Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Hidden gems

Real quick, in band biz, here's a nice write-up from Mass Culture (again!). I just can't figure out who's running that... Dave?:
Boston-by-way-of-Dallas roots pop band Cassavettes have landed themselves in the middle of the Mass Culture premier of “Nice New Outfit,” a new feature showcasing up and coming artists.

And I can’t think of a better band for this occasion. Sure, they’re good friends of mine, but they deserve it.

Cassavettes formed in Massachusetts in 2005, following Glenn Yoder (Guitar, Keys, Banjo, Vox), Mike McCullagh (Guitar, Vocals), and Scott Jones’ (Bass, Vocals) relocation from Texas, where each served hard time in various Denton, Tex. bands (including Duffer, Beware The Dangers Of A Ghost Scorpion!, and Seawall). Along with drummer Matt Snow, Cassavettes recorded their debut EP, “Whitewash the Blues,” an excellent blend of american rock, blues, and folk.

Two years later, and with relentless praise (including the Boston Phoenix’s “Best Local Band” title), Cassavettes return with “It’s Gonna Change,” a major step forward. The roots/americana touch is still there, but in a much more developed way. The songs are even catchier, tighter, and just… good. Plus, Glenn can really rock the harmonica.

We appreciate the kisses! And thanks for the harmonica shout out! Now, try on this short story (I'll make it quick)...

When my grandaddy was a 14-year-old growing up in the hills of the Smokies, he won a fishing contest in North Carolina unknowingly. Several weeks later, a check for $15 showed up with his name on it (this would have been about 1937... any idea of how much $15 is worth now?). Anyhow, an avid fan of singing cowboy films, he went down to the furniture store and picked up a small, deep Kalamazoo acoustic guitar with his windfall. The guitar, which has never had a case, has survived all these years, getting beaten up as my father and his siblings played it, with family jams, and sitting in my grandfather's closet since he stopped playing some years ago.

For awhile now, Grandaddy has promised to give me that guitar; I never asked for it and it was a running joke that I'd never get it because he always forgot it. No big deal. I first encountered it on a trip to South Carolina several years ago and it was badly out of tune and missing some strings. Silly me, I thought it was pretty junky, albeit looking cool. Well, sure enough, my father visited his father last week and brought the old guitar up with him in anticipation of my trip to Virginia. I spotted it immediately, and it looked better than I remember. It's beat up, but it doesn't have a single hole in it. The wood is so tough and deep, you can hear reverberations for long periods of time. Anyhow, I played it all week, loving the sound and feel of it and planned to bring it back to Boston. But the bridge was slightly askew so we took it to a local music store.

Now, I've been taking guitars for repairs for years and I've never had this kind of reaction. Every guitar guy in the store came over to touch it. The mandolins and banjos specialist came over and said he spotted the headstock the moment we walked in the door. Apparently, it's something special. Real special. We're still gathering info on it, but right now it appears it's a Depression-era Gibson acoustic line, made in their Kalamazoo, Michigan factory. No exact date on it, but early-30s to say the least. The guitar is in great shape for last all these years and they all suggested that I get it fixed up. So, I promptly bought a case and took it to the best local vintage woodworker -- except she was too busy. So, it appears this tale with have to pick up another day. I decided to leave the piece in good hands rather than risk it in Boston, but soon I'll get it fixed up and appraised. Not that I ever plan to sell it, but just to know.

Pretty cool find, eh? I can't wait to tell Grandaddy the reaction those dudes had. He'll find it very amusing.

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Anonymous scott said...

yes our brozinga does massculture, and the blog is coming along nicely. also, totally totally awesome about the guitar. i got my first ever guitar from my grandfather but it wasn't very cool. yet it is my main jamminator on trips back home.

07 March, 2007 15:24  
Blogger prof_matson said...

In 1937, $15 was $210.

Thank you Inflation Calculator

08 March, 2007 08:36  

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