Music for a Social Distancing Audience – T Spoon Phillips
Same set, for different time zones
Jason Ahner of Martin Guitars discuses their new SC-13E
As the NAMM Show opened in Anaheim, CA, Spoon Phillips sat down in the Martin Museum in Nazareth, PA to chat with Jason about their revolutionary new acoustic-electric guitar
The auditorium was full.
Granted we’re not talking about the Beacon, but still, hundreds.
My distortion, overdrive, delay, chorus were all dialed in and the stack was warm and smoking. Then came that moment when you can tell they have turned it up in the house. The bass was still being fiddled with for the onstage mix, but we were seconds away from being introduced and kicking off the opening number, when I struck a growling chord on my Les Paul that made the front rows snap wake. And that was when the acoustic guitar licks went off on my phone. What a time for a call!
And then it was like in Cosmos or Bill & Ted when I was suddenly yanked back and upward, my guitar and leather jacket dropping away as I soared through a whirring worm hole of spacetime… And before I even opened my eyes I could tell it was a bright, sunny day, and I was awake and back in my bed.
“Nooooooo! Take me baaaaack!” I moaned.
I guess it’s time to change my ringtone.
While practicing in Prospect Park, a young mother left her spot on the Long Meadow and wheeled the pram containing her sleeping baby toward home.
I almost moved to another location when they arrived, and I had tried to play quietly, assuming they seemed a good ways off.
When she reached the paved walkway, she stopped at my bench and set what looked like a playing card next to me, saying it was just a note she wanted to leave with me. On the reverse were spaced lines, filled with handwriting that said:
“Thank you for playing the guitar so beautifully. It was an honor to listen to & I’m so happy I ended up in this very spot in the park so that your music could fill my ears.”
And she signed it with a first name and a little heart. Ah Spring….!
Same spot, a few days earlier. This is my office, whenever weather permits.
Our review of the Martin Grand J12-16GTE as Martin Month Continues
A Grand Jumbo 12-string in Martin’s Style 16 with a Gloss Top and on-board Electronic amplification.
Made from solid mahogany and Sitka spruce, using the largest ever made by Martin. At this price point, the new Grand J12-16GTE offers more tone per dollar than any other 12-string currently available from Martin. Read about all the Martin Month reviews at One Man’s guitar.
“There are all the bright and clear chimes one could desire coming off the trebles and harmony strings. And there is a nice definition in the bass, without all the smoke clouds that can gather under the low end of a rosewood guitar with a large bottom end.”
This new OM-18 A 1933 is the first OM made with Martin’s Authentic Series specs and hide glue. And boy, is it a doozy!
This weekend I played an example of the production run and it was even better. It is like taking a time machine back to 1933 and getting your hands on a brand new OM-18, made the year C.F. Martin and Co. were celebrating their 100th anniversary and were busy setting the gold standard that all acoustic guitars have been compared to ever since.
Over at One Mans’ Guitar you will find our latest guitar review, the Martin OMC-44K LJ
Laurence Juber recorded his album “Under an Indigo Sky” entirely with the most recent version of his C.F. Martin signature model, the OMC-44K LJ. It has been a rare occurrence when this singular master musician likes a single guitar so much he uses it exclusively when making one of his many dozens of records. But then, it is no ordinary guitar…
Read the Full Review of the OMC-44K LJ
A “late-night” record of fingerstyle artistry, Juber’s Under an Indigo Sky is …
Languid, lovely, evocative… a melt into a sumptuous sofa, and the sonic equivalent of isolated pools of low light playing off facets of cut crystal and opulent aperitif, close sensuous voices, soft laughter bittersweet with memory at the end of an evening. A warm, layered and very human scene painted entirely with one acoustic guitar drenched with resonant chords, clear and unhurried melody lines, and shadowy blue bass notes that rise or fall in pitch or pace like a melancholy pulse. An exquisite piece of music played on an exquisite guitar, exquisitely.
And that is just the first track on Juber’s Under an Indigo Sky, the latest CD from the two-time Grammy winner.
It was mixed by Al Schmitt, who has won 19 Grammy Awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.
As impressive as the vibrant playing is, it is the more languid performances, such as Cry Me A River with its sustained chords and un-struck string glides that truly show off the mastery of the engineer and the exceptional qualities of the guitar. While both the mellow and the vigorous selections reveal the mastery and exceptional qualities of the guitarist.
Over at One Man’s Guitar, a break from the norm – George Barnes
Our profile of the first electric guitarist, and an influence on just about every American guitarist who came after
… Then, I heard the duets of George Barnes and Bucky Pizzarelli. I was enthralled with the musicality of the tunes, the breathtaking licks, the slower passages of glistening, liquid tone. For some reason I assumed the suave, James Bond looking guy with the colorful name must have been doing all the exquisite lead playing. Only later did I realize it was the squat, cigar-chomping George Barnes who was tripping the light fandango in such a transcendent manner.
He had a lot of practice, as it turned out…