries of the ancient and modern as traditional elements meet improvisation and experimental tendencies. Rich harmonics, intricate finger-picking, static drones and glitches combine to glorious effect.

He has been interviewed / featured in The Wire, Aquarium Drunkard, Burning Ambulance, The Skinny, Bido Lito!, BBC Radio, Radio New Zealand, Sideways through Sound, and Sydney's FBi radio and has had his musicsynched on various television shows and sounded at Tate Modern and FACT. John has performed the UK premiere of Rhys Chatham's "Die Donnergotter" in addition to "Guitar Trio" alongside the composer. He has also performed with Dustin Wong, Sharon Gal, Cavalier Song, Howard Skempton and the aPAtT Orchestra. A vinyl recorded as part of the Never Records installation at the Liverpool Biennial was reworked in a live performance by Philip Jeck. McGrath has been commissioned to write for the IMMIX ensemble and performed a number of new works alongside large arrangements of his work with the group. As a solo performer John has performed at a number of festivals and has supported Richard Dawson, Laraaji and Sun Araw. He has a monograph with Routledge entitled, "Samuel Beckett, Repetition and Modern Music". In 2014, John was awarded a PhD in music from University of Liverpool, which was funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council. He lectures at University of Surrey.



 "His versatile, experimental approach, reminiscent of Jim O’Rourke, Christian Fennesz, and Marc Ribot, pushes at the boundaries of new guitar music and the UK avant folk scene."

The Wire

"Bringing to mind the likes of Owen Pallett and Grizzly Bear, John McGrath is an artist capable of balancing classical and folk textures to great effect."

The Skinny

"like Bert Jansch remixed by Four Tet, combining extraordinary technical mastery with warm drones and harmonic effects." 

The Cube

"Bringing a touch of the 21st century to the guitar soli scene, Irish guitarist John McGrath combines loop pedal technology with Takoma-style fingerpicking ... the songs here are uniformly strong, especially the oddly named, but quite lovely “Ghosty’s Spinach Song,” which closes out the EP." 

Aquarium Drunkard

“his clutch of haunted icy soundscapes sounds very much like wandering around half-remembered wintry dreams.” 

Bido Lito!