After years of hearing from E about the marvels of the C.F. Martin Guitar Factory, she and I dropped in last weekend to see how their world famous guitars are made. Their museum is a tribute to modern music, with the guitars and stories of dozens of influential musicians showcased alongside cultural artifacts from the last two centuries. Hearing the big, beautiful sound of their guitars enhanced the experienced of touring the factory where they’re made. The best part for me was simply being out on a factory floor surrounded by dedicated American craftsmen. To witness Martin’s employees carefully building those incredible guitars by hand was a special experience.
The New York Times nails it with this article from 2008:
Even though Nazareth, Pa., isn’t quite the holy city its namesake is, pilgrims with a musical bent still go there every weekday in search of a potentially spiritual experience. They head to a quaint brick building, lured by the promise of taking a tour at the C. F. Martin & Company guitar factory.
More than 200 guitars are made at Martin each day, many more than when the company first opened in New York City in 1833 (it moved to Nazareth in 1839). But for any guitar player or music lover, getting to see the basic stages in the creation of a Martin moves them powerfully, putting some in touch with emotions they might have thought too inaccessible to be reached.
Martins are arguably the most coveted acoustic guitar on earth — satisfied customers include Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Freedy Johnston — and wherever pickers and grinners gather to resurrect time-honored chestnuts, from “Helpless” to “Sugarfoot Rag,” there’s a good chance that there will be a Martin chiming in. A trip to the factory could almost be considered a journey to the Lourdes of twang.
Photographs from the trip (click here to skip the Flash slideshow and go straight to Flickr):
It seems only fitting that after a month overseas the first concert I went to in the U.S. was headlined by Joe Purdy, who recently put out “This American“. Purdy plays with the super talented Milk Carton Kids and the show (my second Purdy show on this tour) did not disappoint.
A few months back, a good friend in DC turned me on to City and Colour from Canadian singer Dallas Green. I’ve been shooting a lot of shows lately and thought maybe I was losing interest. A few words into Green’s first song at the 9:30 Club and I realized that the other shows just haven’t been that good.
Green stands out as an incredible talent (though his CDs don’t do his voice justice) and has a calm, funny stage presence that I appreciated after seeing plenty of fidgety hipsters awkwardly chitchat their way through the rare moments between songs.
If you want to get acquainted, click the link above, have a listen to Bring Me Your Love, and see if he’s playing near you soon.
Review and all pics over at BYT (click it).