Thursday, October 06, 2011

photos from boxstock 2011

Just a few snaps from the event.
Top -Tinqui8 performing at the evening gig.

Middle - Ben Prestage

Bottom - Chickenbone John checking out an old archtop

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

still hot from Boxstock

Yes I'm still coming down from the event. The evening gig exceeded all our expectations with an international line-up. Set in the theatre of The Public, the gig kicked off with a guitarist (Andy Bole aka The Interplanetary Music Collective) and the Khalgani Dancers (turkish belly dancers). CB John had pursuaded the lady who runs the dance troupe, who had been at the fest last year, to perform for free. Andy set the atmosphere fantastically with his guitar and turkish lute-type instrument with the use of looping pedal and an Ebow (if you don't know what that is, check it out. I want one now). The girls performed two mesmerising dances, all in sequence with each other and very tastefully done. What a cracking start to the evening.

Second on was Tinqui8 who had come all the way from France for the weekend. We were treated to an excellent performance from him last year and he was back for another. Hard to describe his particular blend of music, definitely has a bluesy feel but his slightly unusual open tunings have a sound that seems to be his. Check out his album - Old Riders Blues. He played cigar box guitar, a vintage Weissenborn, and on loan from one of our gang - a beautiful plastic bodied guitar reminiscent of the old Airline electric guitars. The guy that made it is called Sam North. He's made several now and they are amazing.

Next up, our very own Hollowbelly with his distinctive blend of music, he describes as punk-blues. Thrashing away at his cbg, kick drum, low-boy hi hat and singing, he's a veritable one-man powerhouse. Bluesbeaten Redshaw, who collaborated on HB's latest album, Punk Northern and Blue, accompanied him on washboard for one number. HB is our UK flagship for cbg performance and if you want to see him playing, he will be in the Manchester area in November. I'll be announcing the details nearer the time.

Finally our headline act was none other than Ben Prestage from the USA. Ben had been performing at the Tangiers Jazz festival and we managed to divert him to the UK for our gig. Looking like a true hillbilly he stunned us with his performance. Another one-man band, he played various guitars, foot operated drums and hi-hat, harmonica, cigar box fiddle, cigar box banjo and sang. He did an amusing job of introducing his "band" - playing each instrument in turn. This guy is one helluva talent and worth checking out if you don't know of him. His latest album is One Crow Murder.

And that about wraps it up. We managed to drink the bar dry out of draught beer by the end of the night. There is a buzz on Cigar Box Nation about the event, as you might expect. Already plans are being made for next year which hopefully, will be even bigger and better. Things have come a long way in the UK since I discovered the cbg movemnet and started this blog a few years ago. There were literally a handful of UK guys posting on the old Yahoo forum and it was just a pipe dream that we could ever have something like this going in our country. I am truly proud of our guys for pulling all this together and want to give a big thanks to Chickenbone John and Roosterman for all the work they put into organising it.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

hot from Boxstock 2011

I feel like I've got a head full of bees, so many thoughts buzzing around. Fresh back from our 3rd UK cigar box guitar annual festival and what a belter it was. Held at The Public in West Bromwich UK. This time I drove down the day before. I've been busy making electronic stuff to take and wanted to set up my little stall before the big day. Some of the other guys usually meet up too and there was an open mic planned in the evening at the Barge and Barrel pub. Wasn't gonna miss that. Lovely sunny day too - perfect.

I was amazed at the level of talent at the open mic. Chickenbone John, who organised all this, kicked off the evening with a couple of numbers then it was pretty much non-stop, high octane cigar box music till midnight. Some of the guys I already knew but also some fresh talent.

Saturday was the big event. An all-day CBG fest with workshops, stalls and some playing. First hour or so was just spent chatting with old and new friends, checking out each other's gear and browsing the stalls. C.B. John had organised a beginners' building workshop. He'd put together a number of cheap, easy build kits so that newcomers could see how a cigar box guitar is constructed, learn some basic skills and have a playable guitar at the end of it. Following that they would have a beginning players' workshop to jump-start their CBG journey. What a brilliant idea.

Meanwhile I was holding a show and tell session and starting it off with my electronic stuff - various mics, circuit bent toys and my pseudo theremins. Seemed to go down well. Lunch time came and went in a flash but during the break, downstairs in the lobby, various performers played for us. Back to the main events in the afternoon we were treated to players workshops with Hollowbelly and Chickenbone John and another open mic session.

The afternoon was wound up with our first AGM. Just enough time to leg it back to the hotel, freshen up, a quick meal then back to the Public for the evenings entertainment in the Theatre. What a treat we were gonna get. An international line-up, headlined by Ben Prestage from the USA. I'm gonna leave it there for today as I'm pretty whacked out. I'll be back with more info in the next day or two.