A New Guitar from National

Coffee Cup National Guitar

I think I might have mentioned that I got a new guitar from National late last year. It’s basically an M-2 baritone with a few custom features—no fingerboard inlay (athough it has side dots), a solid peghead with the coolest inlay I’ve ever seen on a guitar (MacGregor Gaines is a world-class artist; you heard it here), a custom neck profile that feels a lot like my Gibson Jumbo, and an unusual mandolin-like cover plate that they only made a couple of for guitars.

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The Mayor of MacDougal Street

Dave Van Ronk’s autobiography, The Mayor of MacDougal Street is a wonderful read. To me it was like sitting in his living room late into the night talking, eating, drinking and listening to music. Dave was a masterful storyteller and it’s an amazing and wonderful thing that he was able to capture that feeling on the page.

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Mankato in February

I’ll be back in Mankato, Minnesota on February 11 at the Bothy Folk Club at 7:30 PM. The Bothy holds their concerts at the Eagles Club, 702 North Riverfront Drive in Mankato. My old pals The Blind Moose Review will be doing the opening set, so it should be big fun. Mankato, as I’m sure most of you know, was the original target of the James/Younger gang’s infamous Northfield raid, but there was some kind of big shindig going on in town that day so they went to Northfield instead and we know what happened there.

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The Hundredth Member

It’s good to know that my mailing list Yahoo group is growing. I got this letter today: Hi Dave, I have just become the 100th member of your webclub, or whatever it is called. This is so exciting! Do I get a free prize? Is this like eating the billionth hamburger at McDonalds? Do I get my picture taken with Angelina Jolie? What about the babes, the free carwash, the big lint brush? Can I get Frequent Flyer miles? What about free baby-sitting, car insurance and extended warranties on eyeglasses and guitar amps? God, I can see this is going to be fun. I’ll try to be patient, but it’s not easy. Wow, I can hardly believe it—I’M NUMBER 100! I’m going to cry!!!!! —Jay Peterson

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Culver City Visit

For all my southern California friends, I will be returning to Boulevard Music in Culver City, California on January 21st, 2006. Showtime is 8 PM. It’ll be a split night with Paul Asbell. I’ve not met Paul before, but I’m really looking forward to sharing the stage with him; he has a great reputation. Boulevard Music is located at 4316 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230. Call (310) 398-2583 for more info. See you there!

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I moved to Minneapolis in late 1969 at the tender age of 19. I came because it was a guitar town and I played the guitar. Well, it was reasonably close to my home town of Fargo, too, and that was important to me at the time. It turned out to be one of the luckiest moves of my life. The West Bank (near the part of the University of Minnesota that sprawled across the Mississippi River to its west bank) seemed to draw young creative people like a magnet.

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Happy Holidays 2005

This has been quite a year. I hardly know where to begin. I’m just home from a lovely trip to the Northeast where I had some gigs. I got to spend some time with some great friends, too, Sally Rogers and Howie Bursen, Martin Grosswendt (and his charming twin daughters), Steve Moscov, Mary Faith Rhodes (of John Pearse Strings), Jackson Buck and a few others. I played gigs with Paul Geremia (Johnny D’s in Boston), Peter Lang (Godfrey Daniel’s in Bethlehem, Pa.) , and Doug Yeomans (The Sportsman’s Bar in Buffalo) on this tour in addition to some solo concerts.

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Truth in Advertising

walmart truck

  I shot this picture outside of Salt Lake City on my drive home from a west coast tour. I really can’t add anything; the picture says it all.

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I Quote

“These days, country music stars are created in a factory in China, molded out of plastic by workers earning 38 cents an hour, then shipped to Nashville, where they are fitted for a cowboy hat and taught to sing ditties written by a committee of moonlighting Hallmark employees.” –Washington Post, November 8, 2005

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Every now and then someone comes along and tells me about some new pickup I need to listen to. Piezo electric pickups and pressure sensitive pickups have one major problem. There’s no air. When you mike an artist’s voice there’s air around it; it sounds like it is somewhere, in a space. The piezo equipped guitar, or mandolin, or anything, has no air around it – it doesn’t sound like it occupies the same space as the singer.

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Sean Blackburn

December 13, 1948 – September 29, 2005

As many of you know, we lost my old compadre Sean Blackburn in September, 2005. Sean and I worked together for ten years, singing, playing and traveling. He was my brother.

In October we did a big memorial concert for him here in Minneapolis at the Cedar Cultural Center.

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Dave Van Ronk

Dave Van Ronk, gargoyle

It’s still hard to believe that Dave’s gone. He was a huge influence on me both musically and personally. I’ll never forget so many evenings through the years spent sitting down to one of Dave’s legendary meals followed by hours of Vivaldi, Joseph Lamb, Scott Joplin, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, John Kirby, Duke Ellington, Mississippi John Hurt, Rev. Gary Davis – the list goes on and on. What an experience, always something new, always another surprise. I loved that guy. Thanks for everything, bro.

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